Covid-19

Like organisations around the world, we are working hard to look after the safety of our colleagues and our customers while continuing to provide the services you need and expect from us.

Keep up to date with the latest information and support available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

With the easing of restrictions, we are now able to return to our full service, carrying out all repairs and visits to our tenants' homes. We will still be acting cautiously and taking steps to protect yours and our colleagues' health and safety and we ask you to continue to adhere to any safety measures we may ask you to follow.

We appreciate that, for some tenants, the pause on carrying out repairs has been frustrating and you may now be in a queue waiting for repairs to be carried out. We appreciate, too, that you may disagree with our categorisation of your repair as 'non-essential'. We can only apologise to anyone who has been left frustrated by this situation and ask for your further patience while we work hard to clear the backlog.

When we do visit homes, we will be continuing to carry out risk assessments where appropriate and we will continue to follow this Government advice:

  • When working in a household where somebody is clinically vulnerable, but has not been asked to shield, for example someone over 70, prior arrangements should be made with vulnerable person to avoid any face-to-face contact, for example, when answering the door. You should be particularly strict about handwashing, coughing and sneezing hygiene, such as covering your nose and mouth and disposing of single-use tissues.
  • Washing your hands more often than usual for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose.
  • Reducing the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue and throw the tissue in a bin immediately, then wash your hands.
  • Cleaning regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  • Communicating with households prior to any visit to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimise risk for all parties.
  • Maintaining social distance as far as possible.

Please remember, if you or any of your household are self-isolating because you have symptoms of Covid-19, we will not visit your home except for in an emergency. Please let us know if we book an appointment and this is the case.

Shared areas

If you live in shared accommodation or homes with communal areas, it is likely that these areas will now start to open up. The managers of each scheme will advise on the scheme specific health and safety measures that should continue to be followed.

Support

If you need support or advice - about anything from paying your rent to coping with isolation - please speak to your housing officer, or call us on 0330 678 0277

Covid-19 and Rent Payments

We are committed to supporting our customers during this unprecedented national crisis caused by Covid-19. If you have any question or concerns about paying your rent during this time, please contact us.

There will be no reductions to rent or rent free weeks or months throughout this period. The Government has implemented special measures to help those who are adversely affected.

Job Retention Scheme

If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to Covid-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies. This is called the Furlough scheme. If your employer intends to access the Furlough scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.

The Government has also announced a range of measures to support self employed people who cannot work at this time. You can find out more here.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit paid and administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.  If your circumstances and income have changed as a result of Covid-19, you may be able to claim Universal Credit. You can make enquiries about how to claim, report changes in circumstance or make any queries about payment / entitlement to the Department for Works and Pensions or Job Centre Plus.

Find out more about Universal Credit and how to claim online at gov.uk. A copy of the information guide for people who may need to or are claiming Universal Credit can also be found at gov.uk.

Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory sick pay will be payable to people staying at home on government advice, not just those infected. You may be eligible for help with your rent from Universal Credit or Housing Benefit depending on your circumstances. Find out more here.

Housing Benefit

You may be able to claim Housing Benefit if you have experienced a change in your circumstances. The local authority local housing allowance rates have been adjusted to provide more help during this period. You must claim Housing Benefit promptly and without delay to ensure you are covered for some or all rent payments throughout this period. Find out more here.

Further support and advice

You can find out more about benefits and what you might be entitled to here.

If you are struggling to make payments or have any other concerns, please speak to your housing officer. You can also get support from Citizens Advice.

Mears Living is part of Mears Group PLC. Find out more about Mears Group's response to Covid-19 here.