FAQs about our services

Do you have a question about Coronavirus? Check out our FAQs.

Will my benefits be affected?
 

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has made arrangements for people who have to self-isolate because of the virus, or who have been diagnosed with the virus.

People currently claiming Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will not be required to produce a fit note and will not be sanctioned if they let the DWP know in advance of their situation.

Mandatory work search and work availability requirements will no longer apply.

People who need to make a new claim for Universal Credit will be able to receive a month’s advance payment without going to a job centre.

ESA will be payable from day one, rather than after seven days.

People who are working or are self-employed will still be eligible for statutory sick pay if they are staying at home on Government advice, not only if they have been infected.

Statutory sick pay will be available from day one, rather than after four days.

There’s more information on the DWP website at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

We’re always here to help customers who are affected.

If customers need any help or advice to claim Universal Credit or other benefits, our experienced staff are available on the phone or on the Welfare Benefits section of our website.

I’ve been forced to self-isolate and can’t go to work. Will I still have to pay my rent?
 

We are urging customers whose income suffers as a result of Coronavirus to get in touch with us.

We will do absolutely everything we can to help you through any difficulties caused by the Coronavirus situation, including your ability to claim any relevant benefits.

We will support you according to your individual circumstances. We have a wide range of support available.

We wouldn’t evict people who are in rent arrears as a direct result of Coronavirus.

Remember, you can pay rent and check your account by using our online self-services or by calling us.

The sooner you get in touch with us, the more we can do.

I’ve been forced to self-isolate, how do I pay my rent?
 

Are you affected by Coronavirus (due to illness or self-isolation) and worried about paying your rent?

Remember, you don't have to leave the house to keep on top of your rent.

You can pay by:

  • Direct Debit - It’s quick and easy to set up a Direct Debit to pay your rent. Once you have set up a Direct Debit, your payment will come out of your bank account on a date and at a frequency that suits you;
  • Online services - It’s free to register for an online account. You can make a rent payment, book repairs and more 24/7;
  • Call us - Call us for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to pay by debit or credit card to pay your rent.

Is there an impact on services?
 

We will do all we can to support our customers and their families through these extraordinary times.

But it is important to understand we will be providing a restricted range of services following the latest government guidance on tackling the Coronavirus crisis.

Our number-one priority will continue to be ensuring all tenants and their families remain safe and secure in their homes, whilst safeguarding the welfare and wellbeing of our staff.

Please be assured we are here for you and we will do everything we can to support you and your family through these difficult times.

Our new working arrangements are focused on providing essential services and in putting them in place.

How can I contact my housing officer
 

Our housing offices are now closed and our housing staff are fully-equipped to work from home.

Although home visits are suspended, your housing officer will remain in contact with you by telephone, email and text.

All appointments with welfare benefits and fuel advisors will be fulfilled by phone.

We are urging all our tenants to let us know if, through being ill or self-isolating, they will find it difficult to pay their rent. We are here to help.

Are your environmental teams still working?
 

We have prioritised the work of Neighbourhood Environmental Teams to focus on essential services, such as fire-safety patrols.

We have also created a local Rapid Response team to handle priority requests.

From 17 June, we were able to restart our grass cutting service.

Our Neighbourhood Environmental Teams (NETs) are getting round all areas as quickly as possible to:

  • weed and tackle overgrown grassed areas;
  • clean up back courts, including bin areas;
  • clear paths of weeds and moss;
  • apply weedkiller to hard-standing areas.

However, it will take time to reach a maintainable standard in all areas, so please bear with us.

We’ll resume working in common areas such as stairs as soon as Government guidance allows. Common areas we have not visited during lockdown will be deep cleaned. This will include sanitising handrails and cleaning doors, windows, sills and light-fittings, on top of all standard cleaning measures.

Are you still carrying out repairs?
 

The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and as a result we are still only able to deliver a restricted repairs service.

However, the gradual easing of restrictions means that as well as delivering emergency repairs we can now also carry out other essential repairs where it is safe to do so.

