Coronavirus – COVID 19
As the Prime Minister has said, we are in the middle of a Public Health emergency that has not been see in the UK in living memory.
All aspects of life and work are affected including the service that we offer to residents and those seeking a new home. As you will appreciate, information is changing daily but the contents of this Newsletter is to update you on the situation as it is today. This may well change and we will do our best to notify you of any further service changes in future only through our website. Please check this website periodically for further information.
As you know we have already closed the office to members of the public unless there is an exceptional reason for a face to face meeting. At the same time we are preparing for home working where possible and practicable. It is clear however, that in the short term we cannot provide a normal service in the light of the latest Public Health advice.
There are some areas of activity when we can offer some clarity.
Rent Payment & Support
Many workers will be uncertain as to their job situation, with some being laid off and others’ furloughed’, in effect getting a temporary leave of absence from work. The Government have announced that employers who ‘furlough’ their employees can be paid 80% of their earnings by the state for a period initially of 3 months. This will be paid through a company payroll in the usual way. If you are employed and your income is reduced you should make enquiries to see if you are eligble for Universal Credit or other employment support benefits.
During this period rent is still payable. Financial support is available through the government wage support scheme and through the benefits system. We will do our best to support and guide those that need it through this difficult time, but it is your responsibility to apply for benefits if your income is affected and to keep us informed so that we are aware and can offer constructive help and advice. The rules of attendance have been relaxed and applications can now be considered over the phone.
https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit or 0800 328 5644
Although the office is closed for over the counter rent payments, you can still pay over the phone using your debit card by calling us. All other payment methods continue to be available. If in doubt, please ask.
Repairs and Maintenance
We rely on a network of independent sub-contractors to maintain and repair our stock. These contractors are responsible for the employment of their staff who are obviously concerned about entering homes unnecessarily in the present climate.
From 24th March we ask you to only report necessary and essential repairs for the time being. This will enable contractors to prioritise work to ensure that emergencies and essential repairs can be completed safely. Please do not report other repairs at present. Make a note of them and these can be addressed as circumstances allow. The completion times for all repairs other than emergencies is now suspended.