Coronavirus Guidance

Coronavirus Guidance
Supporting Tenants & Landlords

Update: August 2021

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on the 9th August 2021 to further ease restrictions, Scotland has now moved out of the levels system and advice from the government is to act carefully and remain cautious.

The situation on how we can operate remains broadly the same as normal across the lettings industry, and we are still able to operate, whilst taking into account the safety and well-being of our customers and tenants.

Letting agents are permitted to carry out their activities as normal such as viewing, inspection, check out and check in, and dealing with non-essential maintenance.

Prospective tenants are able to travel across any area of the UK or tier area to view properties, and tenants are allowed to move in and out of homes as normal.

The latest guidance is advising trades people to facilitate non-essential maintenance in tenanted property, and this includes carrying out safety certificate inspections and repairs.

You can also check out our FAQ’s here.

Tenant FAQs
Landlord FAQs

Tenant Coronavirus FAQs

Scotland has moved out of the levels system, what does that mean for the property market and where can I find guidance?

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on the 9th August 2021 to further ease restrictions, Scotland has now moved out of the levels system and advice from the government is to act carefully and remain cautious.

The situation on how we can operate remains broadly the same as normal across the lettings industry, and we are still able to operate, whilst taking into account the safety and well-being of our customers and tenants.

Letting agents are permitted to carry out their activities as normal such as viewing, inspection, check out and check in, and dealing with non-essential maintenance.

Prospective tenants are able to travel across any area of the UK or tier area to view properties, and tenants are allowed to move in and out of homes as normal.

You can read the full government guidance here.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

What are your opening hours and how do I contact you?

Our office is currently closed to the public, tenants and landlords for drop in visitors, but we can happily make an appointment for you to come in and visit any one of the team.

We have these measures in place in order to protect our staff and extra safety measures have been installed in our office to limit the spread of Covid-19, should any of our staff need to allow contractors to visit and collect keys.

You can contact us in the usual way, via the website contact page or our usual telephone number. Our office hours remain the same, Monday- Friday 9am-5pm

Restrictions have eased, what safety measures are ‘burgh taking to protect me?

All ‘burgh staff who are interacting with any of our customers or general public have been supplied with a PPE pack to carry with them.

This includes face coverings, disposable gloves, cleaning equipment and alcohol hand sanitiser.

Our office is not currently open to drop in visitors in order to protect our staff and extra safety measures have been installed in our office to limit the spread of Covid-19. You can make an appointment with us, just get in touch and we can organise that for you.

Our keys are being regularly sprayed with disinfectant and sanitised during use.

How can I secure a property safely with ‘burgh?

Where possible we are aiming to offer a virtual viewing on our website and advertising portals for any advertised property.

Scottish Government Guidance is advising us to encourage a first round of viewings by virtual viewing before we book a physical viewing with a prospective tenant. This is so we can lessen the number of interactions between us, you and any current tenants living in the property.

We do need the viewer to view in person too before we can accept an application for any property.

Our application process is all carried out online so it is quick and easy to complete from anywhere at anytime.

You can read the full government guidance here.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

Can I secure a property from watching a virtual viewing?

No, Current Scottish Government guidance is asking us to encourage a first round of viewings by virtual viewing before we book a physical viewing. This is so we can lessen the number of interactions between us, you and any current tenants living in the property.

If you want to secure a property after watching the virtual viewing on our website, we will need to arrange a physical viewing for you to view the property in person.

We want to make sure that the property is the right choice for you, so we encourage you to view where possible.

Can I have a physical viewing with ‘burgh?

Absolutely. We encourage you to physically view the property before you move in. We have processes in place to make sure that we carry out the viewing safely and in line with government guidelines.

What will happen at the physical viewing?

Physical viewings are private and by appointment only. So we can allow you to enter the property, you must bring your own face covering. If you do not have a face covering with you, we cannot allow you to view.

We can view with no more than 2 people and you must be from the same household.

We will need you to confirm that you or anybody in your household is not symptomatic of Covid-19.

Our viewing agent will be wearing a face covering and the agent will be carrying some PPE and cleaning equipment. You will be asked not to touch any surfaces or handles.

