Advice on COVID 19 (Corona Virus)

* Updated 8th October 2020

New Government restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus came into force on Tuesday 22 September. Further to the government announcement we needed to review and make relevant changes to the way we deliver services in line with government guidelines.

This was to ensure we minimise risks to the health and safety of our customers and staff whilst also trying to continue to deliver our services to you.

As the government has announced that the COVID alert level has increased from 3 to 4 we have reviewed and looked at our frontline services.  Due to the work we have done in carrying out a comprehensive Risk Assessment and method statement for the different services we can continue to deliver a most of our service areas with some changes.  However, some services are currently suspended to ensure we abide by the new guidelines following the latest lockdown restrictions being imposed.

Please click on to the service Status on the right hand side of this screen for Services that are operating, with changes and suspended.

Your health and safety, as well as that of our staff and partners is our top priority. We know that many of you may be concerned about the virus and we are working hard to ensure that we can continue providing essential services to you in line with government guidance around limiting the spread of infection.

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) is being asked to stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others, to slow the spread of infection. The symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've recently started coughing repeatedly

If you have symptoms and live on your own, you should stay at home (self-isolate) for seven days. If you live with other people, all household members should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. We are looking at different ways of keeping in touch by phone, email or video calls if our usual visits can’t take place.

We will have to adapt how we provide our services in line with current and ongoing advice from the government and Public Health England (PHE). PHE What you need to know

The situation around coronavirus is fast moving and advice from government is continuously evolving to reflect the current situation. We will adapt our services to ensure we can continue to deliver essential services, while conforming to the government's guidance to limit the spread of infection. We will update this page regularly to tell you about any changes to our services. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation at this time.

Government's Housing Minister letter to all social housing residents

WATMOS letter to all residents

WATMOS Risk Assessment

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Health & Wellbeing

*Updated 10th August 2020

If you feel like you are struggling, or if you’re concerned for a loved one and need support there are lots of useful helplines, support groups and online resources to help you cope at this difficult time.

Here are some helpful resources 

Crisis and emotional support helplines

You can also find a list of mental health topics, services and helplines at The Mental Health Foundation and the NHS 

Older People

  • Age UK offer a free confidential advice line for older people, their families, friends, carers and professionals
    Advice line: 0800 678 1602
  • Campaign to end loneliness provides lots of advice and tips on how to stay in touch when self-isolating

Younger People

  • The Mix is a UK based charity that provides free, confidential support for young people under 25.
    Helpline: 0808 808 4994 
  • The National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) is a charity for children, young people and adults, offering a variety of services
    Helpline: 0808 808 1001
  • Young Minds is a mental health charity for young people
    Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544 
  • Kooth offers free, safe and anonymous online support for young people
  • Childline provide help, support and advice on a wide range of issues
    Helpline 0800 1111
  • NSPCC offers help and support to parents, professionals and families
    Helpline 0808 800 5000

Community support

  • Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups to organise mutual aid through the Covid-pandemic in in the UK. Their focus is offering resources and connecting people to local groups and services. 

Domestic abuse

Are you suffering from Domestic Abuse?

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free helpline for anyone experiencing domestic abuse
    Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • Black Country Women’s Aid offer local resources and support for women experiencing  domestic abuse  info@blackcountrywomensaid.co.uk, 01922 – 649569. The Cedar Centre Walsall is located: The Rock Centre, 27-31 Lichfield Street, Walsall WS1 1TE. The Cedar Centre Walsall is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. If you need to speak to someone outside of these times please call the 24-hour telephone number on 0121 552 6448.
  • The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) provide access to free injunctions on 0844 8044 999 and is available 24 hours a day
  • galop offer emotional and practical support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse
    Hotline: 0800 999 5428

Rents - What should I do about my rent payments?

  • You should continue to pay your rent every week or month in the usual way as you have agreed with your Officer.
  • If you are not able to make your weekly payment you must contact us at the earliest opportunity. 
  • We will work with you to agree a plan if you are struggling to pay your rent.
  • This can mean reaching a temporary agreement with you, we may be able to accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date.
  • If we do make an agreement it is important you keep to this plan and that you talk to your Housing Officer immediately if you are unable to do so. 
  • If you are worried about being unable to pay your rent, advice is available from specialist providers such Walsall Money Advice Project: http://www.wmap.org.uk or telephone  01922 623292, email info@wmap.org.uk  or in London, contact independent money advice charity Centre 70 on enquiries@centre70.org.uk or 020 8670 0070
  • Click here to Pay Your Rent Online

Repairs Information

Whilst the COVID alert level is at 4, ONLY emergency and urgent repairs works within dwellings will be attended to. 

