Coronavirus update

Coronavirus
update

Find out what we're doing to 
protect you from coronavirus.

Visit the official NHS website

On 18 May the minister of housing, communities and local government, Christopher Pincher, sent a letter to all housing association customers. This letter contains an update on the government’s latest Covid-19 advice and how it might affect you in your home.

Read the housing minister's letter

Our services

Updated 20 May 2020

We are doing everything we can to help slow the spread of coronavirus and protect our customers, our colleagues and the NHS. Therefore, we have been updating our services as new government advice is released.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.

Contact us

Booking a repair

Since March, we have offered a reduced repairs service to protect our customers and colleagues. We are hoping to resume a routine repairs service as soon as it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, please only call us on 01344 382 800 to book an appointment if you need an emergency repair, or if there is a health & safety risk. This includes:

  • No heating or hot water
  • A blocked toilet (if it is the only toilet in your home)
  • An uncontainable leak (including roofing or serious gutter leaks)
  • A broken shower, including wet rooms (if this is the only washing facility in your home)
  • Full power failure
  • An insecure property (such as smashed windows or a broken front door lock)

All routine repairs are being scheduled for a later date, so it may take longer than normal to carry out more non-essential work once we resume our usual repairs service.

Our colleagues are following the latest guidance on how to work safely and they are using the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Our repairs team will contact you before arriving at your home, maintain a safe distance and follow hygiene procedures, as set out in the government’s Covid-19 guidance. They are having daily health checks and will also ask you some health & safety questions before entering your home.

No work will be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk. In such a case, prior arrangements will be made to avoid any face-to-face contact.

External maintenance & services

We are starting to undertake a limited programme of external works and services.

We are also carrying out safe maintenance and repairs in our empty homes, so that they can be re-let to new customers.

All our colleagues and partners are adhering to the government’s safe working guidance.

Planned compliance & maintenance works

We are carrying out essential compliance and maintenance works, some of which may require us to enter your home.

These works include:

  • Asbestos surveys, in communal areas and within homes.
  • Electrical emergency light safety tests in communal areas.
  • Electrical safety condition reports (EICRs) in homes and remedial work where necessary.
  • Fire risk assessments and remedial work where necessary.
  • Fire alarm and automatic opening vent testing.
  • Front door upgrades and replacements.
  • Gas servicing (CP12) on boilers.
  • Legionella testing and water flushing.
  • Monthly lift servicing (including stairlifts and hoists) and lift breakdown attendance.
  • Replacing your boiler, even if it hasn’t broken down.

Our colleagues and partners will contact you before arriving at your home, maintain a safe distance and follow hygiene procedures, as set out in the government’s Covid-19 guidance.

No work will be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk. In such a case, prior arrangements will be made to avoid any face-to-face contact. 

Gas safety checks

We are still carrying out essential gas safety checks in all our homes.

If you are self-isolating, please inform us and we will rearrange the gas safety check to take place after your isolation has ended.

If you are shielding, we will balance the risk presented, taking into account factors such as the age and type of appliance, previous maintenance history and date of the last gas check. In some situations, this might indicate that the gas safety inspection should still go ahead. In such a case, prior arrangements will be made to avoid any face to face contact, for example when answering the door. Our colleagues are up to date with the latest guidance on how to work safely.

If you smell gas, or if you have concerns about the safety of your appliances, you should call the gas emergency service provider on 0800 111 999, and switch off appliances until the gas emergency supplier, or a registered gas engineer, has attended and advised that the appliances are safe to use.

Environmental services

We are still carrying out essential caretaking duties in and around our properties, as well as some grounds maintenance works, such as grass cutting. Our team is focussing on health and safety checks and ensuring our bin areas are kept tidy.

Please help us keep our community safe by following the government’s social distancing guidelines:

  • Don't go within two metres of your neighbours or our colleagues
  • Keep the communal areas clear of your personal items

Recycling services

Tips in Bracknell and Reading reopened on Monday 18 May.

As both re3 recycling sites are operating at limited capacity, the council has asked that you only visit the recycling centres if you can’t safely store your waste at home, or if it can’t be disposed of safely by council collections.

You also need to book a time slot in advance, on the re3 website.

Book a recycling slot

Moving home

We have adapted our viewings process so that it complies with the government’s social distancing guidance:

  1. A member of our access team will contact you to arrange a time and date for your property viewing.
  2. We will meet you outside the property and unlock the door for you. You will then be able to look around the property on your own or with a member of your household.
  3. The next day, you can ask us any questions about the property via email or phone and then make a decision on whether you wish to move in.
  4. Once the property is ready to let, you can sign your tenancy contract digitally.
  5. As soon as we receive your advance rent payment, you can move in.

If you are thinking about moving home, please read the government’s advice first, to ensure that you do it safely.

Read the government’s advice about moving home

This advice applies if you are seeking to transfer, move into alternative accommodation in the private rented sector, or mutually exchange.

The process of finding and moving into a new home will be different, as we need to enable social distancing measures. This is particularly important for those who are shielding.

If you have any questions about moving home or the government’s guidance, please let us know.

Contact our access team

Rent

During this period, you should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability. If you have any trouble paying your rent, please let us know as soon as possible.

Contact our rent team

Read our money advice blog

We will support and work with you to find a resolution to any arrears and will not take any legal action for at least 3 months. This legislation currently applies to all notices issued between the dates of 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.

The courts have also suspended ongoing housing possession claims from progressing for 90 days from 27 March, meaning that cases currently in the system or any cases about to go into it cannot progress to the stage where you could be evicted. This suspension applies to all housing possessions proceedings for rented and leasehold customers.

Wellbeing support

The coronavirus outbreak has had an effect on everyone’s daily lives.

If you are feeling lonely and would like to have a regular informal phone call with a member of our team, you can sign up for our ‘Phone Pals’ programme.

Request a phone pal

If you are isolating and are having difficulty to get your essential supplies, such as food of medication from the shop, you can sign up for our food delivery programme.

Ask to join our food delivery programme

The government has also provided some advice to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing:

Let’s Talk Loneliness

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Government launches plan to tackle loneliness during coronavirus lockdown

Office closure

We have closed our office until further notice, but as most of our teams are working from home you can still contact us:

Call: 01344 382 800

Email: enquiries@silvahomes.co.uk

Log-into My Silva

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

Read more on the UK Government’s website:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

Find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Read the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

 

Help us prevent the spread of infection

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get back home

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Read more on the NHS website

Together, we can save lives.

We are all responsible for looking after every member of our community. By cooperating with the government’s guidelines, you will help us to prevent the spread of the virus amongst our colleagues or customers.

Please do whatever you can to support your friends, family and neighbours.

Finally, we are incredibly grateful for your continued support throughout this time.

If you have any questions about our approach towards coronavirus, please get in touch.

Contact us

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