SOUTH EAST SCOTLAND TENANTS NETWORK2
AGENDA FOR ZOOM MEETING
1. A discussion on the recent TP e-mail on external cladding, and how it possibly may affect tenants in the long run. -.David
2. Rent Freeze - should we lobby Scottish Government? if so, why? - Terry
3. Report on the evictions discussion - Susan
4. Update on the consultation response to the Scottish Housing Regulator - Debra
5. Next virtual meeting to be a consultation session lead by TPAS regarding local connection in relation to homelessness applications - Date for early-mid October to be confirmed by Carolynne.
6. Decide the dates for virtual meetings until the end of 2020.
Minutes of Virtual South East Scotland Regional Meeting
17 September 2020
Alan Frank , Vice Chair (temporary)
Lillias Reid, Secretary (temporary)
David Rintoul, Committee member
Jim Galloway, Committee member
Terry Kirby, Committee member
Cath McCarthur, Committee member
Susan McLellan, TP team
Islay McLauchlan, TP team
Annabel Hoatson, TP team
Alan Dunton, Chair (temporary)
Carolynne Watson, TP team
Welcome and Introductions
Susan McLellan, TP Team, welcomed everyone to the first virtual meeting of the East Scotland Region 2 meeting.
External wall cladding systems consultation
The Scottish Government Building Standards team are gathering views on safety advice regarding external wall cladding systems. Please find attached the link below with the details: https://www.gov.scot/collections/external-wall-cladding-systems-advice/.
TPAS are going to hold a Webinar meeting on Tuesday 20th October, with representatives from the Scottish Government Building Department and David Rintoul will be attending from the Region.
The Consultation response is due on the 25 October 2020.
Terry brought up the suggestion of a rent freeze as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently noted that increasing rent was an on-going problem for some tenants which has now spiralled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some rent rises are now unaffordable, especially in the City of Edinburgh and some surrounding areas.
Terry made the point that those with mortgages had been able to take a lending holiday for up to 3 months and an extension for a further 3 months but tenants have been unable to do the same.
The consensus from the committee was that this should be brought forward at the next Chairs and Secretaries meeting and Terry would offer some wording for the group to consider. If the Chairs and Secretaries agreed then it would be an issue that would be brought up with the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart MSP.
Action: Susan and Carolynne to work with Terry to arrange appropriate wording for submitting as an agenda item at the next Chairs and Secretaries meeting and will note Edinburgh rents as a separate point.
Susan provided an update on the extension of powers of the Coronavirus Act (2020).
The legislation regarding evictions and antisocial behaviour will revert it back to 28 days. The legislation is currently in place until 30 September and, subject to the Parliament’s agreement, the legislation will be extended a further 6 months until March 2021.
Terry made the point that this is putting a further 6 months on tenants who are struggling to pay their rent and many of those people in arrears are never going to be able to afford to pay them back. Susan made the point that the SG has made some financial help available to tenants, for example, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) and tenants should contact their landlord if they are unable to pay their rent and to seek financial assistance. The legislation is there to protect tenants from eviction because of rent arrears.
Homelessness Consultation on Local Connection
The Homelessness Consultation on Local Connection is currently live and closes on the 23 October 2020. https://consult.gov.scot/housing-and-social-justice/modifying-local-con…
Action :Carolynne is going to contact Tony at TPAS to see if he can hold a call with the group on this consultation. The preferred date is Monday 5 October 2020 at 10.30am. Carolynne will update the group once the date has been confirmed.
SHR changes to regulations
There was a discussion about changes to ARC. Some of the committee wanted to know more information about the changes to 6/7 indicators. Are they Covid-19 related? Should tenant panels be notified for these changes?
Action: Carolynne is will find out more information about this and share with the group.
Forward meeting planner
Monday 26 October at 11am for the next committee meeting.
Monday 7 December at 11am for the final committee meeting of 2020.
The committee would like to have a Chairs and Secretaries meeting as soon as possible and Susan advised that this would be arranged in the coming weeks.
Virtual meeting feedback.
Islay stated that it will take time for people to get used to using online communications. At the beginning of lockdown we were aware many of the Regional Network members were using Zoom, and The TP team have a paid Zoom account which is why we use this form. In terms of alternative forms of virtual meetings, the SG is going to be giving staff access to Microsoft Teams in January. WebEx is another alternative but again the TP team would need to get a paid account and as we already have a Zoom account then it would not be beneficial having two at the moment. The TP team will ask for feedback about virtual meetings in early 2021.
Close and thank you
Susan ended the meeting and thanked everyone for attending.
Next virtual to take place on Monday 26 October at 11am via Zoom and the link with agenda and minutes will be issued nearer the time.