We have published some handy FAQs for our residents who may be experiencing lost or reduced income during the Coronavirus crisis. Please see below:
Q: I am worried about paying my rent because of the Coronavirus pandemic; what can I do?
Rosebery understands you may be anxious during this very unsettling period and we want to assure you that our Income Team are here to assist you in any way they can.
Within the Income Team we have:
- Tenancy Sustainment Officers who can provide advice about claiming benefits and
- Income Officers who can discuss arranging flexible payments.
Alternatively, you can seek assistance from Citizens Advice where you can access advice on claiming benefits and on many other topics including debt, employment and housing. Currently, they are unable to offer face-to-face appointments, but they can be contacted online.
Q: Do I need to continue paying my rent if my income has changed?
Paying your rent should continue to be a priority. If you are unable to pay some or all of your rent together with other bills, please contact us – we are here to help you.
Rent is the priority bill. You should first explore reducing your non-priority outgoings. You may be able to get help towards paying your rent through benefits.
If you are already receiving partial Housing Benefit support/ or receive a disability related benefit such as ESA or PIP – Housing Benefit should be applied for.
If you are of working age (not at state retirement age) and do not receive Housing Benefit support or a disability related benefit – Universal Credit should be applied for.
What are your circumstances?
- I have lost my job because of the Coronavirus crisis:
You can make a Universal Credit claim. This will include assistance with your rent.
The money paid to assist you with your rent will be paid directly to you by Universal Credit. You will need to make arrangements to pay all the money allocated for this purpose to Rosebery to avoid going in to debt on your rent account.
If you live in temporary accommodation, you will need to apply for Housing Benefit for support with your rent. You can apply for Universal Credit for support with your living costs.
If you are already in receipt of any disability related benefits, you are advised to make contact with us, so that we can support you in claiming the right benefits and to maximise your income.
- My hours of work have been reduced:
You may also be able to make a Universal Credit claim. Your entitlement to this will depend on your household’s income and your personal circumstances but we can help check your eligibility.
Any money paid to assist you with your rent will be paid directly to you. You will need to make arrangements to pay all the money allocated for this purpose to Rosebery rent arrears on your account.
- I have been furloughed by my employer:
The Government will pay 80% of the wages of employees (up to £2,500) who are unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This is dependent though on your employer accessing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and re-assigning your employment status to a furloughed worker.
If you are concerned that you will not be able to cover all of your rent with your income reduced to 80%, please contact the Income Team to discuss your options.
- I am employed but unable to attend due to being sick or self-isolating:
Your normal income will determine what support you are able to receive. Our Tenancy Sustainment Team will be able to advise you of your entitlement and how you can make a claim.
If you are in employment and eligible for statutory sick pay and have been notified that you have had contact with a person with coronavirus (COVID-19) and are self-isolating for 14 days you will be entitled to statutory sick pay.
- I am self-employed:
If your income has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic you may be eligible to receive a grant for 80% of your monthly profits (up to £2,500) through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The HMRC will contact you if you are eligible. Qualification will depend on your individual circumstances,
If you are eligible you will be able to claim a second and final taxable grant; the scheme will reopen for applications in August to claim the grant which will be worth 70% of your average monthly profits. This will be paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits.
You do not need to have claimed the first grant in order to be eligible for the second grant – for example, you may only have been adversely affected by coronavirus in the later phase.
If you are not entitled to a grant via the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme you may be entitled to other Government support.
- My circumstances have not changed:
You must continue to make your existing rent and service charge payments. If this includes any additional payments agreed as part of a repayment plan to cover rent arrears, you must continue to pay this too. Any non-payment could result in Rosebery pursuing legal action in the future to recover your rent arrears.
Q: Who else should I contact regarding my change of financial circumstances?
Residents also need to contact their Local Authority’s Benefit department. With no or reduced income, you could be eligible for Council Tax Support but this needs to be applied for in addition to Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
Q: Will I lose my home?
The Government’s advice has been clear; no-one renting their home who has lost income due to the Coronavirus pandemic will be forced out of their home. The same principles will be applied to home owners. However, it is important that residents follow our advice and maintain contact with us to avoid large arrears and to avoid potential action being taken in the future.
Q: I am a homeowner. Can I receive assistance?
Mortgage companies are offering a 3 month mortgage holiday. It is important that residents contact their mortgage lender to enquire about this if they are struggling to make repayments.
Q: I’m a shared owner, what assistance can I receive?
Most shared owners will pay both rent and a mortgage. Like other mortgage holders, shared owners who are struggling to meet their mortgage payments as a result of Covid-19 will be able to request a mortgage payment holiday from their lender.
Shared owners should continue to meet their financial commitments where possible. The Government has introduced a strong package of financial support, so where they can, shared owners should still pay the rent to their landlord and mortgage to their lender as normal. Shared owners who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord and mortgage provider at the earliest opportunity.
Q: Will Rosebery be offering a ‘rent holiday’?
As a landlord we are not required to do this. Rosebery is a social housing provider and has essential services it needs to provide e.g. Repairs & Health & Safety measures. It would be very difficult for these essential services to be delivered if ‘rent holidays’ were given.
Most tenants will be able to pay rent as normal and should continue to do so, as they will remain liable for the rent during this period.
Rosebery will support residents who make contact and advise they are struggling to make their payments.
Q: How can I view my rent statement?
You can view your rent statement through your My Rosebery account.
Q: I have arrears on my account, what do I do?
- If you are unable to make a payment, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss the problem and we will try and help you find a positive solution.
- We will make every effort to come to an affordable and realistic agreement with you to pay any outstanding arrears.
- We understand that things can be difficult at times and by talking to us you may be able to avoid things getting out of control. There may be benefits you could claim; other things you could do to increase your income or advice and support agencies you can speak to and we would be happy to talk these options through with you.
- Ignoring the situation will only make it worse and puts your home at risk. We cannot help if you do not talk to us!
Q: Can you provide help to those looking for employment or courses?
For many people, the Coronavirus crisis has led to them losing their job or seeing their hours reduced.
We work with the ETHOS Project which supports people to find work where they are unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week and looking for more. They provide guidance and support to help with your search for employment and includes help with:
- Writing CVs and covering letters.
- Searching and applying for jobs.
- Finding training courses.
- Interview techniques.
Call Epsom’s ETHOS advisor, Nanette Chandler, on 07904 908 871 or email.
Below are some links to other information you may find useful: