Below are some answers to questions being asked regularly by our customers.
Q – I am ill / self-isolating. What should I do?
A – If you have contracted coronavirus or are self-isolating, please let us know when we speak to you. To protect our staff and other customers, unless it is an emergency, we will not visit you in your home during a period of self-isolation. In an emergency, we’ll ask for your co-operation in taking sensible precautions.
Please follow the latest government advice if you or a member of your household displays any potential symptoms of coronavirus.
Q – How can I be sure that a member of staff or a contractor is not infected with coronavirus if they visit my home?
A – We are ensuring that our staff and contractors have all of the latest information and guidance. Our employees and our contractors are following this guidance in the same way that everyone has been asked to and will take action to protect you as customers and themselves.
Q – What precautions will your staff and contractors take if they have to visit my house to carry out emergency or essential work?
A – If a member of our team or one of our contractors does need to visit your property to carry out essential or emergency works, they will adhere to the following measures:
- The team will sanitise their hands before entering and after leaving each property.
- On entering a property, staff/contractors will ask customers to move to a different area of the property while they are working.
- Our staff / contractors are always required to stay at least 2 metres away from the customer and will avoid contact with surfaces and items that they do not need to come into contact with.
- If working externally, our staff / contractors will ask customers to avoid coming within 2 metres of them.
Click here to watch a video outlining our commitment to safety when visiting your home.
Repairs and maintenance
Q – What is the latest situation regarding repairs and planned maintenance?
A – We resumed our non-emergency repairs service in August. Further lockdown restrictions were announced by the Scottish Government in November 2020.
Please note – Following the Scottish Government announcement that East Ayrshire has been placed under Tier 4 restrictions, we are now delivering emergency repairs only for our customers in the area.
In line with Scottish Government guidance, we will continue to carry out emergency repairs relating to health and safety issues. We will also continue to carry our essential safety inspections including gas safety checks and electrical testing.
However, we will not be able to carry out non-emergency repairs for customers in East Ayrshire while the Tier 4 restrictions are in place.
However, for the remainder of our customers, the government guidance around these restrictions means we are currently still able to carry out both emergency and non-emergency repairs. We are limiting home visits by using phonecalls wherever possible to diagnose and arrange the works that need to be carried out, but repairs appointments will continue to go ahead using safe methods of working at all times.
For a summary of the safety measures we have in place for repairs and safety appointments, watch this video
Q. Can I report non-emergency repairs?
A – Yes, we reintroduced this in August.
Q – I’m due for an annual gas safety check. Is it still happening?
A –In accordance with recent guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, we continued throughout lockdown with our annual gas servicing checks by operatives adopting a safe method of working. However, if your household is affected by Covid-19, or you are self isolating due to being in an ‘at risk’ group, and you do not wish for a check to be carried out at this time, please let us know and we will carry out the gas check when your period of self isolation is over. We may need to reschedule your appointment if we need to prioritise emergency work, but if we do, please be assured that all Irvine Housing Association gas appliances in your home have been well-maintained and serviced regularly, so should continue to work normally.
Please note: Annual gas safety checks are a legal requirement and are an important part of keeping our customers safe. While we will not attend a property to carry out a gas safety check where someone is self-isolating, we will reschedule an appointment to attend once that period of self-isolation is over. These are essential checks that will be carried out during the scheduled appointment and legally our customers must allow access to their property for these checks unless there is a significant and valid reason for access to be refused. All of our checks will be completed using a safe method of working – click here to watch a video explaining the safety measures we have in place.
If you’re worried that a gas appliance in your home isn’t working as it should, call us immediately on 0345 112 6600.
Payment and money advice
Q – I have reduced income as a result of the pandemic and I may struggle to pay rent. What should I do?
A – We know times are tough and that some of our customers are facing new, or more significant, financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help these customers as much as possible and have been providing financial advice and guidance to our tenants throughout this difficult time. We urge customers not to ignore arrears or financial difficulties – if you are in this situation, please contact us and we can talk things through before it gets worse. We are here ready to help you with the following:
- Making a claim for Universal Credit and any other benefits you may be entitled to.
- Agreeing new repayment arrangements to reflect changes in circumstances.
- Assisting with managing household income and expenditure.
- Helping with any tenancy related difficulties resulting in non-payment of rent.
We are starting to resume our standard arrears recovery processes in accordance with Government guidance and legislation, and we will work with our customers as far as possible to help assist them at this time. Our Tenancy Sustainability Team has advice and guidance for anyone who is struggling financially.
If you have any concerns or are experiencing difficulties, please just pick up the phone to chat through your circumstances and email us at [email protected] or call 0345 112 6600.
Q – What sort of impact is Covid-19 having on Irvine HA?
A – We know the current Covid-19 crisis is placing unprecedented demands on households. It’s also a major challenge for our organisation. We had to make significant changes to deliver services safely. In some areas, like repairs, earlier in the year we had to scale back or delay services and in other areas, in particular those which support customers who are elderly, homeless or ill, we had to increase services.
Q – What’s the best way to contact Irvine HA?
A – Our offices are currently closed and our staff are working from home so we would ask customers not to contact us by post but instead to use electronic methods to get in touch.
Please check the information on our website first but if you need to contact us you can do so in the following ways:
- Email [email protected]
- Call us on 0345 112 6600
Q – Is information available for customers who don’t have access to the internet?
A – Yes, we’ve written to all customers directly to promote a recorded telephone message which will give non internet enabled customers the information on this web page. This is available by calling 0345 112 4466.
Q – Are you still taking action on anti-social behaviour that is reported by tenants?
A – With lots more of us spending much more time at home than we usually would, we would urge our customers to try and be more considerate than ever towards their neighbours. Our housing team continues to log reports of anti-social behaviour and to investigate them as fully as possible within the current coronavirus restrictions. Complaints that require further investigation will be re-opened and investigated fully as soon as possible. As always, we would advise that you call 999 if you are in immediate danger or concerned for the safety of a neighbour.
Housing and community
Q – Are there any effects on housing services?
A – We are still able to deliver the vast majority of our housing services. However, in light of the latest Scottish Government restrictions (introduced in September 2020), some of these services will be delivered over the phone or in a slightly different way from previously, to help minimise risk to all parties.
Q – How can I help my community?
A – Here are a few top tips:
- Think of others, consider your actions and be kind: People in every community will face the challenges of coronavirus in some way – from needing basic provisions to help whilst they are unwell.
- Connect and reach out to your neighbours: With ongoing restrictions, we need to find new ways to stay connected and check in on one another for our physical and mental wellbeing. Share phone numbers and stay in touch.
- Make the most of local online groups: Keep up-to-date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations.
- Support vulnerable or isolated people: Different groups in our communities are at increased risk and social isolation and loneliness are key concerns for all ages. There are things you can do like volunteering for local support services or donating to food banks to help.
- Share accurate information and advice: Support anyone who may be anxious about coronavirus. Signpost them to the correct advice from NHS Inform and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.