During the current coronavirus outbreak, the Private Sector Housing Officers will be running an adapted service.

This is subject to availability of officers (as they may need to self-isolate) and to the technology capability within our customers’ households. From Monday 6 April 2020 until further notice only urgent home visits will be carried out.

Urgent means that there is an imminent risk of severe harm due to a fault with the property and only if there is no other way of instigating remedial works without a visit in person.

Telephone assessments

If an urgent visit needs to takes place, the officer will first phone the customer and find out whether anyone in the household is self-isolating or feeling unwell. We'll risk assess the situation and decide whether to visit. If we do visit, we will take the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions.

More information on social distancing and hygiene.

Virtual inspections

We'll be trialling virtual inspections where possible. This relies on the customer having a smart phone or tablet and them installing a video messaging application such as WhatsApp or Zoom.

If a video call can be done, we'll ask the customer to show us the areas of concern within their home so that we can assess whether hazards are present to the best of our abilities. If you do not have a smart phone, you could ask a friend or family if they would be willing to help you. By doing this, it means we can deal with your situation much quicker.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Occupants of HMOs should take extra precautions when using shared facilities. Try to only use the kitchen when other people are not in it and clean the toilet and bathroom before and after use.

Only urgent visits will be carried out where there is an imminent risk to harm due to a defect within the property. Licences up for renewal or new HMO applications will be dealt with in the order we receive them, including payments. Relevant inspections will be arranged at a later date.

If your health changes between the time of booking the visit and the visit taking place, you should contact us immediately. We will then reassess and either carry out a virtual inspection or postpone the visit.

Waiting list cases

Any cases currently on our waiting list will still be taken off the list in priority order as usual. Customers will receive a phone assessment and virtual inspection where possible.

If you feel that your property has become worse and the risk to yourself or family has increased, you should contact us so we can decide if a virtual inspection is suitable.

Completion visits

Where landlords have arranged for works to be completed, we'll try to set up a virtual inspection with the occupant to allow sign off. This may not be possible where multiple flats are involved.

We'll do as much as we can under the circumstances and then may need to revisit in person when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

We'll notify the landlord and tenant about whether a further visit is necessary or whether we can close the case by doing a virtual inspection only.

Landlords and their contractors

We'll make every effort to ensure that the defects and hazards within your home are fixed. However, this may take longer than usual due to the circumstances of the landlord (as they may be self- isolating or unwell) and of the contractors’ availability and visiting policies.

View further advice for landlords

Immigration inspections

We'll try to arrange virtual inspections where possible. But this will be after the applicant has confirmed that their visa application will still be able to be submitted.

There are travel restrictions in place for certain countries. And if travel is restricted, the immigration inspection will be postponed until those restrictions are lifted.

Disabled facility grants

This will be reviewed on a case by case basis and all non-critical cases will be dealt with in order of need. Any visits to client’s homes will be dependent on the client agreeing to a visit and the current practises that our partner agencies, Peabody and Mears, have in place.

External works that involve no direct contact between the client and contractor are likely to continue until further notice.

This information will be subject to change to keep in line with government instructions and the resource needs of the council as a whole.