How our services are impacted & advice on emergency repairs Coronavirus: information for residents

Coronavirus

Information and advice for residents

Updated 30 July 2020

Your safety is our top priority and we are making sure we are following the most up-to-date advice from the Government and the NHS to ensure our residents, staff and contractors remain as safe as possible.

On this page you can find out the effect that COVID-19/coronavirus is having on our ability to provide services as well as answers to your most commonly asked questions.

Latest advice from the NHS

Latest advice from the Government

Effect on our services

We are aiming to maintain as many services as normal. However, we are following government advice on the need to maintain a physical distance and most of our employees are still working from home. As a result, we have had to make a number of changes to the services we can provide. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these difficult circumstances.

  • Closure of our call centre, the Hastoe Hub: Our call centre which is based in London is currently closed. If you want to contact us you will need to do this via the resident portal MyHastoe or via email at customerservices@hastoe.com.
  • We are only able to respond to emergency repairs: If you want to report an emergency repair you should do this via the resident portal MyHastoe. Emergency repairs are:

- Total loss of heating or hot water
- Uncontainable leaks
- Gas leak, smell of gas, CO detector soundin
- Electrical fault, sparking or loss of power
- Burst water pipe

  • Our staff and contractors are only making essential home visits. If you have contacted us, our housing staff will contact you by phone or email. Please make sure we have your correct details. You can change them yourself by logging into your account at MyHastoe. If you haven’t already registered, it’s easy to do. Just follow the instructions here.

  • You need to tell us if you are self-isolating: If it’s an emergency and our staff or contractors do need to visit your home, you need to tell us if you or anyone else in your home is self-isolating. We can then make the necessary arrangements.

Find out what to do in an emergency

Electricity failure, gas or water leak

Support if you have concerns about paying your bills

Money advice and financial support

FAQs

Our employees and contractors are following government guidelines in relation to the provision of services and working arrangements. This is continuing to impact on our ability to deliver some of our services. However, once we have cleared the backlog of work we hope to return to a near-normal service from September.

We will keep this page updated on a regular basis to ensure you are provided with up-to-date information.

  • Contacting us

    How do I contact Hastoe?

    Most of our employees are now working from home. As a result, we have had to close our call centre, the Hastoe Hub. If you need to contact us please do this via the resident portal MyHastoe or via email at customerservices@hastoe.com

    If you’re not already registered on MyHastoe, we encourage you to take a look. The portal makes it easy for you to carry out a wide range of activities online at a time that suits you. You can manage your tenancy, track repairs, make a payment and even apply to keep a pet. It’s totally secure, and can be viewed on your phone, tablet or computer.

    Please note, for the time being we will only be making home visits to carry out emergency repairs.

    What if I am having problems registering online?

    Most people should find registration straight forward. All you need is your email address, date of birth and tenancy reference number. If you’re having difficulty, please email customerservices@hastoe.com with your name, address and contact telephone number and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

    What if I don’t have online access?

    We are still running a very limited phone service and ask that you only use this if you can’t access our services online. You should expect long waiting times.

  • Self-isolation

    Do I need to tell you if I'm self-isolating or living with someone who is self-isolating?

    No. You only need to tell us if we are due to visit your home.

    What if I have an emergency and I'm self-isolating, will you carry out a repair?

    Yes, but if it’s an emergency and our staff or contractors need to visit your home, you need to tell us if you or anyone else in your home is ill or is self-isolating. We can then make the necessary arrangements.​

    What should I do with my rubbish if I am self-isolating?

    If you or anyone you live with is self-isolating, then you should put all personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths into a disposable rubbish bag. This bag should then be placed into a second bag, tied securely and kept separately from other waste in the room where you are self-isolating. Keep it to one side for at least 72 hours before putting the bag into your usual external household waste bin or in the common bin area if you live in a flat.

  • Rent and service charge payments

    Do I still need to pay my rent?

    Yes, the rent is still due. However, if you are experiencing difficulties making payments you should contact your Area Housing Manager via MyHastoe, phone or email, so we can help.

    What if I can’t afford to pay my rent or can only afford to pay part of it?

    If you can only afford to pay part of your rent because of a drop in income then pay as much as you can afford. We will not take any action for non-payment during this difficult time, but please contact your Area Housing Manager to let them know your situation as they may be able to help you. You will need to pay the rent due but you can do that at a later stage.

    I’m a shared owner. What if I can’t afford to pay both my rent and my mortgage?

    You can apply for a mortgage payment holiday from your lender. Money lenders have agreed to offer a payment holiday of up to 3 months.

    How do I pay my rent?

    We are not currently taking payments over the phone as we have fewer staff available. All rent payments will need to be done online via MyHastoe or you can either set up a direct debit or a regular standing order via your online bank account. You can find out more about ways to pay on the Hastoe website. If you have any problems please contact your Area Housing Manager via MyHastoe or email us at customerservices@hastoe.com.

    Will I be evicted for not paying my rent?

    No, we have no intention of pursuing evictions or court proceedings until further notice. Hastoe is housing provider with charitable status and we recognise many of our residents may be placed in serious difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What support is there to help me pay my rent?

    The government has provided details of the support it is able to provide. Your Area Housing Manager will be able to give you further advice on your specific circumstances or they can refer you to one of our Money Matters Advisors. We have also provided a list of where you can find further information advice on our Money Matters: Coronavirus support page. 

    What about my service charge?

    This will still need to be paid. If you are experiencing problems please contact your Area Housing Manager via MyHastoe.

    What if I am not getting the services included in my service charge at the moment?

    We will continue to provide as many services as we are safely able to do so. This may vary over time, according to Government guidance. Some of our services may just be delayed rather than not undertaken. We will keep the position under review.

  • Financial support

    What if I can’t pay my bills because of coronavirus?