Essential repairs – or Safety First repairs – are where any customer or a building could be at risk and include repairing heating and renewing or repairing security entry doors and controlled entry.

All our staff will strictly follow guidelines on maintaining social distancing and wearing PPE.

We will introduce other types of repairs and return to a full repairs service as soon as we can.

What kind of repairs are you able to carry out at the moment?

We’ll be carrying out essential repairs where it is safe to do so.

Examples of this would be:

  • sort a persistent leak;
  • replace showers for vulnerable customers;
  • repair heating where temporary heating has been in place for a week;
  • replace security windows and doors;
  • renew and repair security and controlled-entry doors.

My shower has been broken for a while, will you now repair this?

Yes.

My sink has been blocked for a while, will you now repair this?

Yes.

I have a leak in my home and I have been containing it for weeks. Will you now repair this?  

Yes.

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What kind of repairs won’t be carried out?

We won’t be able to carry out non-essential repairs such as decorating, plasterwork and renewing bath panels.

We won’t be able to do repairs where it is difficult for staff to socially distance such as working in attics.

Will you be carrying out medical adaptations?

No. We usually need more than one tradesperson to carry out this type of work.

Maintaining social distancing in an attic or other enclosed spaces would be very difficult and could put customers and staff at risk.

Why are you not carrying out common repairs?

We will carry out common repairs where it is safe to do so. However, these works usually need more than one tradesperson. Maintaining social distancing in an attic or other enclosed spaces would be very difficult and could put customers and staff at risk.

At the moment, there is a shortage of some materials and manufactured items which might restrict the number and type of common repairs we can carry out.

Will you contact customers whose repairs had been cancelled?

Unfortunately, we won’t be proactively contacting customers to re-raise repairs that were cancelled due to the pandemic.

When the full repairs service is available, we will ask customers to get in touch to request any outstanding repairs if they are still required.

Will you be carrying out follow-on repairs, such as replacing glass?

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to carry out most follow-on repairs such as replacement windows. At the moment there is a shortage of glass and some other materials, as well as manufactured items such as City Modern Doors.

Are you still carrying out investment work?
 

As the Coronavirus crisis continues, we’re doing everything we can to provide essential services to our communities while safeguarding the welfare and well-being of our customers and staff.

We are following all the latest government guidance on tackling Coronavirus and as a result we are providing a restricted range of services with many of our staff now working from home.

This means work on some of our improvement projects have had to be put on hold or delayed while we work through these exceptional times.

Unfortunately, work that we were due to start will now be delayed. As soon as the situation eases we will be back in touch with you to let you know when the work can begin.

If work has already started on kitchens and bathrooms, our contractors will finish the work. All other projects that have already started will be put on hold.

Please don’t worry, we are going to make the area completely safe and will leave it tidy for you and your neighbours.

Again, as soon as the situation eases we will be back in touch with you to let you know when the work can begin.

Are you still letting homes?
 

Update: Letting services begin in phases

As government restrictions gradually ease, we are beginning to re-introduce our services in phases, where it is safe to do so.

We are now advertising a number of homes for groups of people who have the highest need for social housing.

If you are registered for MyHousing, this means you can now search for and note your interest in homes which:

  • have Livingwell services and are designed for older people;
  • have been specially adapted for people with disabilities;
  • are advertised for people who are currently overcrowded, or whose home is too big for their needs;
  • are advertised for people assessed as being at risk of becoming homeless.

If you are homeless, you should contact your local authority who will be able to provide you with assistance. Click homelessness advice for local authority contact details.

We expect to start getting back to normal letting soon. If you have a question, contact your housing officer.

Are you still carrying out gas safety checks?
 

Gas safety checks are continuing as normal, as we have a duty under law to service and inspect gas appliances every 12 months.

All health and safety guidelines will be in place during visits to customers’ homes.

We will be in touch to arrange a suitable day and time to carry out these visits.