Coronavirus customer FAQs

Government guidance has recently changed. However, Housing Plus group will be keeping Covid secure working practices in place. We believe this the safest decision for our customers, staff and communities. In addition, this enables us to continue providing services including vital repairs work.

Within this dedicated coronavirus FAQ area you can find all the latest answers to your queries and questions about your home, rent and tenancy.

 

My Repairs

Are repairs still being completed?

Our emergency repairs service is operating as normal. To report an emergency repair, please call 0800 048 8955.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, our response time to non-emergency repairs may be longer than usual. You can report non-emergency repairs online here.

What happens if I need an emergency repair and someone in my household is self-isolating or has coronavirus?

We will still need to attend your home to make it safe or to carry out the emergency repair. All of our operatives will follow a set procedure before entering your home.

Please follow their instructions closely for your own safety and that of our operatives. You and your family will need to stay in another room, with the door closed, while our operative undertakes the repair.

What should I do if I want to reschedule an appointment?

Please telephone customer services to rearrange your appointment as quickly as possible.

How can I report non-urgent, routine repairs?

Non-urgent, routine repairs can be reported online 24/7 here.

At present, we are unable to give specific timescales for routine repairs to be completed.

What is classed as an emergency repair and how do I report it?

An emergency repair is a problem that represents an immediate risk to safety, security or health. You can call our customer services team on 0800 048 8955 to report emergency repairs.

Do I have to let you in to undertake a repair?

If you report a repair and we confirm that our repair operative is attending, you must let them in to carry out the work. We will work with you to arrange when and how the work can be carried out.

If your repair is an emergency, you must let us in for your own safety.

If it is not an emergency and you cannot make the appointment, please rearrange by contacting the customer services team.

How do I know it’s safe to let your repair operative into my home?

If we do need to visit your home, we have set procedures to ensure that all our repair operatives are working in line with controls adopted by Homes Plus that go beyond the current government guidelines.

We will contact you before our operative visits so that you are aware of the following procedure.

Before we enter your home, you and anyone in your household will be asked:

  • some brief health questions relating to COVID-19
  • to move to and stay in another room, with the door closed, for the duration of the visit by the operative

If you are unable to follow these requests, our operatives have been instructed to immediately leave your home to ensure they keep everyone safe.

Operatives wear disposable gloves and have sanitiser and vehicle mounted wash facilities.

Where social distancing of 2m cannot be maintained by operatives working with each other, they wear:

  • Disposable gloves
  • FFP2 or FFP3 Respiratory Protective Equipment and face screen or goggles.

When accessing sheltered/extra care facilities and moving within any communal area, operatives wear Respiratory Protective Equipment.

When the job has been completed, you will be advised to wipe down the immediate area that our operative has worked in.

My rent

How can I contact you to discuss my rent?

You can call our customer services team on 0800 048 8955 and they can offer you help and advice and refer you to our income or employment and money advice teams, if appropriate.

Will I lose my home if I cannot pay my rent as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus?

In order to continue to provide our services and to maintain your homes, we must still collect rent. No customer will be evicted for being unable to pay their rent because of the impact of coronavirus. You will, however, still receive standard rent arrears reminders.

We will work with our customers to find affordable solutions in order to help people through this difficult period, so if you’re concerned please contact our customer services team on 0800 048 8955. Our advisors can refer you to our income or employment and money advice teams for further help and support.

Our aim is always to do everything possible to ensure our customers can sustain their tenancies and remain in their homes.

What should I do if my work closes or I need to self-isolate and can’t afford to pay my rent?

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, government support is available. Further details can be found on the government website here.

If you are concerned about your rent payments due to changes in your income, we advise that you look into any financial support that may be available to you as soon as possible.

You can contact us for practical advice on claiming the relevant benefits on 0800 048 8955 or using our contact form.

Alternatively, there are a number of other agencies who are able to offer advice, including your local Citizens Advice.

My finances

If I am classed as being on unpaid leave how will this affect my Working Tax Credit?

Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people and you can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit in very limited circumstances.

If you are already in receipt of Working Tax Credit, we advise that you contact the Tax Credit office as soon as possible to discuss any changes in your income which may affect the amount of Tax Credit you receive. If you are not already in receipt of Tax Credit you may be able to access financial support through Universal Credit or other benefits.

