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Coronavirus frequently asked questions

Are you offering rent breaks for those who are ill or self-isolating?

We are unable to offer rent breaks, but we will work with each customer on a case-by-case basis to agree an affordable repayment plan. We will provide advice, support, and guidance to you if you're having difficulty paying your rent.

To discuss your situation further, please email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.

I am struggling to pay my rent due to coronavirus, will I be evicted?

Eviction is always a last resort and only considered when arrears are increasing and there is no response to offers of support. The Government’s ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced in an emergency during lockdown, has now ended. If you are at risk of being evicted from your home, you must get in touch with us so we can work together to try and avoid action being taken.

If you are having trouble paying your rent or have rent arrears it’s important you contact us. We can work with you to arrange a payment plan and may accept lower levels of rent for a short period or make an agreement to pay arrears off at a later date. Get in touch by emailing us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or by calling us on 01772 666 444.

When you call, we are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer.

I am struggling to pay my loan because of Coronavirus, can you help me?

Yes, if you are concerned about the impact that coronavirus may have on your loan with us, or are experiencing financial difficulties due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, please let us know as soon as possible by calling us on 01772 666 122 or by emailing loans@placesforpeople.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

It is important for us to understand how your financial situation has been affected so we can work with you to find the best solution. We are still able to provide support, and we can offer a range of options which may help, including payment deferrals or reductions.

I am struggling to pay my equity loan or mortgage because of Coronavirus can you help me?

If you are concerned about the impact that coronavirus may have had on your loan with us, or are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, please let us know as soon as possible by calling us on 01772 666 100 or by emailing secured.loans@placesforpeople.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

It is important for us to understand how your financial situation has been affected so we can work with you to find the best solution. We are still able to provide support, and we can offer a range of options which may help, including payment deferrals or reductions or by agreeing an affordable repayment plan. Please be aware that this may not be the best option for your circumstances as any payment deferrals or reductions will result in your loan balance being higher than it normally would be and you will incur more interest as a result of this. The deferred payments will need to be repaid by way of increased monthly payments as soon as it is possible to reduce the interest being charged. The deferred or reduced payments will not adversely affect your credit score for the duration of your agreement.

Can you help me if I fall into arrears because of the situation with the coronavirus?

We are committed to help prevent our customers falling into debt and we will continue to provide advice, support and guidance to customers who may be experiencing difficulty in paying their rent.

If you are experiencing difficulties, you can email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444. Please have your tenancy reference number.

I have problems with paying my other bills and/or debts - what should I do?
Can I get help with Universal Credit/Housing Benefit claims and/or discretionary housing payment/hardship applications?

Yes, we will continue to provide support to customers who need some with Universal Credit/Housing Benefit claims and/or discretionary housing payment/hardship applications.

If you need help please email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444. We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.

To help you avoid longer waiting times please email us if you can.

I am unable to work because of the coronavirus, but I am not eligible to receive statutory sick pay. What should I do?

If you are not eligible for statutory sick pay, you could be entitled to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment Support Allowance.

For more information please visit:

understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance-detailed-guide

If you need help with your benefits claims, please email our Money Advice Team at moneyadvice@placesforpeople.co.uk or call us on 01772 666 446.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.

What should I do if I have lost my job, had hours reduced or been temporarily laid off?

If you have lost your job you should check with your employer what your severance package will be.

If you have had hours reduced or been temporarily laid off, you may qualify for assistance through the Government Job Retention Scheme. You may also be entitled to claim New Style Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit.

It is recommended to seek guidance before claiming Universal Credit to make sure this does not adversely affect any benefit entitlement you may currently receive.

Are you letting properties?

We are using the government guidance on safe working and have adapted our ways of working to make sure we keep you and our colleagues as safe as possible from the spread of coronavirus.

Our lettings team are moving people into new homes. If you have a current offer of accommodation with us, we will contact you to update you on your house move and to discuss how things will be a bit different to our normal house move process.

If you are applying for a home and have not yet been made an offer, we encourage you to look at our available homes and apply for any that meet your needs.

Can I still report a repair at this time?