    There is some useful advice published on the Citizens Advice website.

    Can I apply for Universal Credit?

    Details of whether you qualify, how to apply and what you might get are on the Government’s website.

    People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call DWP as part of the process.
    Instead, if any information needs to be checked, you will be phoned and messaging on your online journal. The move is designed to take some of the worry and frustration out of submitting a claim, while speeding it up by putting an end to long call wait times.

    Can I get statutory sick pay for coronavirus?

    Details are published on this Government webpage.

    Can I get a reduction on my council tax?

    The Government has provided a hardship fund to provide council tax relief for vulnerable people and households most affected by coronavirus. Details are published on this Government webpage.

    What if I can’t afford to top up my pre-payment meter?

    You can find advice on the Citizens Advice website.

    I already receive benefits but my Jobcentre is closed. What should I do?

    If you already receive benefits you do not at the moment have to attend Jobcentre appointments. You will continue to receive your benefits as normal. All requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended. However, Jobcentre staff will still meet vulnerable customers, including those fleeing domestic abuse.

    Will my benefits be affected if I was already receiving them before the coronavirus outbreak?

    You can read guidance on this Government webpage.

    I've heard the standard allowance for Universal Credit has gone up. When will I receive this?

    The increase came into place on 6 April and if you receive UC you will receive this increase in the month when your payment is usually due for assessment. This is different from how it normally works. Usually, if you were due an increase you would receive it after the date of the assessment. So some people will get more money in April.

    Details of the benefits and pensions rates for 2020-21 are on this Government webpage.

    What support is there for the self-employed?

    The government has introduced a scheme which will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for a period of 3 months. Find out more details on this Government webpage.

    If you are not eligible for this, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit which will pay a basic income plus rent costs. If you are already in receipt of tax credits then these payments will stop once you claim Universal Credit but you can still apply for an advance which should give you some money to live on during the application process.

    You may also be able to receive Council Tax support through your local council.

    ​What support can I get if I have lost my job because of coronavirus?

    Details are published on this Government webpage.

    What if I can’t pay my tax bill on time?

    Details are published on this Government webpage.

  • Repairs

    How do I report a repair?

    At the moment, we are still only able to carry out emergency repairs. However, we hope to return to a near-normal service from September.

    If you want to report an emergency repair you should do this via the resident portal MyHastoe. To register and then report a repair all you need is your email address, date of birth and tenancy reference number.

    Emergency repairs are:

    • Total loss of heating or hot water
    • Uncontainable leaks
    • Gas leak, smell of gas, CO detector sounding
    • Electrical fault, sparking or loss of power
    • Burst water pipe

    Will you be doing repairs in communal areas of blocks of flats?

    These will be very limited and restricted to safety and emergency works only.

    Will I be given a repairs appointment?

    We are not able to guarantee this at this stage.

    What about routine repairs?

    It is unlikely we will be able to start doing these until September. If we can do them, we will, otherwise we will ask you to report these to us at a later time when we are fully operating again. We will let you know if we can do a routine repair.

    Will my gas boiler still get serviced?

    To ensure the safety of residents, we are continuing to carry out annual gas servicing where our contractors are still able to do this and where a resident is not self-isolating. If we can't do this, we will arrange an appointment at a later date.

    If you suspect a gas leak, call National Grid’s Gas Emergency on 0800 111 999 or Textphone 0800 371 787 if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

    Are improvement works still happening?

    These are also suspended until further notice.

  • Management of your home

    Will my Area Housing Manager still be visiting properties?

    No. In line with government advice, all our employees providing non-essential services will work from home and all contact will be over the phone or by email.

    Where do I go for support if suffering domestic violence?

    You should contact Women’s Aid Refuges on Freephone 0808 2000 247 or contact your Area Housing Manager. If it’s an emergency then call 999. If you can't speak when the operator answers your call, then either tap the telephone or dial 55 and your call will go straight to the police. Most councils also provide a list of local contacts on their website where you can seek support.

    Some of my neighbours are not following the government’s rules to stay at home. What should I do?

    Everyone should be observing the government’s rules to only go out to exercise, buy food or in an emergency. If you feel comfortable talking to your neighbours, please remind them we are all being asked to stay at home in order to reduce the number of people who might die from coronavirus – especially those who are more vulnerable. The police now have powers to enforce these new rules, so if you have concerns you should report their behaviour to your local police.

    Are you still letting properties?

    We are in some cases. However, any viewing will have special measures in place and be in accordance with the most recent government guidance.

    Will the cleaning of communal areas still happen in blocks of flats?

    Where this can be done safely and where either we or our contractors have staff to carry this out we will continue to clean these areas but it will be on a reduced basis. In some cases we will not be able to provide a cleaning service. However, where we have not been able to provide a cleaning service, we will carry out a specialist deep clean when service returns to normal.

    Will safety checks still get done in block of flats?

    There will be checks, but these will be more limited. Where you have smoke alarms in place, we recommend you test these on a weekly basis, replace the batteries if necessary, and make sure they are free of dust and dirt by vacuuming them.

    It is important that you follow all safety advice and ensure that any corridors are kept clear from rubbish or other items. There is further fire safety advice on the Hastoe website.

    Will grounds maintenance continue?

    This will only happen where we have contractors to do this. We will keep this under review during the growing season. Where we are unable to maintain a service we will carry out a thorough tidy up once normal services are able to resume.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The government is advising that if you believe you have symptoms, and live alone, you should self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the time your symptoms start.

If you don't live alone, and either you or someone you live with has symptoms, then everyone needs to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies even if some people don't have symptoms.

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Self-isolation will help to protect others if anyone in your household is infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You also don’t need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home as the NHS is not testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

The Government has issued some stay at home guidance for those people who think they may have been exposed to the virus.

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