Covid-19 Response - Frequently Asked Questions (updated 20 July 2020) | News

Telephone number

Telephone icon01223 315036

Covid-19 Response - Frequently Asked Questions (updated 20 July 2020)

We have included below the answers to the most frequently asked questions from our customers in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on our services.

We hope you find this document helpful, but of course, please contact us if you have a question or concern which is not answered here. You can call us on 01223 315036 or email us at info@hhs.org.uk

As new information becomes available, we will continue to update our news page on our website and this document.

 

Coming to the HHS office

Can I still come to the office to pay my rent or report a repair?

No, unfortunately not. Our office remains closed to customers although all of our team are working remotely and are available as usual 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 5pm on Friday. Please contact us by calling 01223 315036 or emailing info@hhs.org.uk

 

Services available

Will HHS employees still visit my home? 

We are now undertaking some appointments to deliver services we are unable to do remotely, such as repairing your home, completing property compliance works like annual gas safety checks, letting homes to those who need to move and some area visits, including those to tackle any serious anti-social behaviour.  As we start to do more routine repairs and let more homes we have produced a leaflet setting out what you need to do to prepare for the visit and what you can expect from us before, during and after the appointment.  This is to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Leaflet - Providing COVID-19 Secure Appointments


We continue review our approach regularly and follow Government guidance to work from home where possible.  We are now COVID-Secure which means we have safe working practices in place to undertake those services when we meet people and go into homes.

 

Rent

Do I still have to pay my rent? I have heard landlords can grant a ‘rent holiday’?

Your rent is still due as usual. Please continue to pay at the usual time. As our office is now closed, we are looking to find other ways for you to pay, if you have previously paid by cheque or by debit card at our office. There are a number of other ways you can pay so please contact us and we will agree with you which is best for you.

 

What happens if I can’t pay my rent?

If you are finding it hard to pay your rent, then please contact us. The earlier we can talk, understand your situation and offer advice and support, the better chance you have of managing your financial situation during this time.

We are able to provide advice on where to go for help and we can agree a payment plan with you. You may be entitled to additional benefits and we can help you get the right advice to maximise your income during this time.

We understand that these are very uncertain times and we will do all we can to help and support you through this pandemic. We will take your individual circumstances into account, but we cannot stop charging your rent.

The Government passed legislation which prevents any possession proceedings or evictions taking place currently but any rent arrears that accumulate during this time will remain payable and you are therefore encouraged to contact us straight away if you have any payment concerns.

 

Repairs

I understand you are now opening up your repairs service, what does this actually mean?

This means we are carrying out non-essential repairs again in your home and communal areas where it is safe to do so. This includes any deferred repairs where we have already taken the details from you plus those which you now need to tell us about.  We will look at each repair on a case by case basis and if we are unable to do it at the moment due to the risk of the infection spread, we will discuss this with you. Please bear with us, we have a backlog of repairs to work through and our contractors are gradually bringing their workforce back to pre-lockdown levels, so some repairs may take longer than our usual timescales.  

All of our employees and contractors will keep socially distanced from you, have gloves, hand sanitiser and masks for use when needed, any used PPE will be taken away and disposed of safely.

Please remember to keep rooms where employees or contractors will be working well ventilated and clean any areas that may have been touched, paying particular attention to door and window handles.

 

Home Safety Checks

I have a service booked (gas, electrical, fire safety) but I don’t want an engineer in my home (because I have been advised by the Government to shield / in case the operative has Coronavirus / because I am over 70 years of age/ because I am in a clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable group).  What should I do?

We continue to follow Government guidance, including that issued by our Regulator.  We still need access to your home to complete this service, but we are putting extra safeguards in place to protect you and our contractors. For this type of regulatory compliance / property safety work, you will be contacted ahead of the visit and asked some questions to ensure all risks have been taken into account.  We will do all we can to minimise the length of the visit and our Contractors will have all the necessary processes in place and Personal Protective Equipment needed, including regularly washing their hands and using hand sanitiser. They will wear gloves and clean all surfaces they touch before leaving your property.

We would ask you to remain in another room with the door closed and not enter the work area while the Maintenance Operative is in your home. If you are concerned about any aspect of this, please contact us and we can discuss individual measures we can put in place to reassure you.


