Council begins phased reopening of housing services following lockdown

Published: Friday, 22 May 2020

Havering Council will begin the gradual restoration of its housing services from next week, as the UK begins the recovery process from the coronavirus outbreak in line with Government guidance.  

This will begin with the staged reopening of the Choice Based Lettings Service (CBL), which allows tenants on the housing waiting list to bid on available Council and housing association properties.

Households on the Housing Register who are eligible to bid should check the Choice Homes website from Tuesday 26 May 2020.

Households who had already been offered a property but had been unable to move because of the lockdown will be the first to move in.

The Council will be in contact with households in this situation to advise and support them to move into their new homes. 

Bidding and selection for properties can be completed online, so face-to-face contact can be kept to a minimum.

Where contact is necessary, staff will be issued with appropriate PPE and maintain strict social distancing measures to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Alongside lettings, routine property repairs and maintenance works will be restarting for pre-existing bookings on Council-owned properties.

New repairs can be booked from 1 June 2020.

Work has already been taking place on empty properties, and the Council will be starting work on occupied properties, maintaining strict distancing measures and cleaning procedures to ensure the safety of the tenants and staff.

Due to staffing and resource issues following the outbreak, repair and maintenance work in occupied properties will have to be assessed against a number of safety and practicality criteria, and will only take place under the following conditions.

  • Only essential work will take place in homes where occupants are self-isolating or shielding.
  • If residents have a concern for their health, the Council will reschedule planned works.
  • Contractors will be subject to risk assessments and follow government guidance on safe working (including PPE provision).
  • Procedures on safe working will be explained to residents prior to work taking place. 
  • Tenants are expected to inform the council if they are isolating or shielding, and must maintain a two-metre distance from staff and contractors.

Councillor Joshua Chapman, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we will be reinstating the Choice Based Lettings Service from next week.

“I appreciate this is a very uncertain and worrying time for everyone. I would like to reassure residents that anyone who was on the list and in the middle of the bidding process when the service was suspended will not lose their place. 

 “I hope that the reopening of this service will provide some extra peace of mind to many of our residents. Whether in crisis or normal times we will always do our best to provide homes to residents in need” 

Residents should continue to check the Council's website for further service changes in the coming weeks, and sign up for the Living in Havering email newsletter for the latest updates.