Coronavirus (COVID-19) rent advice
We know that the coronavirus pandemic has been a worrying time and we understand that many of you have been affected financially by the various measures the Government has put in place since March 2020. We're committed to ensuring that no one is evicted from their home as a direct result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
We’ve put together some information to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about keeping on top of your rent during the current restrictions.
If you would like to speak to us about your rent account or need further advice and support, including information on claiming benefits, then you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Income".
What do I need to do?
If your household income has been reduced as a direct result of coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend that you make a claim for benefits. This may include applying for Universal Credit, Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit if you are already receiving a ‘legacy’ benefit.
By claiming Universal Credit, you may receive a housing element to help towards paying all or part of your rent. If you are entitled to Universal Credit, you will be able to ask for an Advance Payment to give you access to funds straight away should you need it. The Advanced Payment is a loan and will need to be paid back, generally at a set rate from ongoing payments of Universal Credit.
The Government has put in place additional measures to ensure that claims are paid without delay. Some people who may not have been entitled to benefits before will now be able to make a claim. For more information, or to apply, please visit the Government website.
All we ask of you is that if you apply for a benefit and are successful in your application, that you pay your normal rent once the benefit starts to be paid. If a rent debt has built up during your wait for a benefit payment, we will come to an agreement for this to be repaid at an affordable rate.
If you would like to discuss payment options or arrangements, please email email@example.com or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Income".
What about my rent account?
Your rent will continue to be charged, but we are willing to work with you and support you through this difficult time. All we ask is that you work with us and keep in contact by telephone or email and let us know of any changes in your circumstances.
We're committed to a ‘no eviction’ approach in line with national guidelines, and therefore we will not take any legal action for unpaid rent on those affected by Government measures or the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) at this time.
I’m not sure what I'm entitled to. Can you help me?
There are many agencies and websites with excellent information. They are also able to offer help and support with any claims you are entitled to.
On 4 May 2021, the Government launched Breathing Space, a debt respite scheme to give people with problem debts the chance to get their finances back on track. Under the scheme, people will be given legal protections from their creditors for 60 days, with most interest and penalty charges frozen, and enforcement action halted. They will also receive professional debt advice to design a plan which helps to get their finances back on track. The 60-day relief period may be extended indefinitely for those with certain professionally diagnosed mental health conditions.
For more information about the help that may be available to you, please take a look at the following useful links:
If you would like more information or to speak with a member of the Housing Income team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Income".
I’m already under a payment agreement or court order for my rent. What do I do?
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 us using the details above.
We will assess your current agreement or court order to make sure this is still affordable for you during this time.
I usually pay my rent at the local shop / Post Office and I can’t go there now. What should I do?
We have a number of different methods that you can use to pay your rent during this time. Find out more.
I usually pay you by debit card over the phone. What should I do?
Payments can still be made over the phone with a debit or credit card, as usual. Our automated payment line - 0345 370 6070 - is available 24 hours a day.
Most of our staff are continuing to work from home to support social distancing. Please contact us as you normally would and we will be able to take a payment from you.
Further support and information
The Government has provided information and guidance for self-employed people and businesses faced with financial difficulties, as well as a dedicated Business Support Helpline offering additional advice on tax and benefits.
Universal Credit guidance for claimants who are self-isolating has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You will not be sanctioned if you do not attend your Job Centre appointments.
We will continue to update our website as the current restrictions are eased. If your circumstances change, please keep in touch with us so we can support you.