Support to pay your rent during the coronavirus outbreak
We have received enquiries from customers who are worried about not being able to pay their rent in the current climate.
We’d like to reassure you that our rent and money advice team are here to provide help and advice regarding Universal Credit and Housing Benefit to anyone who is concerned about paying their rent.
Now that the rent free weeks are over and rent is being charged again we wanted you to know that we’re doing all we can to support you. We’re here to help when you need it, whether your work circumstances change, or you need help at a time when you’re unwell or having to self-isolate or shield.
If you are experiencing problems paying your rent, then please get in touch, there is a range of help available from our Income and Money Advice Teams. Our colleagues are trained to be able to help you, find solutions and put people first. We have already advised many customers with benefits advice, money advice and support schemes available.
If you usually pay your rent at a Paypoint or Post Office and you are having to stay at home, don’t worry we have many other ways that you can pay, including online or over the phone. If you cant pay by these methods we understand, let us know and we can arrange your payments when it is safe to do so.
If you are still struggling to pay following this advice, we can be flexible with your rent payments over the next few months, similar to Mortgage Holidays, where you can reduce or miss payments and catch up at a later date. Whether this is agreeing for you to miss a few weeks or pay less each week until you are able to pay more, the team can agree with you what will work best. Once you are able to pay again we will come to reasonable, affordable arrangements to repay whatever has been missed. Don’t worry, we wont charge interest on any amounts outstanding and we have committed to not take any enforcement action on rent arrears due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Once again, if you have any concerns regarding your finances please get in touch we are here to help and most importantly stay safe.
The Government has removed the waiting days for the payment of Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance, and support for housing costs is available through Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.
You can find Government advice for employees here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees
If you are self-isolating and unable to work, you'll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you're considered unfit for work and are usually entitled to it. It's worth checking your contract, as your employer might pay you more than SSP when you're sick. If you're not sick but have been told to self-isolate and can't work from home, you should still get your contractual sick pay on top of SSP.
If you're self-employed and have to take time off work and you don't get paid while you're off, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you're already claiming benefits, you might get more money. If you already get benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit, tell the office paying you that you can't work because you're sick. You might be entitled to more money while you're off work.
If you're not claiming any benefits you may be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit to top up your income.
If you’ve lost your job, or your wages have reduced, you will be able to claim either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance. Depending on your circumstances you could be better off applying for one rather than the other – this can be quite complicated and our Money Advice Team are here to advise you on this.
We’ve been asked about whether there will be a rent break, similar to the three-month mortgage break that the Government has announced. The mortgage break means that people won’t have to pay their mortgage for three-months. However, these months will be added onto the end of their mortgage, so there is no financial difference in the amount that they will pay. For renters there is support available for housing costs through Universal Credit and Housing Benefit if customers can’t afford to pay. We are supporting customers with advice and support to claim these benefits and we have committed to not take possession proceedings against anyone who can’t pay their rent due to the Coronavirus.
If you’re worried about your finances, please get in touch with us as soon as possible on 01782 635200. We’re here to help!