Service updates and advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

From Monday 26 April we are planning to resume routine repairs inside homes as well as non-essential inspections and surveys.

This is in line with the Scottish Government’s route map on easing lockdown restrictions.

The health and safety of our residents, their families and our staff is our number one priority. Please think about everyone’s safety when we visit your home by:

  • Telling us as soon as possible if you or anyone in your household currently has symptoms, is self-isolating or shielding by calling 0800 131 3348 (landline) or 0300 123 3511 (mobile). This helps us to take appropriate safeguarding measures and, where appropriate, to re-plan your repair.
  • Keeping your distance your while we are inside your home. You must make sure that you and any other household members such as children and pets stay at least 2 metres away from us at all times. You and your family should stay in another room while we are in your home. If possible, please wear a face covering.
  • Opening external windows and doors whenever you can as ventilation is very important in helping prevent the virus from spreading.
  • Clearing the area we need to work of any household items so the time we are in your home is reduced.

Our team may need to leave your home if they feel they are not able to work safely. They will always make sure repairs are made safe before leaving.

Thank you for your support.

It is important that we can contact you by email at this time so we can keep you up to date about our services and operations. You can use our sign up for important updates form to provide us with your email address.

The dates outlined by the Scottish Government depend on several conditions being met and may change as a result.

Please continue to check the Sanctuary Scotland website for the very latest information on our services.

Housing offices

Our offices remain closed to all visitors. This decision will likely be reviewed in June, in line with the Scottish Government’s route map.

Home visits

Visits from our Housing Officers and Welfare Rights Officers won’t resume until June at the earliest to help keep our staff and customers safe. We continue to contact the most vulnerable in our community by phone or email.

Scheme managers

Those managing our sheltered housing schemes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are on site most days. Unless it is an emergency customer visits will continue to be restricted to people’s doorsteps.

Mutual exchanges

We plan to resume mutual exchanges from Monday 26 April. We will be in touch with residents who’ve requested a mutual exchange before that date to arrange.

Communal areas

We hope to be able to re-open internal communal areas this summer. According to the Scottish Government’s route map, up to 6 people from 3 households may be able to socialise indoors from June.

Estate inspections

We will continue to carry out estate inspections in person in a Covid-secure way.

Personal services

Visits from hairdressers and other personal service providers can resume from 5 April where the business operator has completed a Covid-secure risk assessment. The risk assessment will be checked by the local scheme manager.

Public playgrounds

Most of our play areas remain open. The maintenance works required at those that are currently closed have been approved and will be carried out soon.

In line with Government guidance, we are currently carrying out emergency repairs and gas works only in COVID protection level 4 areas.

In all other areas, routine repairs can be booked through our online form. If you have an emergency repair or are unable to complete the form for any reason, you can call 0800 131 3348 (landline) or 0300 123 3511 (mobile).

We hope to be able to resume routine internal repairs from Monday 26 April, in line with the Scottish Government’s route map. We are still working through the backlog of repairs and we understand how frustrating it can be to wait for a repair to be completed. Thank you to all our residents for your ongoing patience.

If you have a gas leak you should also phone the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

By law, we must carry out an annual service and safety check of all Sanctuary gas appliances in your home, this includes boilers, cookers and fires. Gas safety checks are continuing as normal.

Our registered Gas Safe engineers may need access into your home for these checks, which take no longer than an hour. You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to complete these checks.

Please follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when our staff are visiting your property, as outlined in our latest health and safety guidance.

If you are due your annual gas safety check and are self-isolating or are a shielded vulnerable patient, please let us know so we can understand how best to protect you and your family by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

Our offices remain closed to all visitors.

Our Housing Officers and Welfare Rights Officers are not currently making routine appointments. We continue to be in contact with the more vulnerable in our community by phone or email. We are focused on ensuring that everyone we support, or who works for us, stays safe. 

You can still contact us. Visit our Get in touch page for more information about how to do this.

