Coronavirus (COVID-19) rent advice

The pandemic was a worrying time for everyone, but we have been supporting our tenants to make sure that no one was 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, even though the Government's restrictions are no longer in place and we have returned to a more normal way of life.

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 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, or if you are losing income because you have COVID-19 and are unable to work, we recommend that you make a claim for benefits right away. 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.

For more information about Universal Credit, and to apply, 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. Please don’t worry - we have been helping many of our tenants to get back on track with their rent after falling into arrears for the first time.

If you would like to discuss payment options or arrangements, please email 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. 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 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 was affected by COVID-19 restrictions and you were unable to meet these payments, you should have contacted us as soon as possible. (If you have a court order you would have needed to contact the court and ask for a variation to your agreed payments.)

If you now find yourself unable to meet your agreed payments because of rising food and energy costs, please contact us immediately to discuss your situation. We will do everything we can to help and will make sure that you’re receiving any benefits or other payments you’re entitled to, as well as signposting you to other organisations who may be able to help.

Further support and information

What if I have problem debt?

In 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.

 Find out more about the Breathing Space scheme.

What if I'm self-employed or run a small business?

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. Email or call 01442 228000 and either ask for your Housing Officer by name or just say "Housing Rent".