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Have you tried our Frequently Asked Questions? See www.sarh.co.uk/faq

Coronavirus FAQs for leaseholders and shared owners

We are currently concentrating our efforts where they are needed most. This means we’ll be focusing on essential services, like emergency repairs, offering advice about rent and service charges and where you can access help if you are experiencing financial difficulties.

Within this dedicated coronavirus FAQ area, you can find all the latest answers to your queries and questions about your tenancy, rent and service charges.

My tenancy

How can I contact you to discuss my rent and service charges?

You can call our customer service centre on 0800 111 4554 who can offer you help and advice and refer you to your dedicated officer.

Will I lose my home, if I cannot pay my rent as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus?

In order to continue to provide our services and to maintain your homes, we must still collect rent, but no customer will be evicted for being unable to pay their rent because of the impact of coronavirus. You will, however, still receive standard rent arrears reminders.
We will work with our customers to find affordable solutions in order to help people through this difficult period, so if you’re concerned please call our customer service centre on 0800 111 4554.
Our advisors can refer you to our income or money advice teams for further help and support.
Our aim is always to do everything possible to ensure our customers can sustain their tenancies and remain in their homes

If I am classed as being on unpaid leave how will this affect my working tax credits?

Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people and you can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit in very limited circumstances.
If you are already in receipt of Working Tax Credit, we advise that you contact the Tax Credit office as soon as possible to discuss any changes in your income which may affect the amount of tax credit you receive. If you are not already in receipt of Tax Credit you may be able to access financial support through Universal Credit or other benefits.
You can find more details on the government website here.

What should I do if my work closes or I need to self-isolate and can’t afford to pay my rent?

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay for employees and to how Universal Credit can support people who are self-employed.
If you are concerned about your rent payments due to changes in your income, we advise that you look into any financial support that may be available to you as soon as possible.
Further details can be found on the Government website here.
Alternatively, there are several other agencies who can offer advice including your local Citizens Advice.

How can I contact you?

You can call our customer service centre on 0800 111 4554 who can offer you help and advice and refer you to your dedicated officer.

I have a mortgage and I am struggling to keep up with payments – what do I do?

Recent government advice suggests that the mortgage holiday due to cease on 31 October will now continue and that new applications can also be made to mortgage providers. You should contact your mortgage company directly who will be able to offer advice and assistance with rental and mortgage payments at this time.

What can I do if my neighbour is not following government advice on social gatherings?

If you are concerned that your neighbour is hosting a large social gathering, we would recommend that you report it to the police on 101 because they have the powers to take any necessary immediate action. Please also let us know by emailing housing@sarh.co.uk so that we can determine whether there is potential nuisance or anti-social behaviour that we need to monitor and manage.

We are working in partnership with the local Police to help customers understand government guidelines on the importance of social distancing.

Where can I get benefit advice?

If you are in receipt of benefits or beginning a new claim, you can find out how support has changed for you here.

This government web page is regularly updated with the arrangements the being made to support people.

Can I get any help with my energy bills?

If you’re worried about your gas and electricity bills, please contact your provider to discuss your concerns.
The government has launched an emergency package of measures with energy suppliers – find out more on the gov.uk website and Ofgem’s website.

Can I get council tax support?

If you’re worried about paying your council tax, please visit Stafford Borough Council‘s website to find out what support is available

Repairs

Are repairs still being completed?

Our emergency repairs service is operating as normal. To report an emergency repair, please call 0800 111 4554. 

Due to the impact of Covid-19, our response time to nonemergency repairs may take longer than usual. You can report non-emergency repairs online here.

What happens if I need an emergency repair and someone in my household is self-isolating or has coronavirus?

If we are responsible under the terms of your tenancy agreement or lease to complete repairs, we will attend your home to make it safe or carry out an emergency repair. All of our operatives will follow a set procedure before entering your home.
Please follow their instructions closely for your own safety and that of our operatives.

What should I do if I want to reschedule an appointment?

Please telephone customer services to rearrange your appointment as quickly as possible.

How can I report non-urgent, routine repairs?

Non-urgent, routine repairs can be reported online 24/7 here.

At present, we are unable to give specific timescales for routine repairs to be completed.

What is classed as an emergency repair and how do I report it?

An emergency repair is a problem that represents an immediate risk to safety, security or health.  You can call our customer services team on 0800 111 4554 to report emergency repairs. 

Do I have to let you in to undertake a repair?

If you report a repair and we confirm that our repair operative is attending, you must let them in to carry out the work. We will work with you to arrange when and how the work can be carried out.

If your repair is an emergency, you must let us in for your own safety.

If it is not an emergency and you cannot make the appointment, please rearrange by contacting customer services.

How do I know it’s safe to let your repair operative into my home?

If we do need to visit, we have set procedures to ensure that all our repair operatives are working in line with current government guidelines.
If you request a repair or other service requiring a visit from our staff, you will be asked some brief questions about your health.
We will ask you remain at least two metres away from our workers at all times and ask you to stay in another room, with the door closed. If you are unable to follow these requests, our operatives have been instructed to immediately leave your home to ensure they continue to keep themselves safe.
When the job has been completed, you will be advised to wipe down the immediate area that our operative has worked in.
By working together, we can help reduce the spread of infection.

Help us keep you safe - essential safety checks

Will you be carrying out gas safety checks?

For shared owners and leaseholder, as per your lease you are responsible for ensuring this essential safety check is undertaken.

Will you still be carrying out other safety checks?

We are continuing to undertake communal fire door assessments and communal area block inspections.  If you live in a block it’s really important that you continue to keep the communal areas clear.

A small number of other essential safety checks will also go ahead but only if it’s safe to do so.

For shared owners and leaseholders, as per your lease you are responsible for ensuring that electrical testing within your home is carried out.

Do I have to let you in to undertake a safety check?

Yes. If we request access for safety checks you must let us in to carry out this vitally important work to help us keep you and your family safe. The government and Health and Safety Executive have informed landlords that they must continue to fulfil their statutory and legal obligations, including safety checks.

If you or anyone in your household has coronavirus, are self-isolating or shielding you must tell us so your appointment can be rescheduled for after the isolation period has ended.

What measures are in place in the current circumstances?

Please be assured that the health and wellbeing of our customers and our operatives is of the utmost importance to us during this difficult time and all operatives are working in line with government guidance on how they should enter and work at a customer’s home.

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