Here is an outline of the various steps we are taking as your landlord in response to the Coronavirus crisis. This is to ensure that we continue to provide you with the best possible service in these challenging times.
Communicating with us
Most of our staff are currently working from home as advised by the government, which means that from Friday 21st March we are stopping any face-to-face communication at head office and any non-essential home visits until further notice. We will however maintain contact as normal via email, phone and website.
As a result of this new way of working, there may be occasions where we will not be able to respond as quickly as we do at present, however, we will make every effort to get back to you as soon as possible.
You should be aware that we categorise our repairs as EMERGENCY, URGENT and NON-URGENT. Please visit our website. In the light of this crisis, we will continue to deal with emergency repairs within the 24 hour response time. However, for urgent repairs these will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the availability of staff and there is likely to be a delay. If your repair is listed as non-urgent then these will be put on hold until further notice.
You would be aware that the government has stated that anybody exhibiting the early symptoms such as a fever or cough should isolate themselves for between 7 to 14 days. This action will help protect others in your community particularly those that are elderly or have underlying health conditions. All of this information can be found on the government websites and already trailed on our facebook page and website.
If you are self-isolating and request a service, which may require a visit from our staff such as an emergency repair request, then we ask you please to be honest with our staff about your health condition when they contact you. This is just in case we need to put in place any special measures as necessary.
Also, if you are self-isolating and as a result you are facing hardship, then please feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll do what we can to assist you in these circumstances.
Residents in our specialist or sheltered schemes
For residents in our sheltered accommodation or specialist schemes, please talk to the staff about what measures have been put in place to support you and to keep you safe rather than contact our Head Office. Such measures will include limiting of access to communal areas such as the laundry.
In the meantime, why not join our Tuntum Tenants Group on facebook. The group has been created to help our tenants and residents share tips, news, ask questions, and help each other during the Coronavirus outbreak.
These are difficult times for us all which hopefully will soon be over. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.
Where to go to stay informed
Your rent and finances during the COVID-19 pandemic
We know that this is a worrying time and we understand that many of you will be affected financially by the measures the Government has put in place, but we’re committed to ensuring no one is evicted as a direct result of COVID-19. We’ve put together some FAQs about paying your rent, but if you need further advice and support, including helping you make claims for the benefits you’d be entitled to, get in touch with our Income team on firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your income officer on 01159166066 as soon as you can.
Q – What do I need to do?
A – If your household income has been reduced, we would recommend that you make a claim for benefits, to include the housing element for your rent. If you are entitled to Universal Credit, you will be able to request an advance payment to give you access to funds straight away. The Government has put in place additional measures to ensure that claims are paid without delay, and some people who may not have been entitled to benefits before, will now be able to make a claim.
All we ask is that you make a claim for the benefits you are entitled to, and pay to us your normal rent once your benefits are in payment. If you have had to wait for your benefits to be paid to you meaning arrears have built up on your account, we will come to an agreement for this to be repaid at an affordable rate, once things have settled down. Please speak to one of the Rents team who will be able to help you set up this repayment arrangement. You can contact them on email@example.com or 01159166066.
Q – What about my rent account?
A – We know that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we will continue to support you through it, all we ask is that you keep in touch. We are committed to a ‘no eviction’ approach in line with national guidelines, and therefore we will not take any action for unpaid rent during this time if you are affected by Government measures or the impacts of coronavirus.
Q – I’m not sure what I am entitled to. Can you help me?
A – We have income officers who can advise you on making a claim for benefits. Alternatively visit www.entitledto.co.uk and click on the online calculator tool to check if you’re eligible to make a claim for benefits during this time. You can contact our income officers on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01159166066
Q – I’ve heard that mortgage lenders are offering 3 month mortgage payment holidays. Can I have 3 months off from paying my rent?
A – Mortgage lenders are offering payment holidays for up to 3 months for people whose income has been affected by the coronavirus. This will need to be paid back to lenders, and interest is likely to be added. The Government has introduced additional support which means that you may now be entitled to claim for your rent to be ‘paid’ whilst your income is affected. Please visit www.entitledto.co.uk to check if you are eligible for help with paying your rent.
Q – I’m already under a payment agreement or court order for my rent. What do I do?
A – If your income has not been affected by the measures put in place, you will need to carry on paying as you normally do. If your income is affected, and you are now unable to meet these payments, please contact your income officer on email@example.com or 01159166066 to discuss your account. We will assess your current agreement or court order to make sure this is still affordable for you.
Q – I usually pay my rent at the local shop / Post Office and I can’t go there now. What should I do?
A – There are a number of different payment methods available to you.
- Use your AllPay card to make payment using the AllPay telephone line on 0844 557 8321 or you can pay your rent online
- Use your AllPay card to make payment by downloading the AllPay app for your smart phone
- Pay your rent by bank transfer using your online or telephone banking. Make sure you quote your tenancy number as your payment reference so we can allocate the payment to your rent account. Our bank details are as follows:
-Sort code: 30-80-12
-Account number: 11758368
- To set up a direct debit call 01159166066 where we can set this up over the phone for you
Q – I usually call your offices to pay my rent using my debit card. What should I do?
A – You can continue to call our offices on 01159166066 – Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm to make rent payments.
Further support and information
- HMRC have setup a helpline for people who are self-employed and businesses that are faced with financial difficulties. They will provide advice on your tax and benefits. Call them on 0300 456 3565
- Universal Credit guidance for claimants that are self-isolating has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses You will not be sanctioned if you do not attend your Job Centre appointments.