Essential repairs

During the coronavirus pandemic, we are only carrying out essential repairs:

    Essential repairs

         Non-essential repairs

  • heating or hot water and gas servicing
  • electrical emergencies
  • security locks and window restrictors
  • severe leaks
  • work required to preserve the safety of residents or the structure of a building
  • communal and estate repairs including lifts
  • works in our empty properties
  • minor day-to-day repairs, adjustments or inspections
  • mould and condensation
  • finishings including decoration, plastering, tiling and flooring
  • bath panel renewals
  • any repair required as a result of damage, neglect or misuse by the resident

Communal works, estate works and works to empty properties will continue as usual because there is limited risk of close contact between people.

For essential repairs, please call :

London :  020 7043 0670

Walsall : 01922 471910.

Repairs in your home

Our contractors are continuing to carry out essential repairs. They are taking extra safety measures to help keep you and themselves healthy while they work in your home.

  • They will ask a series of questions to understand the risk to you and your household
  • They will wash their hands when they arrive and before they leave your property
  • They may wear masks, gloves and use hand sanitiser
  • They may ask you to stay in a separate room whilst they undertake the repair
  • They may use an antibacterial cleaning solution or wipes on surfaces in the area they are working in

In line with Government advice, please keep your distance while they are working. If possible elderly, pregnant or vulnerable residents should stay in a different room or keep at least 2 metres away.

Gas Servicing

We have a legal responsibility for gas safety in our tenanted homes. This means we must:

  • Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition
  • Ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
  • Keep a record of each safety check

Gas safety is so important, we are continuing to carry out annual safety checks during lockdown.

Our heating contractor is following government advice when they visit tenants’ homes:

  • They will ask a series of questions to understand the risk to you and your household
  • They will wash their hands when they arrive and before they leave your property
  • They may wear masks, gloves and use hand sanitiser
  • They may ask you to stay in a separate room whilst they undertake the repair
  • They may use an antibacterial cleaning solution or wipes on surfaces in the area they are working in

If you are worried because you, or someone you live with, is self-isolating or shielding, let us know.

Useful resources

Below are some useful how-to videos and resources so that you can carry out basic repairs jobs at home in the meantime, without having to book an appointment or wait for an engineer.

Gas, boilers and heating
How to bleed a radiator
How to reset a boiler
What to do if you smell gas
Electrical and lighting
How to change a fluorescent light fitting
How to fix an electricity fuse box that has tripped
Water and condensation
How to treat and prevent mould
Kitchen and bathroom
How to unclog a sink
How to prevent a blocked sink
How to reseal a bath, shower or sink

Walsall Office & TMOs

* Updated 23rd September 2020

Walsall Office

The Walsall Head Office is closed. We will be monitoring the situation very closely. Please check our website for further updates.

If you need to speak to a member of staff based at the Walsall Head Office please call 01922 471910 or email info@watmos.org.uk

Walsall TMOs

Estate Offices

Walsall TMO Offices will remain closed until further notice and residents can contact staff by phone or email.

Tenancy Management 

Housing Officers will be available for telephone interviews and you can call or email them as usual.

Lettings

We have temporarily suspended viewings and lettings.

We must ensure we protect our customers and colleagues as much as possible and will update further when we are able to restart lettings in fully Covid safe way using virtual viewings and electronic sign ups.

Homeless

If you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless you should contact Walsall Council on 01922 652250  in the first instance or email  Housingandwelfaresupport@walsall.gov.uk , you should also apply to for housing in Walsall online here: WATMOS apply for housing online

Parking Permits

For estates where parking permits are required, all requests or enquiries should be directed to your TMO office by telephone or email.

Social Activities

Please note that there will be no Social Activities or Committee meetings until further notice.

Given the severity of the situation we are only allowing emergency contractors and other essential service provider’s access to the TMO offices. Therefore we will not be allowing any residents access to the TMO office.

Useful Support Links

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, in the first instance please contact the Police or Domestic Abuse Helpline services:  Walsall Council Domestic Abuse Support. If you are applying to move home due to domestic abuse, once you have completed your application an officer will make telephone contact with you to offer practical advice and provide information on where else you can get help.

Walsall Council COVID-19 help & support for Walsall residents

Need help with Food?

Contact your local TMO office and we can help you or you can contact.

Black Country Foodbank

London Office & TMOs

*Updated 10th August 2020

London Office

The London Office is closed. We will be monitoring the situation very closely. Please check our website for further updates.

If you need to speak to a member of staff based at this office please call 020 3176 6390 or email info@watmos.org.uk

Estate Offices

Whilst you will now start to see officer presence on our estates the estate offices remain closed to the public. Staff can be contacted by telephone on 0207 043 0670 or emailed at londontmos@watmos.org.uk

Repairs

To report a repair please call 02070430670. 

Tenancy Management 

Housing Officers will be available for telephone interviews and you can call or email them as usual.

Parking Permits

The parking permit scheme is currently suspended at Ethelred Estate until further notice.