We will be encouraging any tenants living in the property to leave for a short while, but this may not always be possible

We are a group of students looking to secure a property for the next academic year, can ‘burgh help?

All of our student properties are advertised and once they have been fully vacated and cleaned, we may be able to carry out a virtual viewing.

With the landlords permission, we may be able to help you secure a property online and without a viewing, with a view to a physical viewing being carried out later in the year.

I am a current tenant with ‘burgh, will you be viewing my property with prospective tenants before I vacate?

Government guidance issued to letting agents in August 2021 is allowing agents to physically view properties in tenanted properties but the guidance is encouraging us to limit the amount of viewings that we carry out – to try and limit contact between us, you and prospective tenants

They are encouraging us to offer prospective tenants a virtual viewing in the first instance and to then offer a physical viewing after.

This we hope will lessen the impact on you and lessen the number of people we need to physically view within your property.

We will contact you to arrange a suitable time for our agent to visit you so we can conduct a virtual tour recording of your property.

At this visit, the agent will be carrying a PPE pack, using a face covering and sanitiser at entry and exit, and we ask that you have the property clean, tidy and presentable for the images and tour to be taken.

Government guidance is suggesting that it is advisable for the current tenant to leave the property for a short while whilst we access. We can access with the keys that we hold.

You can read the full government guidance here.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

I am a current tenant with ‘burgh, will you be carrying out a routine inspection visit to my property?

Yes, Government guidance offered to letting agents in August 2021 is allowing agents to carry out routine inspection visits to tenanted properties.

Your safety is really important to us, so we will let you know well in advance of the visit.

At this visit, the agent will be carrying a PPE pack, using a face covering and sanitiser at entry and exit, and we ask that you have the property clean, tidy and presentable for the agent to visit.

Government guidance is suggesting that it is advisable for the tenant to leave the property for a short while whilst we access. We can access with the keys that we hold.

You can read the full government guidance here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

I have a maintenance contractor due to visit, what should I do to prepare?

With more people working from home, we will need your assistance in facilitating a contractor to visit your property.

We will instruct the contractor as usual, once you have reported it to us via our website support page.

Our contractors are not employed by ‘burgh but we have instructed them to carry out a risk assessment before visiting any tenanted properties, to ensure that they and you are not exposed to any unnecessary risk and also to use safety precautions such as wearing gloves and masks.

If you are anybody in your household is symptomatic of Covid 19 or if you are self-isolating, you must inform us and the contractor before they attend.

It may help for you to leave the property during the time of the contractors visit so that there is no unnecessary person to person contact.

If you are not comfortable with the contractor entering the property or you feel that they are not taking the necessary precautions to protect you or themselves, let us know immediately.

Further government guidance can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

I am a tenant with ‘burgh and I have a maintenance request

You should request all maintenance as usual via our website support page. Any emergencies should be reported by calling the office number or consulting the website support page out of hours.

Scottish Government guidance offered to letting agents in August 2021 has confirmed that trades people are able to visit tenanted homes, such as gas engineers, plumbers and roofers. All with a view to keeping your home functional, safe and sound.

Government guidance is suggesting that it is advisable for you to leave the property for a short while whilst the contractor can access to carry out their tasks.

‘burgh contractors are not employed by us so they have been given instructions to cary out their own risk assessment directly with our tenants and to wear PPE at any visits.

The availability of contractors for non-essential repairs is challenging due to a general shortage of available contractors and a local industry wide back log of works to be caught up with. We are prioritising the most urgent or emergency repairs due to the demand imposed on key contractors, so non-essential maintenance will be picked up as soon as possible.

The impact of coronavirus has affected my employment and income, what support is available to me?

The UK and Scottish governments have implemented a number of support avenues available to tenants who have been impacted financially by the Coronavirus.

The UK government is offering to anybody who is experiencing a loss of income due to the pandemic, further income support and protection in order to sustain your personal income, so you should seek guidance from your employer.

The support is extended to the self-employed, employees on zero hours contracts or those in flexible working arrangements.

