COVID-19 - What to Expect
Sheffield City Council will be resuming the allocating and letting of our properties from 17th September 2020. In order to do this safely and securely for both our customers and staff there will be a number of changes to our usual processes. We have created this page to provide you with some details around what to expect at various stages of the letting process.
Numbers of Properties Advertised
In the initial few weeks following the relaunch of our choice based lettings process, there may be fewer properties advertised than would normally be the case. This will allow us to ensure that we have the resources to manage the demand and that we are able to provide sufficient time for some elements of the process which may take longer to do in a Covid secure way, such as the accompanied viewing. The Council will keep this under review each week and ensure that sufficient properties are available to meet demand as much as possible.
Receiving an Offer and Accompanied Viewings
If you are successful in your bid for a property, you will be contacted by a member of staff to discuss the offer as we would have done previously. In addition to the normal discussions, we will encourage you not to request an accompanied viewing of the property unless absolutely necessary. If you are happy to accept the property without a viewing, we will arrange a suitable date and time with you to sign for the property as quickly as possible. You will be able to move in more quickly if you do not need to view the property.
If you do need to view the property before being able to make your decision, we will arrange this with you. Please be aware that viewings will be restricted to applicants/prospective tenants only with a maximum of 2 people. You should not bring friends or family with you to the viewing unless pre-agreed with the officer completing the viewing with you. We would also recommend that you do not bring children to the viewing unless absolutely necessary. In order for the viewing to take place, you will need to ensure you adhere to social distancing guidelines and anyone attending the property for the viewing must wear masks at all times whilst inside the property. We would also recommend that you wear gloves or other such protective clothing. Please be aware that if you do not have a mask then the viewing will not proceed. Support Workers may attend with you where necessary and should be pre-agreed with the officer completing the viewing with you. You will also need to ensure you bring all the relevant documentation and ID with you to the viewing as you would have done previously. You should also bring your own pen to sign any required documentation.
Signing for the Property
Where a viewing has taken place and you wish to accept the property, we will have pre-prepared the documentation for you to sign and will leave this in the property in a suitable place for you to sign there and then. There will also be a further pack of additional information for you to keep. As the appointment will be shorter than normal, there will be an additional phone call made after the viewing to make sure we have provided you with all the relevant information you will need to sustain your tenancy. Please make sure you are available for this call and have provided us with a working telephone number on which we can contact you.
The Council has not been proceeding with Mutual Exchanges since the suspension of our lettings process at the beginning of the pandemic. Over the months that have followed, we have slowly begun to restart elements of this process by accepting applications and progressing these as far as possible. The Council recently began to complete the property inspections for Mutual Exchanges which means that we are now in a position to be able to provide a firm decision on such applications. From 21st September we will also begin to complete appointments for people to sign for their exchanges and all such appointments will take place at Howden House.
We will be contacting applicants who are at this stage in the coming weeks to begin to book in these appointments. Due to the number of appointments we need to arrange and the restrictions on the number we can complete each week, it may take us some time to work through these. We would ask that you bear with us through this and thank you for your patience.
Pre-Transfer and Pre-Quit Inspections
Over the past several months we have been contacting tenants by phone in order to confirm the requirements and condition in which their property should be left when moving out. Moving forwards, property inspections will be a mixture of telephone calls and home visits depending on the property. You will be advised whether your inspection will require a home visit and if so, when this will be. When officers visit your home they will have appropriate PPE with them and will be wearing masks at all times. It is important that you maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres at all times whilst officers are in your home. An inspection when leaving your property is an important part of your tenancy and we ask that you please make every reasonable effort to accommodate our visiting officers.
The inspection shouldn’t take up too much of your time and is a great opportunity to confirm any final points and will help ensure you avoid any potential re-charges. Our expectation is that you will leave the property in an acceptable condition and you may incur a charge if we determine there is any damage to the property. Please make sure you clear any household waste ans/or unwanted furniture from internal and external areas. We will also inspect the gardens and make sure that they are left in a manageable condition and not overgrown and unsightly. If you have any further questions or would like any information about the inspections when leaving your property please don’t hesitate to contact us.