Please note the parking scheme at Thorlands were reinstated from 20th July. For all permit enquiries, please call Wings Office 01582 434500 Monday to Thursday 9am - 5pm. the office is closed Fridays alternatively, email office@wingparking.co.uk

Community Centre Update

All community centres are presently closed for resident use and hire. We will update you as soon as there is any change.

Support to those vulnerable or self isolating

We are regularly contacting all residents over 70 years old and residents who are vulnerable to identify what support may be required. We will endeavour to work with those residents on an ongoing basis.

You may find other useful information vis this link to Lambeth Age UK  - Lambeth Age UK  

Self isolation is proving incredibly difficult for many. This link provides useful advice and contact information for a range of support agencies within Lambeth Lambeth Advice Agencies

Commercial Tenants

WATMOS has a small portfolio of Commercial units which are managed by  specialist Commercial Managing Agents, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).  As a commercial tenant If you have any queries regarding your rent, renewing or surrendering your lease or your responsibilities under the terms of your lease (including repairing obligations)  please contact  LSH on Telephone: 0207 198 2000 and ask to speak to Martin Barrow who is your main point of contact.

The detail of the landlord’s and commercial tenants’ responsibilities is set out in your lease. Leases can vary but in general Watmos (the landlord) is responsible for the buildings structure and you are responsible for everything inside your unit. This would include the plaster on the walls and ceilings, the floors, the fixtures and fittings, window and door fittings and glazing and all the services like electrics and plumbing that are exclusive to your unit, even if the pipes go through the building. Responsibility for things like your, windows and frames, external glazing and stores vary depending on your lease, so you should check your lease and confirm with LSH on the telephone number detailed above.

Reporting a Structural Repair and/or Repairs to Communal areas on the Estate or within the Building 

If you wish to report a repair relating to the buildings structure and/or communal areas please contact the WATMOS One Team office on 0207 043 0670

Emergency Repairs

If you need to report an emergency repair out of hours, please contact our 24-hour help line service on 08000 662 742. This is a “make safe” service only, and covers only the repairs Watmos are responsible for under the lease in the communal areas or communal services.

Problems with gas, water supplies or electricity should be reported first to your service provider to see if there is a local issue affecting other people too, otherwise you are responsible for organising repairs.

The following repairs are not Watmos’ responsibility and should be reported directly to the following:

For gas leaks contact Transco on 0800 111 999

For gas meters contact your gas supplier

For street lighting of adopted roads and pavements, contact your local Council

For water leaks in the road contact your water company

For all queries other than reporting a repair please contact LSH on telephone 0207 198 2000

Buildings Insurance

We maintain insurance for all our properties and estate areas as part of what is called a ‘Landlords Block Policy’. This covers major risks like flood, fire, earthquake, storm damage and some accidental incidents like major leaks.

We regularly review the level of insurance cover and the provider to obtain best cover.  A copy of the existing Policy summary can be viewed by clicking here.

 PLEASE NOTE

The Watmos buildings insurance does not include, business contents, fittings,  personal or business possessions like furniture, equipment, goods, floor coverings etc or, very importantly, your business or personal liability.  So, for instance, if a leak from your property damages another person’s property, they or their insurers may sue you. Equally if your business contents or personal possessions are damaged by a leak from another property whether it is leasehold, tenanted, or commercial  Watmos insurance will not reimburse you. Therefore you must  organise your own insurance including  business contents and liability insurance.   You should always seek independent legal advice on all aspects of your insurance requirements and liabilities.

Disclaimer

The above is  not legally binding and does not affect any lease or other legally binding document or arrangement. Watmos has tried to ensure that the above content is correct at the time of writing (June 2020) but cannot guarantee its accuracy. If you are in doubt or difficulty, if you are involved in a dispute, or if you need to know your rights, you should seek your own independent legal advice from a solicitor or other suitably qualified person.

London WATMOS Summer 2020 Newsletter 

Latest Prince’s Ward Weekly Newsletter

Other useful links:

BBC News Updates on Coronavirus

Useful links

NHS Covid 19 Latest NHS information and advice about Corona Virus COVID 19

NHS Check your symptoms test

Guidance on Corona Virus COVID 19

Useful information and links for help from the NHS

Your finances

We are developing our response in line with government guidance. Contact us if you’re having difficulty paying your rent. We can help you to maximise your income.

Click here for information on what to do if you've lost your job

How can I get help with gas and electricity when self-isolating?

If you have a pre-pay gas and / or electricity meter and you are self-isolating, please follow the link here to see what help is available. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-energy-supply for the latest information.

What about payment holidays for my water bills?

South Staffs Water is offering assistance to residents struggling to pay their water bills. Please contact them at South Staffs Water help & support

For information on Scams during the coronavirus, click here.

Click here to take a look at Age UK’s coronavirus guide.

News

For information about the Corona virus Covid-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Take a stand against scams

Friends Against Scams