Jim Hayton: Coronavirus webinar with Under One Roof

Scotland’s Housing Network private sector housing officer Jim Hayton discusses the resources available for people living in flats during the coronavirus lockdown.

Jim Hayton: Coronavirus webinar with Under One Roof

Jim Hayton

Dealing with the pressures of coronavirus and the need to remain at home most of the day is difficult enough if you live in a detached or terraced house with a garden. But what about the additional threats arising from COVID-19 to the hundreds of thousands of Scots who live in flats?

How do flat dwellers cope with life involving cleaning common closes and backcourt areas when social distancing and the maintenance of germ-free surfaces could literally be matters of life and death?

According to the 2018 Scottish House Condition Survey there are almost 900,000 occupied flats in Scotland. That’s everything from traditional Victorian tenements and high rise blocks to the inter war four -in-a- block homes common throughout Scotland, and every other type of flat in between.

The website Under One Roof (UOR) was developed to provide a comprehensive and reliable source of information for flat dwellers and others with an interest in the maintenance and improvement of common residential property, including bodies such as local authorities and housing associations, property factors, and solicitors.

As the private sector housing officer responsible for Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN) five private sector forums I attend regular meetings of UOR board. So I was interested to learn from Annie Flint, the driving force behind UOR since inception, about the production of a newsletter aiming to provide helpful advice to flat dwellers on the does and don’ts of coronavirus. And I should declare a personal as well as professional interest here since, as well as having spent a career working in housing, I also live in a flat on the top floor of a tenement building. Therefore the implications of communal living during the coronavirus pandemic, such as disinfecting bannisters and door handles, putting the bins out, plus continuing common close and garden maintenance while the factors service remains suspended, had been exercising the minds of me and my neighbours. So I was pleased to discover that Annie had produced a newsletter for UOR on this very subject, specifically for flat dwellers like us.

In ordinary times we would certainly have considered discussing such issues at one or more of SHN’s private sector housing practice exchange forums, most likely property factoring, landlord registration, or HMOs. However, due to the ongoing lockdown, all our face to face forums are currently suspended. And while I circulated the UOR newsletter to all of our members, Annie and I also thought, as part of SHN’s commitment to introduce more digital content for our members, it might be helpful to record a short webinar interview where we could go into a little more detail on the issues involved.

Annie and I hope you find it of interest and would welcome any feedback you may have at Jim.hayton@scotlandshousingnetwork.org.

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.
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