Officers from the Private Sector Housing team are still available for advice and guidance during this time. Many council officers are working on initiatives related to COVID-19 and working to government guidance on social distancing, so our response times may be a little longer than normal. We ask that you make only urgent enquiries at the moment.
The Government have announced a range of measures to protect tenants who are struggling to pay rent during this period due to coronavirus, the details of which are still to be confirmed.
If you suddenly find yourself in a position where you no longer can afford to pay your rent you will need to apply for Universal Credit which may help to cover any rental payments that you will still need to make. Full advice on how to claim and other useful information is available at on the Understand Universal Credit website (opens in new window).
If you already claim Universal Credit and have any queries about your payment, please make these through your online work journal. Increased numbers of staff have been redeployed into this area of work by the DWP to prioritise your queries. If you call the DWP call centre, your query may take longer to resolve due to the volume of calls being received.
The Government have announced that local housing allowance rates (opens in new window) will be increased as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, further details will be provided when we know more.
Discretionary Housing Payments
It is possible that the Universal Credit payment may not be sufficient to cover the whole of your rent. Once your Universal Credit application has been processed and you receive payment, you may also be eligible to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments.
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can provide extra money when you need extra help to meet your housing costs.
Applications are made to the Housing Benefits team at the council who will look at your circumstances to see whether you are eligible for a DHP. The Housing Benefits team will also decide how much you will be paid and for how long you will receive the payment.
To apply for Discretionary Housing Payments please visit our Discretionary Housing Payments page.
Advice for families receiving free school meals
Low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support, even if they are no longer attending school due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice.
Advice available in other languages
At this time, we understand that some tenants may not have received a lot of advice/communication in their own language and we have therefore provided some coronavirus (COVID-19) advice in a variety of languages:
- Lithuanian coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
- Polish coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
- Romanian coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
- Romanian coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance poster
- Slovak coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
Further information is available on the Government's stay at home guidance page (opens in new window).
Extra government support to help top up your energy supplies
Emergency measures have been put in place to help vulnerable people at this time with their energy supply.
If you have a pre-payment meter and need to add credit but unable to leave your home due to social distancing or self-isolation speak to your supplier. This could include nominating a third party to top up your credit, have a discretionary fund added to your credit, or be sent a pre-loaded top up card.
You can also talk to your energy supplier about your bill payments and how to repay debts. Disconnection has been suspended at this time and companies are advised to not chase debt.
Ofgem recommends consumers leave the meter box unlocked if they need someone else to top up the meter. Smart meter customers should be able to top-up remotely, such as by phone, mobile application or online.