Housing Services and Coronavirus – an update for BHT tenants

As always our first priority is the safety and well-being of you our tenants, our staff and contractors. We are following Government advice in line with announcements from Public Health England and our Local Authority partners.

Changing our services to keep you safe

We are currently operating on the basis of following Government advice and ensuring the safety of staff, contractors and tenants.

Worried about paying your rent?

We know that some of you are worried about how you'll pay your rent because of the impact of coronavirus. We're here to help and make sure you feel secure in your home. If you're unwell or can't work because of coronavirus we want to reassure our customers that no one will lose their home as a result of this virus. We know you’ll do your best to pay your rent and we can offer assistance and guidance if you’re in financial difficulties. We can also give guidance on claiming benefits so please get in touch in the usual way.

Key changes:

  • We'll only be completing emergency repairs
  • We’re contacting vulnerable tenants to offer reassurance, advice and support where possible
  • We’re minimising face to face contact where we can, and our contact with you will be via telephone or email
  • We have temporarily suspended lettings and mutual exchanges

Recent announcements by the government mean we need to take further measures to help delay the spread of coronavirus and minimise the risk to you and the rest of the population.

Therefore we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel all but emergency repairs from now until further notice. Depending on the repair, we may only be able to make your home safe by putting temporary measures in place. In these circumstances, we’ll return and complete the full repair once the government’s advice changes and we’ll make sure that we won’t leave you without any essential services, particularly our vulnerable customers.

An emergency repair is something that needs to be fixed straight away as it poses a risk to your health, safety or security. This could be a gas leak, electrical fault, major damage to the structure of your home, a serious security problem such as a front door that cannot be locked, or the loss of essential services such as water or electricity.

We'll also be completing our annual gas services closer to the date that they’re due, rather than 10 weeks in advance. We’ll contact you again nearer the date that your gas service certificate expires to arrange to carry out the check. We’ve also taken the decision to minimise our electrical testing for the time being. Please be reassured that we’ve not made this decision lightly. If you are concerned that your boiler or the electrics in your home are unsafe please call us on 01323 340018.

When completing these repairs we’ve put measures in place to ensure your safety, and the safety of our staff. When arriving at your home, we’ll ask you a series of pre-screening questions to check if you or anyone in your home is self-isolating and/or has any of the coronavirus symptoms. We’ll wear personal protective equipment and bring cleaning materials and we’ll also ask you to keep out of the room or area where we’ll be working, to ensure the safety of you and our staff. If you’ve taken the decision to self-isolate at home, please let us know when reporting a repair or if you need to re-schedule an appointment.

If you have a routine repair booked in we’ll be in touch very soon to let you know this has been cancelled. We understand this may be disappointing to hear but we want to reassure you we’re taking these steps for your safety and your repair will be rescheduled in the coming months when safe for you and us to do so.

Following the recent updates this week from the government we’ll minimise face to face contact where we can and our contact with you will be via telephone, text and or email. Please bear with us as this will be a different service to the one you may be used to. All our other services are continuing and our support services are available if you need advice regarding changes in your income or employment status.

As you’ll be aware things are changing daily so we’ll continue to publish updates on our website and update you regularly by email to keep you fully informed over the coming days, weeks and months.

Help us stop the spread of Coronavirus

Please use the latest information on prevention and the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) which are available on the government website and from the NHS website.

As a matter of course from now until further notice if any of our staff are due to visit they will always check whether you are happy for them to come into your home. Where we can, we will contact you by phone rather than visiting so we can minimise any risks and help us provide the best service to you. Please take this opportunity to ensure we have your updated mobile phone details to aid communication.

If you are self-isolating (this means when you are staying at home to stop the risk of the coronavirus spreading):

If you are self-isolating it is really important that you let us know so we can plan accordingly for any potential work or support that may have been arranged. Please let us know if we are due to visit you before we enter your home by contacting us on 01323 340018 or [email protected] as soon as possible.