November 2020
As the national response to Coronavirus continues, all social housing providers, including Papworth Trust, received a letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government setting out the steps the Government is taking to reopen society and support people to move on with their lives. We have reviewed what we have in place to safeguard the wellbeing of our tenants, customers, staff and volunteers and wish to share with you an update of the measures we are taking to keep you and your home safe.

Following the Prime Ministers statement on 31st October, our housing service will continue as normal and as part of our risk assessment, we will phone tenants ahead of any visits.

Repairs and Maintenance

We will be extending the scope of our maintenance service to include routine repairs and planned maintenance. This will continue to be based on the health and safety of the tenant and property, and these will be prioritised accordingly. Due to the backlog of work that has built up during the pandemic it is unlikely that we will be able to meet timescales in all routine repairs. We also may need to postpone jobs and we will rebook these when possible. You should continue to report repairs in the usual ways and we will book in repairs and maintenance where we are able. We will monitor this situation closely and update you if any further changes are necessary. We appreciate your understanding during this time.

Carrying out repairs

If you need to report a repair, please phone 0330 678 0008 option 1 or email repairsandmaintenance@papworthtrust.org.uk

Prior to attending your home to carry out a repair we will phone ahead to check whether you or anyone in your household have any symptoms and/or are in self-isolation. In order to keep our tenants and staff safe during this difficult time, our housing team will give you instructions which we would ask you to follow before, during and after our visits to your property. If you do not follow these, we may not be able to carry out the necessary work.

Please be aware that we have a responsibility to carry out essential regulatory and statutory works to your home. This includes gas safety checks and inspections of lifting equipment that Papworth Trust own. If you live in a room with communal facilities, this can also include water tests and fire tests. The Government has not relaxed any legislation relating to these and therefore it is essential we can still access your property to carry these all out.

Contacting your Housing Officer

Our Housing Officers will continue to offer a telephone or email service initially to try and help you with your query, however they will also be able to attend your property where it is an essential visit.
Examples of essential tenant visits are pre-void inspections, anti-social behaviour investigations and where tenants have not engaged with attempts to contact by telephone.

Prior to visiting your property we will contact you to check whether you or anyone in your household have any symptoms and/or are in self-isolation. In order to keep our tenants and staff safe during this difficult time, our housing team will give you instructions which we would ask you to follow before, during and after any visits to your property. If it is not possible to visit you in a safe way and maintain social distancing guidelines, we will not visit you.

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact the housing team by email at housing@papworthtrust.org.uk or by telephone on 0330 678 0008 option 2 to request a telephone appointment to discuss your housing issues in the first instance

Paying your rent

During this period, you should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement. If you are experiencing difficulties or concerns regarding paying your rent, please continue to contact the housing team as soon as possible.

There is still help available from the Government for those who are financially struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak, please check under the Employment and Finance section on www.gov.uk/coronavirus as you may become eligible for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

Moving Home

Papworth Trust had previously suspended all but emergency lettings. The Government has now made changes to legislation to make clear that people who wish to move home can now do so. We are also reopening applications for mutual exchanges.

If you wish to end your tenancy so you can move home or you wish to move by mutual exchange please contact your Housing Officer.

We would advise all tenant considering moving home to review the current guidance: www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Anti-social behaviour

Along with the police and local councils, we have a significant range of powers to tackle anti-social behaviour. Our Housing Officers will continue to work with tenants to address any problems in their area at an early stage and you should work with them to complete any actions they have requested, such as anti-social behaviour logs. Please consider that during any investigation we will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines and it may not be possible to attend in person. Your Housing Officer can still support you if you are suffering from anti-social behaviour.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic the Government has put in place additional safeguards to protect tenants from eviction. This does mean that in most cases we are required to give tenants six months’ notice before ending any tenancy. In some cases such as serious anti-social behaviour we can still give offending tenants four weeks’ notice before commencing legal action.

Support for victims of domestic abuse

We recognise that staying at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. For anyone who is or feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services.. You can find further information here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse

Wellbeing

We are aware the pandemic has had an effect on everyone’s daily lives. These guides provide advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

The Government has outlined the steps it is taking to prevent those staying home to stay safe from becoming at risk of loneliness. If you are feeling lonely or isolated there are a number of organisations that you can talk to. You can find more at www.letstalkloneliness.co.uk/advice/

We thank you for your cooperation and patience, as we all work together to meet this challenging environment.

We would ask that you please keep an eye on our website www.papworthtrust.org.uk for further updates as we continue to monitor this changing situation.

The latest information and facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the Government website - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.