We are focused on ensuring that everyone we support, or who works for us, stays safe. Please see our latest health and safety guidance.

If you live in a retirement living scheme and are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about how the virus might affect you, please let us know via the warden call system or by calling us on 0800 917 0092 (landline)  or 0300 123 3599 (mobile).

To keep everybody safe, we have put in place the following measures:

  • All communal lounges, kitchens, libraries and common rooms remain closed to both external visitors and residents.
  • All coffee mornings, communal lunches and community activities remain suspended.
  • Guest room bookings are not currently being accepted.
  • If there is a communal laundry at your scheme, you will be asked to only use this at allocated times to limit the number of residents coming into contact with each other at any one time.
  • Other than for repairs or gas safety checks, we will not be visiting you in your homes or carrying out face to face contact to limit the spread of the virus.

We will continue to carry out the regular checks of our buildings to ensure safety and compliance and we will make regular contact with you via the warden call system or telephone. We will continue to keep the communal areas clean and hygienic.

Please do not approach staff that are on site and make sure you maintain social distancing. Please feel free to wave or say hello, and if you need any assistance please ask them to call you when they leave the site.

We are continuing to collect rent and service charges as we normally do, but it is vitally important that you let us know as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay or are worried about meeting future payments.

Wherever possible we want to avoid court action and evictions during this difficult time and we are committed to working with our customers to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account individual circumstances. We want to work with you, so please email CIT.Income@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are unable to attend your benefit appointments, please let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible by reporting it on your online Universal Credit account.

Should you find yourself with no income due to the impact of coronavirus, if you do not already claim benefits, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit to help you pay your rent and service charges. You can find out more about Universal Credit and eligibility on the Money Advice Service website.

Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.

More broadly, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

In line with Government guidance, we are continuing with viewings and tenancy sign ups. However, to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we have made some changes to how we provide our services to ensure the safety of both prospective residents and our staff.

These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Limiting the number of people that can attend viewings and sign-ups
  • We will not enter the property with you to complete a viewing or sign up, but will open the property for you, including leaving all internal doors open.
  • We will not routinely wear personal protective equipment (PPE), however we will ensure we have washed our hands in line with Government guidelines or use hand sanitiser
  • We will maintain a minimum of two meters safe distance from you at all times.

When attending a viewing, please ensure that you have recently washed your hands or used hand sanitiser, observe social distancing at all times and avoid touching surfaces inside the property unless necessary.

We have begun contacting customers with existing mutual exchanges and tenancy change requests with a view to starting the process again. We are currently working through a backlog of requests and appreciate your patience while you wait for us to contact you.

If you need to make a new request for a change to your tenancy, please contact us.

More information about how to apply for a mutual exchange is available below.

Contact Us Swapping your home

As we are spending more time together in our homes, you may be more aware of noise levels from your neighbours, such as general household noise and children playing.

Please try to be tolerant of this and consider the impact your household noise levels and behaviour may have on your neighbours.

If you are experiencing repeated issues of antisocial behaviour you can report it to us by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are threatened with violence or are concerned for the safety of yourself or others, please call the police immediately on 999.

We will continue to manage existing antisocial behaviour cases through your preferred method of communication, providing regular updates, signposting you to helpful support networks and discussing further action where appropriate.

Although lockdown restrictions are being eased, you may still be spending a lot of time at home and this could mean a pressured situation could get worse.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

Further information

What is domestic abuse and finding support

It’s understandable that not only our residents, but communities everywhere continued to be worried about how their lives will be affected by Covid-19.

The Government has provided guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and how we can all work together to protect older people and vulnerable adults.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking to your family and friends and sharing how you feel. If you are worried that you may need more help, the following support is available:

The Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health and it can be found on their dedicated website page.

Free 24-hour listening support

Samaritans is available to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult.

Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.

Text "SHOUT" to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line.

In a life-threatening emergency, you should dial 999.