The Tenancy Services team are still here for you during the coronavirus outbreak. We can help you with rent advice, ASB, Right to Buy and general tenancy management enquires.
Please do not visit the civic centre to see us, call us instead on 01623 463129 or email email@example.com.
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.
Specific advice regarding rents
We understand that in the coming weeks some people may experience financial problems due to changes in their working patterns or being on a reduced income. We will try to work with you to resolve any issues you have in the short term.
The council has made a commitment not to take any legal action for non-payment of rent and other related service charges during the COVID-19 period.
Our aim is to help and advise you as much as we possibly can through this difficult period.
You will however have an ongoing rent liability and it is important that you pay as much rent as you can to avoid falling into high levels of arrears. The more you can pay now the less you will have to pay back later.
If you normally pay your rent at the post office or through some pay point outlet, you can change your method of payment to direct debit by simply calling 01623 463358.
If you have reduced or no income, you may be able to claim universal credit. 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.
For information on rent and rent arrears call 01623 463356.
The Housing Department also has its own Financial Inclusion Officers who can advice you on claiming welfare benefits: contact Maria Griffin on 07976 405047 or Michelle Males on 07956 539743.
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.
For more information, please read the Government's press release (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. You 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.
Find out more here on the Gov website (opens in new window).
For support with housing repairs, please visit our report a repair page.
Suspension of legal and enforcement action
We have suspended legal and enforcement action to help residents and businesses deal with the fallout from coronavirus.
No legal summonses will be issued by the council for a four month period, which will be reviewed in line with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, there will be no new action or contact by enforcement agents.
The measures will apply to council tax, business rates, council housing rent and all other debts to the local authority. It is very important that anyone having difficulty paying money owed as a result of COVID-19 talks to the council.
Updated 3 April 2020
Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this information is subject to change and we advise that you check our website for regular updates.