The Government has confirmed that rent and service charges are still expected to be paid during this time. Having said that, we know that the Coronavirus outbreak has caused hardship for many. If you are experiencing problems in paying your rent or service charges please contact us immediately. We are here to offer support regarding rent, service charges, benefits and debt. Significant arrears form when peoples stop paying rent or service charges, which are much harder to deal with if you let them build up.
If you are concerned about paying your rent or service charge, please let us know. We are here to help.
Our Financial Inclusion and Income Team can offer advice over the phone. You can also contact our debt advice charity partner, StepChange, on 0800 138 1111 (free from all phones, including all mobiles) or through their website www.stepchange.org
If you cannot work due to Coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, the Government has confirmed that you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. This is as of 13 March 2020.
If you are claiming benefits or Universal Credit, special arrangements are being made. There is a lot of advice online about what to do if you are affected by Coronavirus (see the link below for more information). Please make sure you stay up to date on what you need to do for your circumstances.
Targeted support is also available for people who have a mortgage, including deferring payments for a period of time.
Help with claiming benefits
There have been changes to benefits available. If you are experiencing financial difficulty or a reduction in your household income as a result of the virus, you may be able to claim Universal Credit and New Style Jobseeker's allowance, as well as council tax support. There is help available for anyone who is self-employed or a member of a partnership and has lost income due to the virus. You can find information about this on the Government website.
Citizen's Advice service
We have suspended the Citizen's Advice drop in sessions as Emily House but we are continuing to work in partnership with Citizens Advice to provide free, independent and confidential advice about benefits over the phone. Simply call us on 020 8354 5500 to make a telephone appointment (CAB will call you back) or call your local CAB directly.
- Citizen's Advice appointments are available every Friday from 9.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm.
Frequently asked questions
We have prepared some answers to common questions and answers to help people seeking financial support
My income has reduced / I have been made unemployed. What benefits can I claim?
Most working age people should claim:
- Universal Credit - to help you pay your living and housing costs
- Council Tax Support – to help pay your council tax bill
To claim Universal Credit:
- Online visit - www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim
- By telephone - 0800 328 5644
To claim Council Tax Support:
- Online visit - www.gov.uk/find-local-council
- By telephone - varies, refer to your council tax bill
What information do I need to make a claim for Universal Credit?
Refer to www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim for the information you need to gather before you start making your online Universal Credit claim.
I’m experiencing lengthy delays in being able to complete the identification section of my new Universal Credit claim?
The government is aware of the delays and are in the process of redeploying staff from other parts of the business to cope with the surge in new Universal Credit claims.
I can’t get through to Jobcentre Plus to book my Universal Credit first interview.
There is currently a high demand for first interview appointments, however they are being completed by telephone. Immediately record an entry in your journal:
- asking your work coach to contact you directly to book your first appointment; and
- the date and time of each phone call you make to try and book your appointment.
The government has announced that no one will be evicted for the next 3 months, does this mean that I don’t have to pay my rent for the next 3 months?
There is no freeze on rent payments, your rent will still be charged for the next 3 months as usual, so you need to ensure that your rent is paid on time.
The government’s guidance can be found here.
If I can’t pay my rent what should I do?
If you can’t pay your rent you should contact your Income Officer immediately. Your Income Officer will go through your situation with you and advise you on what you need to do.
In addition, we advise you to seek independent, impartial and free debt advice from:
- your local Citizen’s Advice - www.citizensadvice.org.uk;
- step change - www.citizensadvice.org.ukwww.stepchange.org;
- National Debtline - www.nationaldebtline.org; or
- Citizen’s Advice via Octavia - contact your Income Officer on 020 8354 5500
I usually pay my rent at the post office but I can’t leave my home because I am self-isolating. What should I do?
We have a number of ways that you can pay your rent. These are:
- By allpay - call 0330 041 6497, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will need your allpay reference number and your debit/credit card to hand.
- Using My Octavia our mobile app - you will need your allpay reference number and your debit/credit card to hand.
- Calling our Contact Team - call 020 8354 5500, you will need your debit/credit card to hand.
- By bank transfer - you can set this up at your bank or online with the following details:
Sort Code: 40-06-09
Account Number: 00724556
Bank Address: HSBC, 90 Baker Street, London, W1U 6AX