You can find more details on the government website here.

Where can I get benefit advice?

If you are in receipt of benefits or beginning a new claim, you can find out how support has changed for you here.

This government web page is regularly updated with the arrangements being made to support people.

Can I get any help with my energy bills?

If you’re worried about your gas and electricity bills, please contact your provider to discuss your concerns.

The government has launched an emergency package of measures with energy suppliers – find out more on the gov.uk and Ofgem’s websites.

Can I get Council Tax support?

If you’re worried about paying your council tax, please visit your local council’s website to find out what support is available.

My home

I am due to sign a new tenancy – will this still go ahead?

Yes. If you have been offered a new property, we will contact you to discuss how you can safely view and sign-up for it.
The health and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues is of the utmost importance to us during this difficult time. All our staff are working in line with government advice to help keep you safe. You can find out more in our signing up for a new home guidance leaflet.

I have applied to exchange my home – will this still go ahead?

Once your application has been reviewed, we will get in touch with you to let you know if it has been accepted.

If successful, our officer will talk you through the process and explain how your application will progress.

The health and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues is of the utmost importance to us during this difficult time. All our staff are working in line with government advice to help keep you safe. You can find out more in our guide to property inspections leaflet.

Can I apply for a transfer and if I have already applied will it proceed?

Yes – you are now able to apply for a transfer, provided transfer conditions are met.

Strict guidelines are in place to maintain social distancing during the inspection visit to ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff. You will be provided with written safety guidance prior to our visit.

While we have begun transfer inspections to allow customers onto the waiting list, we are still managing a ‘priority’ based approach to ensure that those customers with a clear need to move are given priority. This is considered on a case by case basis.

How can I contact my neighbourhood officer?

You can call our customer services team on 0800 048 8955 who can offer you help and advice and refer you to your local neighbourhood officer.

Help us keep you safe – essential safety checks

Will you still be carrying out safety checks?

In accordance with government and Health and Safety Executive rules, our vital safety and compliance checks are unaffected by COVID. This means we will – and will continue to – carry out:

  • Gas safety checks
  • Electrical testing
  • Communal fire door and fire risk assessments

Do I have to let you in to undertake a safety check?

Yes. If we request access for safety checks you must let us in to carry out this vitally important work to help us keep you and your family safe.

This is in line with our statutory and legal obligations.

What if I am self-isolating?

If you or anyone in your household has coronavirus, are self-isolating or shielding you must tell us immediately, so your appointment can be rescheduled for after the isolation period has ended.

To ensure that we do not contravene safety regulations, we must continue to send standard letters to remind you that your safety check is due.

What measures are in place in the current circumstances?

Please be assured that the health and wellbeing of our customers and our operatives is of the utmost importance to us during this difficult time and all operatives are working in line with government guidance on how they should enter and work at a customer’s home.

My retirement living home

Can I still use the communal room at my retirement living scheme?

Yes, residents can currently use communal rooms in a group of up to six people.

More than one group of residents are permitted to use the lounges at the same time, as long as there are no more than six people in each group.

It is important that separate groups stay at least 2 metres apart.

It is advisable to use a mask when you are in shared spaces such as corridors and lounges.

I cannot get out to get essential food and medical supplies – can I ask someone to do it for me?

Deliveries of essential food and medical supplies can continue to be made to schemes.

If you are expecting a delivery, please make sure you are in to receive it or have made appropriate arrangements with a neighbour. It is not safe to leave deliveries in corridors.

Where the scheme has staff on duty 24 hours a day we may be able to receive goods on your behalf but please confirm this with the staff on site.

Will you continue to clean retirement living schemes and communal areas?

Yes, cleaning will continue with a focus on sanitation and the cleaning of hard/touch surfaces as opposed to normal cleaning activities.

Is my paid carer still allowed to visit my home to support me?

Yes, with appropriate risk assessment, controls and PPE.

Will carers still be able to provide care to people who are self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating, we will still provide essential care services, but our carers will use more appropriate protective clothing and will adopt rigorous measures for cleaning and the disposal of waste.

Our carers can only enter your home if there are no visitors present. Unfortunately, should your carer have to leave because you have visitors, they may not be able to return until your next scheduled visit.

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