CoronavirusFrequently Asked Questions

Service updates due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

By March 26, 2020 No Comments

We know that everyone is being affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Thank you all for your patience, understanding and support in these unprecedented and challenging circumstances.

We’re working hard to provide critical services, support the most vulnerable and help keep people safe. We’re continually monitoring and adapting the way we work as things develop. Please bear with us; there will be a significant impact on how we deliver our services for the time being.

We will continue to update this page with changes that affect our service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of your tenancy or our services, please contact us.

Rent and other payments

We appreciate that the crisis is impacting everyone and that many people’s work, family and income circumstances are affected. We recognise that some of our residents work for low or irregular wages often in insecure employment and may be placed in serious financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We believe that no one should lose their home because of the coronavirus and want to support those of you who are having difficulty with rent payments. If you’re worried about paying your rent or other charges, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.We can offer you money support advice including help with claiming benefits.

Don’t forget you can pay your rent through our customer portal MyHomeOnline or by phone, this might be especially helpful if you need to self-isolate or want to avoid visiting payment outlets at present

Please remember we’re here to help; please tell us if you need that help. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can talk things through.

Other useful links:

Click here for details of the changes that have been made to statutory sick pay which is payable immediately if you are unable to work because of the coronavirus outbreak, you may also be entitled to sick pay if you are a gig worker and/or on a zero hours contract.

If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit (which can include support with housing costs) and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you’re new to Universal Credit, make sure you know what you need before starting your claim.  Click here to see our check list and tips.

If you’re self-employed and their work has stopped due to COVID-19, visit: Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Money Advice Service website have also shared some useful advice around coronavirus and what it means for your work, benefits and travel plans.

Other support and advice

We will be phoning residents who we have identified may need some extra support during this period. We’re trying to contact as many residents as we can; but our records may not pick everyone up; please get in touch with us by completing the form above if you could benefit from the additional contact. Please let us know if you need advice or help.

Whilst we can’t deliver services directly right now, we are in contact with Local Authorities and community organisations. We want to continue to work with those still able to operate to support people in these difficult times. We can give you information about the variety of support networks in your area. We will work with local authorities who are currently establishing local hubs, as they are established. The hubs will support those people that the government has identified as the most medically vulnerable and who have no social network to support them.

We continue to monitor the daily updates on coronavirus from the government and the NHS as well as the advice from Public Health England. We will update information on our website if there are any changes to the above.

Please follow the Government guidance around coronavirus, please see useful links below:

Symptoms of coronavirus and how to avoid it on the NHS website

111 online coronavirus service if you feel you need medical help

Guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus (GOV.UK is updated daily and is the best source of reliable information)

Repairs

Our absolute priority is the wellbeing and safety of our residents, employees and contractors. In order to protect people as much as possible from the risks of spreading coronavirus, we are currently delivering an emergency only repairs service. (In general terms, emergency repairs are those that present security risks, cause uncontrollable leaks, loss of power or loss of drinking water provision.)

If you or a household member have self-isolated or feel unwell and have requested an emergency repair (or we need to visit you for any other emergency reason), please make us aware so we can discuss the best ways to support you.

However, unavoidably our non-urgent repairs, replacement programmes and some other services are currently on hold. We’ll let people know when we’re able to take calls about non-urgent repairs again and how we’re going to catch up with those works as soon as circumstances allow

Lettings and mutual exchanges

Because the latest Government advice recommends limiting contact, we are not doing any new property lettings right now and are also temporarily suspending mutual exchange applications. Once the guidance changes, and our services return to normal, we will be in contact with customers who have applied to exchange or are waiting to move into one of our properties.

Other face to face services

To further help reduce risks, we are currently limiting our face-to-face contact for all services, this includes the closure of our Monson House reception, and no face to face staff contact in sheltered services. We are continuing our daily wellbeing calls to residents in sheltered properties.

Please see our contact us page for alternative ways to get in touch.

Estates and Communal Services

Our Estate Services contractors have been working hard to deliver a normal service, however due to the new restrictions on movements, this service provision will not be able to continue in the same way. We will return to our normal levels of service as soon as government guidance allows this to happen.

You may see some contractors carrying out essential repairs, cleaning and maintenance – please ensure that you maintain social distancing as per government advice. Please also remember that the social distancing advice applies to neighbours and anyone else coming to your home to carry out essential activities. Please observe the government’s advice on social distancing

While our estate services are restricted, it’s especially important that residents dispose of all household rubbish and bulk refuse properly. Please keep hallways and other communal areas clear. This will help to minimise health and safety risks.

Anti-social behaviour

Unfortunately, we are getting more nuisance and anti-social behaviour issues in some areas. Some of this is around increased noise created by people being at home. If you experience problems that you’re unable to resolve, please let us know. We can still offer advice and we remain in contact with the police and other statutory agencies. For serious incidents please follow usual processes and contact 999 for urgent assistance or 101 for non-emergencies.

Beware of scammers

Sadly, coronavirus is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters with many scammers seeing it as an opportunity to profit.

From time to time we may call you about your rent balance. If you have concerns about the authenticity, we can send you an email to verify it’s us. If it’s to pay your rent, you may prefer to use alternative methods like paying online through your MyHomeOnline account.

We are currently delivering an emergency only repairs service due to coronavirus and have limited our face-to-face contact with residents. But should you be expecting us, all our staff and contractors have identity cards, so please make sure you ask to see them before you let anyone in.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you should let someone into your home, then politely ask the person to wait outside, close your door and call us on 01892 501480 to check. Do not call the number on their ID card.

To protect yourself and others from scammers, read Which? Advice on how to spot and stop coronavirus scams.  You can also find out more on the Government website.