We will continue to update our website if anything changes over the coming weeks. We appreciate that situations are changing on a daily basis at the moment, so if your situation changes, please keep in touch with us so we can support you.
Other common Questions and Answers
Q – I am over 70 / have a pre-existing health condition. How does this affect me?
A – If you are 70 or over or with an existing health condition, the Government is recommending avoiding unnecessary social interaction for the time being. Please contact us if you need any help.
Q – How can I be sure that a member of staff or a contractor is not infected with Coronavirus if they visit my home?
A – We are ensuring that our staff and contractors have all of the latest information and guidance. Our employees and our contractors are following this guidance in the same way that everyone has been asked to and will take action to protect you as customers and themselves.
Q – Coronavirus – what it means for you and what you’re entitled to?
A – Visit the Money Advice Service website and access their guide. It will look at your rights to sick pay, what benefits you can claim if you’re self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you
Q – How do I manage my money during these times?
A – Visit the Money Advice Service website where they give you advice on the following:
- Things you can do right now
- Step 1 Do an emergency budget
- Step 2 Check your insurance policies
- Step 3 Use your savings
- Step 4 Talk to your creditors if you think you’re going to miss payments
- Problems paying your rent or mortgage
- If you think you might not be able to pay gas or electricity bills
- Help with water bills
- What to do if you’re getting behind on car finance payments
- If you are worried about debt
- If you think you might have to borrow money
- Other types of borrowing
- High cost credit – things to think about
- Avoid loan sharks
- If you might need to claim Universal Credit
- Travel plans and travel insurance
- Coronavirus scams
- If you’re worried about your pension
- If you’re worried about redundancy
How can we help each other during the coronavirus outbreak?
- Please only buy the groceries you need – so that shops have stocks available for others too.
- Phone people who are self-isolating – a friendly chat can really make someone’s day. We can phone you too, so if you are self-isolating let us know (0115 916 6066) and we will ring you for a chat.
- Check on your neighbours – knock and take 3 steps back from the door to avoid close contact or put a note through their door offering to help.
- Pick up groceries for people who are self-isolating – when you deliver them, knock and take 3 steps back from the door leaving items on the doorstep.
- Donate to your local foodbank – find a list of them here: asklion.co.uk/food
- Please take every precaution not to spread the virus – wash your hands, avoid close contact and if you have any symptoms ensure your self-isolate for 14 days.
Some criminals are using the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of vulnerable adults. Do not click into email links that look suspicious or give personal information to people that you don’t know. For information on how to stay safe, visit https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
Also remember to be vigilant over bogus doorstep callers who offer to help with errands during the coronavirus outbreak. Do not give personal or sensitive information to people that you don’t know.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
If you are feeling anxious or worried about how the coronavirus might affect you mind mental health charity have some useful advice on how you can plan and take care of your health & wellbeing during this difficult time.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire community support and volunteering hub
There are a number of local volunteer groups offering help if you are staying at home because of Coronavirus. To find what services are being offered in your area, click on the relevant tab below. Alternatively, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 0300 500 8080 between 8.30am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Important information about over 75 TV Licences
The BBC has decided that, because of coronavirus and the challenges to the UK, changes to over 75 licences won’t now happen until 1 August. This means that your current free licence will remain valid until then.
If you are receiving Pension Credit and you are ready to apply for your free licence now, you can still do this. But there is plenty of time so there is no hurry and please don’t feel you need to apply straightaway if you are worried about leaving your home.
If you have already applied for your new licence and sent us information about your Pension Credit, we are processing your application and we will be in touch with you before the new policy starts.
If you are not receiving Pension Credit, you don’t need to do anything just yet. We will write to you in plenty of time before the policy changes to let you know what you will need to do.
Check the full information on their website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/age?wt.mc_id=bbc_pr_o75_english
Gas and Electricity help from your suppliers
If you have a prepay meter contact your energy supplier and tell them that you are self-isolating and they will send you out 2 weeks’ worth of gas/electricity or if you have a smart meter they will top you up. Here are their details:
- British Gas states that they will be contacting their vulnerable pre-payment customers without a smart meter soon and putting in place processes to prioritise their needs. There are a range of options for Top Ups available including hardship funds and advice on payment arrangements. If you want to contact them, ring: 0333 202 9802.
- EDF is advising that they have a hardship fund and this will be used specifically for pre-payment customers who are struggling. They are also making available payment arrangement options. Please ring 03332005110 if you want to contact them.
- EON have extended their emergency credit levels for customers with pre-payment meters from £5 to £50.00. If you want to contact them please ring 0345 052 000.
- Npower is advising their customers to call them if they can’t top up on 0800 073 3000.
- Scottish Power has a ScottishPower Hardship Fund on the website and is advising customers to contact them on 0800 027 0072.
- SSE requests their customers to contact them on 03450707373.
Local authorities numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Nottingham County Council 0300 500 8080 between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
The Nottingham City Council golden number is 0115 915 555, 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday
Leicestershire (Hinckley and Barwell)
If you have any questions or concerns and wish to contact the council, please contact us online. You can also phone us on 01455 238141; we are currently experiencing very high call volumes, so if you are able to resolve your enquiry online that would help us to help people who are unable to use online services.
If you need help you can phone them on tel: 01629 535091. The lines are open on:
- Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
- Saturday 9am to 1pm
Volunteers, and those who need help can contact DerbyDirect on 01332 640000. The line will open between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. There’s also a dedicated email address that can be contacted; firstname.lastname@example.org