Coronavirus (COVID-19) rent advice
The past two years have been a worrying time for everyone, but we have been supporting our tenants and ensuring that no one has been 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, both throughout the Government's restrictions from March 2020 onwards, and as we return to a more normal way of life.
We understand that many people are also affected by the increasing cost of food, fuel and home energy. The Government has announced a one-off Council Tax rebate of £150 for all households in Bands A to D. Find out more about the Energy Bills Rebate.
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 email@example.com or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Rent".
What do I need to do?
If your household income has reduced recently, 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 entitled to the housing element of Universal Credit, you may be able to ask for an Advance Payment. This would give you access to funds straight away should you need it, but is a loan and will need to be paid back.
During the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the Government put in place additional measures to ensure that claims are paid without delay. Some people who were not entitled to benefits before may now be able to make a claim. For more information, and to apply, please visit the Government website.
If you apply for a benefit and are successful in your application, you should 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, you will need to come to an agreement with us for this to be repaid.
If you would like to discuss payment options or arrangements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Rent".
What about my rent account?
We are here to support you to pay your rent. We're currently committed to a ‘no rent arrears eviction’ approach for tenants who will engage with us and work towards reducing their arrears.
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 may be 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 that 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 email@example.com or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Rent".
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 has been affected and you are now unable to meet these payments, please contact us as soon as possible. (If you have a court order you would also need to contact the court and ask for a variation to your agreed payments.)
Further support and information
The Government provided information and guidance for self-employed people and businesses faced with financial difficulties during the coronavirus restrictions, 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.
If your circumstances change, please keep in touch with us so we can support you.