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Coronavirus: Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

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Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis.  newforest.gov.uk/artic.../19411/COVID-19-service-update-emailsOpens new window 


Thursday 28 May 2020:  Rent payment plans

Please continue to pay your rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed. If you are experiencing financial difficulties contact rents@nfdc.gov.uk (or call 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email) and talk to your Tenancy Account Officer about a plan for your rent account. We have been able to work with many tenants to create a sustainable plan to maintain their rent account. If you have not felt able to contact the team then please be assured that it is our aim to work with you, and please get in touch.


Tuesday 19 May: Letter from the Minister of Housing

This letter from the Minister of Housing sets out the measures that are in place to support social housing residents during the next phase towards reopening society. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-to-social-housing-residents


Monday 18 May: Changes to our Housing Services
Our Housing Services continues to provide key services to our tenants who require housing related assistance. Having reviewed the latest guidance from government relating to Housing, we have made some changes to our services including resuming routine repair and maintenance programmes, housing allocations and tenancy sign ups, following appropriate safety measures. Please see the detailed information which has been updated below.

Please note - no work will be carried out in a household which is isolating,  because one or more family members has symptoms or where a household individual has been advised to shield, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.

As part of their personal protective equipment (PPE), all our off- site staff have disposable gloves and hand sanitiser. Face coverings do not form part of our PPE. Wearing a face covering is optional and not required by law, within the workplace.

For more information about our housing service please see http://newforest.gov.uk/housing

 

Repairs and housing maintenance

Routine repairs and capital work programmes (kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs etc.) have now resumed alongside emergency and essential repairs.  We will carry out work where it is safe to do so and in agreement with tenants.  Our staff and contractors will be following social distancing guidance when visiting tenants' homes and will continue observing good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

We are restarting work on existing cases of disabled adaptations in private homes, where it is safe to do so.

Housing allocation and housing register

We are now able to carry out property allocations and tenancy sign ups, as well as essential moves and moves on from temporary accommodation. Where possible, tenancy sign ups will be carried out digitally. Where this is not possible, measures are in place to ensure social distancing guidance is adhered to with the observance of good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

To apply to the housing register click here https://www.newforesthomesearch.uk/choice/login.aspx#divRegister to apply online and upload your proof documents. To contact the team email housing.options@nfdc.gov.uk

Homelessness

We are continuing to provide advice and assistance to households facing homelessness.

If you are about to become homeless because you are losing your home or you are at risk of homelessness because you have been asked to leave your accommodation complete this form: Homelessness form . If you are homeless today, please submit the online form and call the team on 023 8028 5234

Paying your rent

Please continue to pay rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed. If you are concerned about making rent payments due to loss of earnings or illness please contact the rents team rents@nfdc.gov.uk (or call 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.) who will be happy to guide you through applying for benefits and payment plans. We have been able to work with many tenants to create a sustainable plan to maintain their rent account. If you have not felt able to contact the team then please be assured that it is our aim to work with you, and please get in touch.

Tenancy Management

We continue to assist with tenancy related matters, such as ASB and neighbour disputes via the Housing Support Hub. With current social restrictions in place this has been a busy time for the team, and we will continue to work with all parties to assist and resolve matters, where we can. Social restrictions have impacted us all in many ways and we would urge all residents and neighbours to demonstrate awareness, tolerance and understanding at this difficult time.

Mutual exchange

We will be accepting and processing applications for mutual exchanges from Tuesday 26 May 2020. Initially this will only be applications for exchanges between NFDC to NFDC properties. Further updates will be provided shortly on properties provided by other registered social landlords as they resume their normal service delivery.

Right to buy

We are currently reviewing how best we can manage the application process to ensure our tenants are able to take up their Right to Buy within a reasonable timescale, while acting in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.

Please contact the team at righttobuy@nfdc.gov.uk or more information can be found at http://www.newforest.gov.uk/righttobuy

Gas safety inspections

Landlords still have a duty to carry out annual gas safety inspections on private rented properties, whilst observing social distancing guidance. Advice for:

Tenants, if your annual inspection is due, please allow access for this to happen. If you are self-isolating, please make your landlord aware of this, so that they can make appropriate arrangements for the inspection to be carried out at a suitable time once you have stopped self-isolation.  See latest government advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Council tenants - please contact our gas team on (023) 8028 5040
All other tenants please contact your own landlord

Landlords, you are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. For further information please follow the latest advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Housing Standards visits

Inspections of private properties can now take place, in line with safe systems of work and government guidelines.

Updated: 28 May 2020
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