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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the UK and as the government introduces ever more stringent measures to control the impact, our priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our people including our customers, colleagues, clients and contractors.

We would like to assure you that you will be still be able to contact us throughout this difficult time. You can contact us by phone as usual but please be aware we are experiencing an increase in calls to our property management teams so it may take longer than usual to speak with someone - we will answer your call as soon as possible. For maintenance reporting or straightforward queries we would recommend that, if you have access, you sign-up to our Customer Portal which is a simple way to access information on your tenancy, make one off payments or to report maintenance.

Taking into account the latest government and Public Health advice, there are three key areas where we want to ensure that you have the information you need both to contact us and to seek further advice if necessary.

Payment of Rent

We appreciate that this will be a difficult time for many people. If your employment or financial situation changes as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can register your concerns and provide guidance on help that may be available to you. You will no doubt be aware of the various assistance that the government is proposing for individuals affected by the pandemic. Further information can be found as follows:

Universal Credit

There is new Government support in place to help those affected by coronavirus. For the next three months there is no longer any requirement to attend an interview at a job centre to start a claim, and all applications will be dealt with online. Information can be found here.

Financial Support

You may not have previously claimed benefit or your circumstances may have changed. You can find out what financial support may be available to you on the entitled to free benefit calculator. To find out what you might be able to claim enter your details and you’ll receive an estimate of your entitlement to benefits, tax credits and universal credit.

If you do experience financial problems that could affect your payment of rent, it will be easier for us to provide advice and look for a solution if you contact as at the earliest opportunity. Please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as you can.

Reporting of repairs

Please continue to report repairs in the usual way. In light of Government advice and limited contractor availability we have taken the decision to prioritise urgent maintenance work. We consider this to be work that is required to stop imminent damage to the property (or adjoining properties), reduce the risk of harm to customers or the public, and to maintain key services such as power, heating, lighting and plumbing as far as is reasonably practicable. It is likely that in some instances the work instructed will be to stop the current challenge rather than being a permanent solution.

We would like to assure you that all repair items that are raised will still be recorded and responded to as soon as possible but we would ask for your patience as we manage the completion of the most urgent works. If this is the case, your Property Manager will ensure you are kept up to date as to expected timeframes.

If you have vulnerable people in your household, please make us aware at the time of reporting any urgent issues that might result in a visit to your home so we can plan accordingly.

Where a contractor visits your home, we have asked all contractors to:

· Ask you to wait in another room while the repair is taking place – always observing the government’s advice on social distancing.

· Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

· Wash their hands or use hand sanitiser upon arrival and when leaving the property.

· Wash down any surfaces with antibacterial products that they may have come into contact with when undertaking work.

Moving in and out

Government have advised as far as possible, for people to delay moving home while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus. If you are due to move, we will support you as far as we are able though this time.

We are aware that a number of businesses that support home moves – removal firms, inventory and inspection clerks particularly – will be severely limited in their movements and activities moving forward. If you are about to move home we would recommend that you check the latest position with any companies that you have made arrangements with directly and that you contact us as soon as possible to update us on your plans. Given the restrictions on travel and social contact, our partners that would normally provide check in and check out services as well as providing information for tenancy deposit administration will also be affected. We will try to complete the administrative tasks associated with all move-ins and outs as quickly as possible but it is likely that these processes will take longer than normal.

Across all these activities we will continue to operate our services and to maintain ‘business as usual’ as far as we are able and we will continue to follow the guidance given by the government and will continue to provide updates to you if the situation changes. We will do everything we can to provide you with the best service we can. Your patience during this difficult period is very much appreciated.

Kind regards

Helen Kings, Managing Director

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