Coronavirus information and advice
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- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice
UPDATED | Tuesday 14 July 2020
Key changes: As of 15 July, we are accepting non-essential repair requests over the phone. Expect phone lines to be busy. The quickest way to report non-urgent repairs is still online through MyAccount. Routine housing management visits will also begin within COVID secure guidelines.
We are reviewing all of our services and delivering many of them differently to take into consideration Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance. The health and safety of our staff, customers and partners is always our priority. You will find the details of changes to our main services on this page.
Staying alert and safe (social distancing) measures
We will call customers in advance where we need to physically visit or meet to carry out a service. We will ensure appropriate measures are in place to keep everyone safe.
We will contact you before any pre-arranged appointments. If we are unable to make contact, we may not be able to continue with an appointment at the arranged time.
Impact on specific services
Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs and maintenance are operating as normal, but please be aware that appointments may take longer than usual as we work through the backlog of repairs and take extra time during appointments to reduce any risks.
All non-essential repairs should be reported via MyAccount or through email at ContactUs@derbyhomes.org. Please only contact us by phone for emergency repairs or if you are unable to report repairs online.
All repair visits will follow COVID-secure guidelines. We will contact you beforehand to check whether any member of your household has symptoms or if there are any other risks or concerns.
We will take all reasonable precautions to work safely whilst we are in your home. This may include:
- Cleaning the areas we work in before we start and when we finish
- Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), where appropriate
- Asking you to stay in another room whilst we carry out our work
Offices and buildings
All housing office locations are closed to the public. This includes:
- Stockbrook Street
- Sussex Circus Housing Offices
We may use some offices where it is necessary for a visit to take place, however this will be by appointment only and if you are asked to visit an office, you will be given clear instructions on what you need to do when you arrive.
Housing management services
Our staff are prioritising those who are vulnerable and most in need of support. Most work will be carried out remotely, with visits taking place safely when absolutely necessary. If we need to visit your home, we will tell you in advance how we will carry out the visit. Measures may include:
- Speaking to you at your door, rather than entering your house
- Limiting time in your home
- Not sitting down in your home
- Not accepting a drink
- Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), where appropriate
- You may need to sign documents a distance and with your own pen
Door entry fobs
We are now processing all key-fob requests. Fobs can be collected on Tuesdays and Fridays from our London Road site through an appointment-based system. Contact us at Key.Fob@derbyhomes.org for further information
Grounds Maintenance and Communal Cleaning
Following a challenge in the initial stages of lockdown, services are now running as normal and are on track. We have increased cleaning in some higher risk areas such as the council's Category 2 sheltered schemes, Parkland View and Rose Homes.
We are asking all residents to be mindful of the risks that are still present and to practice thorough handwashing each time that they return to their homes. Cleaning communal areas will improve the overall appearance of them, but will offer little protection from the virus. Signage regarding handwashing is in place in all blocks of flats as a reminder.
The sevice is running as normal. Much work will be carried out remotely, with visits taking place safely when absolutely necessary.
We strongly encourage everyone to adhere to the national guidance on Staying alert and safe (social distancing).
We are unable to carry out any enforcement action against people who are not following government guidance. If you are concerned and witness clear and obvious breaches of these guidelines they should be passed to the Derbyshire Constabulary via a private message on their Facebook page or direct message on Twitter, @DerPolContact. Please only call 101 when it is absolutely necessary.
Allocation of council properties
We have suspended the allocation of all general needs housing for Derby City Council and Derby Homes properties through Derby Homefinder until September 2020. This does not include the allocation of other Homefinder landlord properties. Check with individual landlords about their specific arrangements.
There has been an increase of households in urgent and essential need of temporary accommodation. Some of these households must self-isolate in line with the guidelines for social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, protect vulnerable groups and lessen the impact on our national healthcare services, which means we’ve had to take some difficult decisions to help our most vulnerable.
We appreciate that this will be distressing for the individuals and families affected, who would naturally be looking forward to moving into their new home. Many people will also be frustrated or angry and this is only natural.
For all housing offers that have been withdrawn, applicants can bid again for available properties from other landlords or on Council or Derby Homes properties at a future date when the service resumes.
This decision has not been taken lightly. It is essential that we have the capacity available to act quickly to protect the most vulnerable in the city. We must support the Council to fulfil its statutory duties and for now this must take priority over those with more general housing needs.
We are planning for these arrangements to be in place until September 2020, but the situation will be under constant review. Property adverts will continue for our over 60’s stock as usual.
Signing-up for a new tenancy
Where we can allocate a property, most of the sign-up process will be carried out over the phone and should take around 40 mins. The physical signing of the tenancy agreement will be carried out in person and will be adapted to follow social distancing guidance. This should take just 5 mins and will take place at our Stockbrook Street Office. Applicants will be given specific instruction on how this will take place.
Payment of rent and service charges
If you can pay your rent as normal – please do so. If you are not able to pay, speak to us and we will try to help.
We recognise that tenants may have concerns around paying their rent and service charges now and be asking why they are continuing to be charged. The rent you pay goes directly to fund essential services linked to your tenancy. If your circumstances have not changed please play your part by continuing to pay what you should.
Most tenants routinely pay by methods that are still appropriate during this period (direct debits, standing order, online payments, telephone payments and local PayPoint outlets) and we recommend that these options are used.
If you normally use payment machines at the Council House, these are currently unavailable, please consider one of the recommended options above instead.
Guidance on how to use the recommended payment options can be found here: www.derbyhomes.org/housing-services/rent. You can also contact us on 01332 888777 (option 3).
In line with Government guidance, Derby Homes on behalf of Derby City Council will be suspending court and eviction requests up to 23 August, after which time we will review the situation again. During this period the Government expects, where necessary, tenants and landlords will work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
If you are concerned about paying your rent or service charges because of a reduced income, please contact our Income Team on 01332 888777 (option 3) who will be able to advise you on any help that is available.
Our Money Advice team provides free, confidential and independent advice around budgeting, money and debt problems. You can contact them on 01332 643394 (option 2) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need advice on benefits, contact the Welfare Rights team on the same number but select option 3.
We continue to support people who find themselves homeless or at threat of becoming homeless. Our homeless outreach service (REST) has now fully resumed and is back to carrying out a mixture of outreach and inreach work. Priority will be given to households who are most vulnerable.
Telephone us on 01332 888777 (option 5) to speak with one of our team.
We have restricted access to all the 22 community rooms we manage across the city to reduce risk of COVID-19 to residents and the public. We aim to re-open these in a COVID secure manner when we believe it is appropriate to do so.
Help for vulnerable people
If you or someone you know needs help and support during the COVID-19 crisis you can call the Derby Community Hub on 01332 640000 or email email@example.com.
Find out more here: derby.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid19/how-you-can-help
Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to social housing residents from the Minister of State for Housing
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have published a letter from Christopher Pincher, Minister of State for Housing, to social housing residents in England. It sets out all the measures that are in place to support social housing residents during the next phase towards reopening society.