Non-emergency repairs for customers living in one of our homes will begin restarting in spring 2021. To manage demand, this will be by area. We will text, email, or write to you to let you know when you can report a non-emergency repair.

How do I report an emergency repair?

If you do need to report an emergency repair, please call our Customer Service Centre on 01772 667 002.

We will be asking additional questions to make sure we safeguard you and our colleagues before arranging a repair.

Are you still carrying out gas safety and electrical checks on my property?

Yes, we will continue to carry out all gas servicing and electrical compliance checks in our properties. We can assure you that the safety of our customers and colleagues are a priority and we will contact you to ask you some coronavirus related questions prior to your appointment.

If you are isolating, we can delay our visit, although you must let us know as soon as we can visit again.

Can I amend my gas safety or electrical check appointment?

If you wish to amend your gas safety check appointment, please call 01772 666 250.

If you are isolating, we can delay our visit, although you must let us know as soon as we can visit again.

When will my routine repair be completed?

We will be rescheduling any appointments for routine repairs which have been made and will be contacting you to do this as soon as we are able to.

Non-emergency repairs for resident customers living in one of our Affordable Housing managed homes will begin restarting in spring 2021. To manage demand, this will by area. We will text, email, or write to you to let you know when you can report a non-emergency repair.

When I am asked additional questions when reporting a repair, what will you do with this information?

We may need to collect some additional information about coronavirus before we arrange a visit or repair with you.

This information will help us assess whether we need to put in place additional precautionary measures for our colleagues when they visit your home.

If we need a contractor to visit your home, we will need to tell them too, so that they can take similar additional measures.

We will treat the information you give us with the utmost care. We will keep it for a limited time and will use it for the purposes of safeguarding all our colleagues and customers.

Where can I go to get more information about the personal data I provide to you on coronavirus?
Can customers be assured that operatives are not carrying the virus into their homes while carrying out repairs?

Our priority is the health, wellbeing and safety of our customers and colleagues.

We are following the latest Government and NHS advice, and can assure you that we are doing all we can to help protect our customers and their homes as restrictions are lifted.

Our colleagues will wear a face covering while in your home and when moving through any communal areas such as corridors or lounges. Our teams have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and will wear what is appropriate for the task. They also have anti-bacterial wipes for the surfaces they need to touch.

We will ask you to stand a safe distance away from our colleagues where you can. All trades operatives will show you identification when they visit your home. Please check this and once you are satisfied, you can leave our contractor or colleague to carry out their work. Our colleagues can remove their face covering while socially distanced to help you check their identity or for easier communication such as lip reading. After completing the job, they will let you know you they have finished and are leaving, and if necessary, see themselves out.

We are making sure our colleagues self-isolate if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

If you are reporting a repair with our Customer Service Centre, we will ask additional questions to help protect against the spread of the virus.

By following these steps, we want to reassure you that there is a low risk of spreading coronavirus from a home visit.

Are you carrying out grounds maintenance work?

Yes, our teams are carrying out grounds maintenance work. To make sure we are following government advice and physical distancing guidelines, we have reviewed and changed the way we do things.

Our team have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and will wear what is appropriate for the task. Our colleagues will wear a face covering whilst moving through any communal areas such as corridors or lounges.

Our contractors have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and will wear what is appropriate for the task.

Will play areas be reopening?

We have assessed each of the play areas to understand if measures can be put in place to reduce risks of spreading coronavirus. This means that some areas, due to the type of use may not be safe to use until restrictions are fully lifted. We will keep this under review. Please check signs at play area locations for the full details on their availability.

I have received a letter which says I will be getting a new kitchen/bathroom, will this still happen?

Yes, we are working through a revised work programme and providing there are no further restrictions our programme for upgrades has will continue. We will write to you as soon as we have an agreed date and contractor. Due to rescheduling the date may be later in the year.

I have received a letter saying essential work needs to happen in my home?

We are able to work in customer's homes where work is needed and is essential. This includes our planned programmes of maintenance as well as other visits such stock condition surveying work. This is needed to check the condition of your home and communal areas.

Letters will give you details of this work, the arrangements and access needed. They will also give information about the action we will take to keep you and our colleagues safe.

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