Housing minister pens open letter to social housing tenants



Housing minister Kevin Stewart has moved to reassure social housing tenants of the safety measures in place as landlords plan the resumption of routine repairs and planned maintenance work.

Kevin Stewart MSP

In an open letter to council, housing association and housing co-operative tenants to provide information and advice on Scotland’s Route Map for moving out of the coronavirus crisis, Mr Stewart said individual landlords are now beginning to plan for resuming services following the guidance available, and taking account of local circumstances.

The letter added: “Since the start of the pandemic, social housing landlords have been prioritising repairs and have been focussing on providing emergency repairs and other essential services. As we move forward, landlords are now starting to plan how they can safely resume routine repairs and planned maintenance work.

“This includes programmes such as window, bathroom and kitchen replacement, adaptations and installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms.”

Mr Stewart urged tenants to continue to report any repairs as normal and called for patience as landlords begin to work through any backlogs.

“Your landlord… will have processes in place to ensure this can happen safely and in line with the current public health guidance,” he added.

The letter also outlines measures which have been put in place to assist tenants through the pandemic such as an emergency law to protect tenants from eviction, shorter notice periods for cases of anti-social and criminal behaviour and increased access to support for victims of domestic abuse.

Mr Stewart said: “During this crisis I have been particularly impressed at how people have come together to support each other and I greatly appreciate the inspiring community effort that we’ve seen up and down the country.

“I want to thank every single individual, organisation and volunteer who has responded to the pandemic and helped to keep people safe, connected, and well and every social landlord in Scotland who has been working tirelessly to maintain and provide essential and wider community services in these challenging times.

“The safety, security and wellbeing of all social housing tenants is a key priority for both the Scottish Government and social landlords, and we have been working closely together to address the challenges that have emerged in the social housing sector as the weeks and months have progressed.”