There are a number of government services that you should explore if you are directly affected. The main government coronavirus support page is a good place to start but here are some more specific sites detailed here for you too;

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Tenants who need support to pay their rent because their income has been impacted by Coronavirus, can apply to the tenant hardship loan scheme. This is a loan scheme that needs to be repaid and you must meet the eligibility criteria in order to secure the loan. You can find out more here:

https://tenanthardshiploan.est.org.uk/

Tenants affected can claim Universal Credit – this includes support for housing costs. The UK Government has introduced some temporary changes to make this easier for people who haven’t claimed before.

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

For tenants who are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can’t afford housing costs, a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) may apply.

https://www.mygov.scot/discretionary-housing-payment/

Tenants may be able to get support through the Scottish Welfare Fund too.

https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/crisis-grants/

I am struggling to pay my rent, can ‘burgh or my landlord help me?

We understand that these are worrying times. If you find yourself in this situation, you should speak to your property manager to discuss your situation. The government support in place will be a good starting point for you to see what kind of support is available to you before you speak to us.

The main government coronavirus support page is a good place to start but here are some more specific avenues of support detailed here for you;

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Tenants who need support to pay their rent because their income has been impacted by Coronavirus, can apply to the tenant hardship loan scheme. This is a loan scheme that needs to be repaid and you must meet the eligibility criteria in order to secure the loan. You can find out more here:

https://tenanthardshiploan.est.org.uk/

Tenants affected can claim Universal Credit – this includes support for housing costs. The UK Government has introduced some temporary changes to make this easier for people who haven’t claimed before.

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

For tenants who are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can’t afford housing costs, a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) may apply.

https://www.mygov.scot/discretionary-housing-payment/

Tenants may be able to get support through the Scottish Welfare Fund too.

https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/crisis-grants/

Landlord Coronavirus FAQs

Do you offer virtual viewings?

Yes, Current government guidance is asking us to encourage a first round of viewings by virtual viewing before we book a physical viewing with a prospective tenant. This is so we can lessen the number of interactions between us, any prospective tenants and any current tenants living in the property.

We do need the viewer to view in person too before we can accept an application for any property.

Here is an example of our virtual viewing at our YouTube channel.

Can you inspect my property now that Scotland has moved out of the levels system?

We are following the current government guidance about whether it is appropriate to carry out a routine inspection on a tenanted property. The guidance offered by the Scottish Government suggests that we are able to carry out routine inspections to tenanted properties, whilst taking precautionary measures to limit any contact with tenants. We will consult with you about whether access is required.

At a routine inspection, the property manager will be carrying a PPE pack, using a face covering and sanitiser at entry and exit.

Government guidance is suggesting that it is advisable for the tenant to leave the property for a short while whilst we access.

You can read the full government guidance here.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

Scotland has moved out of the levels system, what does that mean for the property market and where can I find guidance?

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on the 9th August 2021 to further ease restrictions, Scotland has now moved out of the levels system and advice from the government is to act carefully and remain cautious.

The situation on how we can operate remains broadly the same as normal across the lettings industry, and we are still able to operate, whilst taking into account the safety and well-being of our customers and tenants.

Letting agents are permitted to carry out their activities as normal such as viewing, inspection, check out and check in, and dealing with non-essential maintenance.

Prospective tenants are able to travel across any area of the UK or tier area to view properties, and tenants are allowed to move in and out of homes as normal.

You can read the full government guidance here.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/

What are your opening hours and how do I contact you?

Our office is currently closed to the public, tenants and landlords for drop in visitors, but we can happily make an appointment for you to come in and visit any one of the team.

We have these measures in place in order to protect our staff and extra safety measures have been installed in our office to limit the spread of Covid-19, should any of our staff need to allow contractors to visit and collect keys.

You can contact us in the usual way, via the website contact page or our usual telephone number. Our office hours remain the same, Monday- Friday 9am-5pm

Restrictions have eased, what safety measures are ‘burgh taking to protect me?

All ‘burgh staff who are interacting with any of our customers or general public have been supplied with a PPE pack to carry with them.

This includes face coverings, disposable gloves, cleaning equipment and alcohol hand sanitiser.

Our office is not currently open to drop in visitors in order to protect our staff and extra safety measures have been installed in our office to limit the spread of Covid-19. You can make an appointment with us, just get in touch and we can organise that for you.

Our keys are being regularly sprayed with disinfectant and sanitised during use.