Please see our leaflet on safely visiting homes Providing COVID-19 Secure Appointments

 

Coronavirus Symptoms

I, or a member of my household have suspected or confirmed Coronavirus. Will you still repair my home?

Only if it is absolutely essential repair and poses an immediate health and safety risk, greater than that of infection spread. It is essential you tell us in advance if you, or someone in your property has suspected or confirmed coronavirus, or if you or anyone in your household are displaying symptoms. Coronavirus symptoms include a high temperature, a continuous cough or anosmia (loss or change in your normal usual sense of smell or taste. This will help us plan what equipment is needed for our Contractors to use to minimise the risk to all involved. Each emergency is different, so our Contractors will identify what processes, clothing and equipment they need, on a case by case basis. If your repair is inside the property, we will ask you to isolate yourself from the area of repair for as long as possible before the repair takes place. We may ask you to undertake other measures, such as keeping your home well ventilated throughout the visit, but these will be discussed with you beforehand.

Please do not be offended if we ask you what may feel like a personal set of questions regarding how you are feeling or any specific diagnosis you may have had, this will help us to assess the situation and enable us to respond appropriately and according to your needs. Also, however close to your essential repair appointment you or a member of your household start to develop symptoms of Coronavirus, please contact us and we will make alternative arrangements.

 

Moving Home

Can I still terminate my tenancy? 

Yes, you are still able to terminate your tenancy if you wish. Please contact us as usual. We are operating our normal service for ending a tenancy although we may ask you to do specific things when leaving your property and returning your keys at the end of your tenancy. We will get in touch and agree what is needed.


Can I still view a property I have been allocated or successfully bid on?

Yes. As we begin to open up our lettings service we will where possible, undertake a “virtual viewing” of the property using digital technology. You may be able to physically visit the property if you do not have access to a digital device, but we will agree this with you beforehand.

We will ask you some questions about your health and the health of those who live with you. This is so we follow the Government guidance on social distancing and minimise contact, reducing the risk of spreading Coronavirus as far as reasonably possible for you and our people.

 

I am due to move into a Hundred Houses Society home soon. Will it still go ahead?

Yes. We are pleased that you are planning to move in to one of our properties soon and will be contacting you directly to discuss the next steps in detail. We will complete the majority of the paperwork for your new tenancy via email or post in advance of the letting and ensure that the property has been empty for at least 72hrs before you enter it.


Leaflet - Providing COVID-19 Secure Appointments

 

Can I still apply for permission to mutual exchange homes?

If you have already applied to us for permission to mutually exchange your home with another tenant, we will be in contact with you to discuss your individual circumstances, following the same guidelines as set out above.

All new applications for a mutual exchange are now being considered again as usual.

 

Anti-Social Behaviour

Will reports of anti-social behaviour still be investigated? 

We are still operating an anti-social behaviour service although where we can, we will do this remotely, by telephone and email contact. We are soon to start undertaking some area visits to investigate any reports of serious anti-social behaviour and will involve the Police for the majority of the issues, especially those which present an immediate risk.

 

Enforcing Social Distancing

My neighbour is encouraging lots of people into their home and regularly allows visitor to be very close to each other. I am worried. Can you do anything?

We appreciate that this scenario may be concerning, especially now as we all start to meet more people again. The latest Government guidance is suggesting those who have previously been asked to stay at home, can from 1st August 2020, start to go out, whilst socially distancing still. There are no longer restrictions preventing people from moving around outside of their property or in their garden for exercise and relaxation. Unless your neighbour is having a social gathering, which is causing anti-social behaviour and/or nuisance or puts people in immediate risk, there is little action that can be taken. The Government focus remains on keeping your distance if you go out ensuring you stay at least 1 metre apart while outside but preferably 2 metres where possible and to follow advice on regular hand washing and wearing a face covering on public transport and in shops from this week.

 

Complaints

Are you still dealing with complaints at this time?

We are working hard to ensure you receive a good service from us during this extremely challenging time. However, if you wish to make a complaint or you have an ongoing complaint underway, then we will of course respond and aim to resolve matters as quickly as possible.

 

___________________________________

 

It really helps us to help you if our records are up to date.  Please remember to update us if any of your contact details change or if your household makeup changes in anyway.  You can update us by calling 01223 315036 or emailing us at info@hhs.org.uk