Name: COVID-19 Information specific to Council Housing Tenants
Description: COVID-19 Information specific to Council Housing Tenants

COVID-19 Information specific to Council Housing Tenants

Housing Services Covid 19 Service Update – August 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation which is affecting the Housing teams ability to deliver our full range of services and whilst we have planned for a range of scenarios we recognise that we will have to be flexible in response to the unexpected events we are all experiencing.
This may mean that the level of service we provide, as we progress through this crisis, may not be as we usually provide it whilst we focus our available resources on key services areas and those that need us most.

Dartford Borough Council offices are now closed

Due to the introduction of tier 4 restrictions in our area Dartford Civic Centre is closed and our walk-in counter for Housing services is unavailable.

So for the time being so we are not open for appointments.

Our Cash Payment machines will also be closed until further notice but of you wish to contact us to discuss methods of payment please use the website or call the rents team 01322 343434.

We know that these are difficult times but almost all Dartford Borough Council services can now be accessed easily and quickly online but if you need our help and can’t find it online please call 01322 343434 or via our online form.

If I am sick and can’t pay my rent, will my home be at risk?

If your income has been affected as a direct result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and you are struggling to pay your rent please contact us via our online form to discuss how we may be able to help with short term solutions.
If tenants are sick or having to care for others who are ill, cannot work or have other issues because of coronavirus, we would consider making reasonable adjustments to help people through this challenging time. We will approach this on a case-by-case basis. If you are affected and you think it will affect your ability to pay your rent, please contact us to discuss the best way of adapting to the situation until things return to normal. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made temporary arrangements for benefit claimants impacted by coronavirus. You should check the DWP's information about coronavirus and claiming benefits page regularly for updates. If you require assistance please call us on 01322 343434 or via our online form.

If I get sick due to coronavirus, will you still come out to do repairs at my home?

If a doctor or other medical professional has advised you to stay at home and isolate yourself because of coronavirus concerns, you must let us or our Contractor know if you are reporting a repair via or 01322 343434 or other home visit, or have one already arranged. In normal circumstances (ie: routine repairs) we will look to rearrange the appointment for a time when you are well again and no longer infectious.

What about visits and appointments for non-repairs issues?

We are not undertaking any home visits until further notice to avoid personal contact during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have an emergency situation that you need to discuss with us please contact us via our online form or call the Housing team on 01322 343434.

Information for Housing scheme tenants

We appreciate that this is an uncertain and worrying time for many of you. We wish to assure you that our focus remains the wellbeing, health and safety of our tenants and staff.

What should I do if I develop symptoms of coronavirus?

If you develop a new, continuous cough or a high temperature then you must isolate yourself within your property for a period of 14 days.
You should not visit your Housing Scheme Officer. Instead you should pull your cord or telephone them for support.
If you need clinical advice you should visit the NHS website.
If you do not have access to the internet then you should call 111. In an emergency, call 999.

Will I still receive visits from my Housing Scheme Officer?

Should you wish to communicate with your Housing Scheme Officer, we encourage you to use your pull cords or telephone them. If possible, do not visit Officers in their office.
Your Housing Scheme Officer will discuss and agree with you the contact that they will provide during this time. In some cases, visits will be temporarily replaced with telephone calls.
Please be assured that they are still working to support you and you will be able to reach them or a covering member of staff.

Will I still be able to use the communal facilities at my scheme?

For the time being, all communal lounges will be closed to tenants. All groups that regularly use the lounges have been cancelled until further notice.
Your laundry rooms will remain open. This is because regular washing of clothing, tea towels and bath towels reduces the spread of the virus. Where possible, we recommend that only one individual uses the laundry room at a time.
Our Cleaning Team have increased the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning within schemes and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

Thinking ahead

With the current uncertainty, it is important that you consider your arrangements for food and medicine supplies. If you have any concerns regarding food or medication, please contact your Housing Scheme Officer by telephone or by pulling your cord.

The Housing team are here to help you if we can so If you are in any doubt or require further assistance, or simply want to talk to the member of the team please call 01322 343434 or contact us via our online form

Information specific to Homeless Team clients

We understand it is a very difficult time to be exploring your housing options.
Whilst we will continue to offer a service to assist you as much as we can our response may not be as fast as under normal circumstance. You are still able to contact us for advice and support via 01322 343434 and online via our online form

Rough Sleeping

Our Housing Solutions team is providing support to rough sleepers. Anyone who is rough sleeping and needs to self-isolate either because they have symptoms or because they are in a vulnerable group is being provided with somewhere to stay. The recent Government funding announced specifically to support rough sleepers will help with this

Looking For Accommodation

For those that are looking for alternative accommodation, please be advised that some agents are now limiting viewings during the pandemic but your housing officer will continue to contact you with any properties that may become available.
Maintaining your current tenancy
During this period of uncertainty, please continue to pay your current rent where possible. Should you fall into financial hardship you will need to contact Universal Credit who can explore options with you.
The Entitled To website is available to use and may be able to assist you with budgeting and assessing what benefits you may be entitled to.
Please contact your agent or landlord if you have any issues making your monthly rent payments due to any loss of income/work. It is important to be open and honest with them to prevent falling into unmanageable debt once the pandemic has passed.

Maintaining your current tenancy

During this period of uncertainty, please continue to pay your current rent where possible. Should you fall into financial hardship you will need to contact Universal Credit who can explore options with you.

Debt and financial assistance

If you need any debt assistance, citizens’ advice services are now running by telephone or online.
Please see below contact details:
CAB Dartford 0300 330 9001
Debt and financial assistance
The Government has announced emergency legislation to:
Stop any new possession claims (social and private tenancies) being issued at court for the next three months (at least).
This means, if your landlord has not already applied for court action, they will not be able to do so for at least 3 months.
However it is important that you continue to search for alternative accommodation and pay your rent. This is only a temporary delay and possession of your property will be sought once normal business resumes.

Existing open homelessness cases

We understand it is an anxious time for everyone. If required, we will automatically extend your prevention duty by 3 months to continue to work with you. In the meantime, please be patient with your housing caseworker who are doing everything what they can to continue to deliver our service and supply you with information as and when it is available.

Guidance for private landlords and tenants

The government has issued guidance to private landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 situation.

It covers:

  1. Measures relating to notices seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020
  2. Court action on possession cases during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
  3. Property access and health and safety obligations in the context of Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

The guidance can be viewed here.

Last Updated: 19th March 2021