Coronavirus information and advice
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and AdviceChoose a topic from the list below:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice
UPDATED 24 March 2020
We are having to make difficult and unprecedented decisions on how we can continue to deliver essential services to our most vulnerable customers and the residents of Derby. The health and safety of our staff, customers and partners is our top priority and we are closely monitoring the situation around coronavirus. Things continue to change on a daily basis both nationally and globally.
Following the new national restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020, we have had to make further changes to many of our non-essential services to ensure we are doing our bit to help reduce the impact of COVID-19.
We will continue to ask all customers who we need to come into contact with for essential visits if they, or a member of their household is displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus, or if they are considered to be vulnerable due to age or health conditions. If the answer is yes, this does not mean that we will refuse you service, we will simply ensure that appropriate measures are in place to keep everyone safe.
WE WILL CONTACT YOU PRIOR TO ATTENDING ANY PRE-ARRANGED APPOINTMENTS. IF WE ARE UNABLE TO MAKE CONTACT WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE WITH THE APPOINTMENT AT THE PRE-ARRANGED TIME.
WE WILL NOT ASK YOU TO GO AGAINST THE NATIONAL ADVICE BY ASKING YOU TO LEAVE YOUR HOME FOR A NON-ESSENTIAL REASON.
Impact on Customers and Services
Along with many others delivering public services, we are having to make major changes to some of our key services, including those we deliver on behalf of Derby City Council.
Repairs and Maintenance
Until further notice we are only carrying out essential repairs.
Even if you have already received an appointment and are expecting us, the work will be cancelled if it is non-essential. We are trying to contact everyone who has a non-essential appointment, but it may take some time for us to get in touch with you, especially if we do not have up to date contact details.
We appreciate that this will be an inconvenience, but hope you understand.
Housing Management Services
In response to the Government guidance on social distancing we have implemented the following, with effect from 5pm on Thursday 19 March 2020:
- All of our Housing Office locations are closed. This includes our Allenton, Stockbrook Street and Sussex Circus Housing Offices.
- Our staff are still working. Telephone and email communication are now the default way to contact us.
- We are prioritising those who are vulnerable and in need of most support
- There will be a temporary change to how we conduct sign-ups for new tenants.
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 still be carried out in person, but 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.
We are only processing emergency orders for door entry fobs – exisiting fobs will continue to operate normally.
Communal Gardens and Cleaning
It is our intention to continue cleaning services, working with our contractors to ensure these important services are maintained. However, due to initial resource challenges we have had to prioritise our sheltered, extra care and high rise locations for cleaning in the first instance. We are now in a better position with resources to resume the general cleaning of communal areas within flats. As we have a reduced capacity in our resource it is likely to be two weeks between visits, rather than weekly.
We appreciate that hygiene is more important than ever at the present time and therefore we are asking all residents to be mindful of thorough handwashing each time that they return to their homes. Cleaning within communal areas will improve the overall appearance but will offer little protection from the virus, we are therefore arranging for additional signage regarding handwashing to be place in all blocks as a reminder.
Grass cutting has recommenced on communal schemes, again with reduced capacity. We are looking at ways to carry out work on inidivual gardens, and will contact residents shortly. Again, the service may take a longer than our usual timescales.
We strongly encourage everyone to adhere to the national guidance and stay at home other than for the reasons detailed on the GOV.UK site.
We are unable to carry out any enforcement action against people who are not following the government's 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 are already dealing with 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 have had to suspend the allocation of all general needs housing for Derby City Council and Derby Homes properties on Derby Homefinder for a period of at least six months, to keep with Government guidance.
- We have also had to withdraw existing offers of properties to households that have only recently been made.
- This does not include the allocation of other Homefinder landlord properties, which currently remain uninterrupted.
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.
We do not want to have to make these decisions, and it may mean we are unable to help people who have less of a need than others, but it is necessary at this time of national crisis. We know that you'll understand our need to prioritise our help to those who are most vulnerable.
For all housing offers that have been withdrawn, applicants will bid again for available properties from other landlords or on Council or Derby Homes properties at a future date when things return to normal.
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 has to take priority over those with more general housing needs.
We are planning for these arrangements to be in place for up to six months, but the situation will be under constant review. Property adverts will continue for our over 60’s stock as usual.
Payment of rent and service charges
IF YOU ARE ABLE TO PAY YOUR RENT AS NORMAL – PLEASE DO SO BUT 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 now and be asking why rent is continuing to be charged.
The rent you pay goes directly to fund essential services linked to your tenancy. So if your circumstances have not changed please play your part by continuing to pay what you should.
The majority of tenants routinely pay by methods that are still appropriate during this period (direct debits, standing order, online payments, and telephone payments) and we recommend that these options are used.
For those tenants that do use Pay Point terminals or pay at the Council House, please consider one of the recommended options above instead. We do not expect tenants to make a special journey to a Pay Point terminal or the Council House to pay their rent.
Guidance on how to use the recommended payment options can be found on the Derby Homes website https://www.derbyhomes.org/housing-services/rent/ or 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 for a period of 3 months to the end of June 2020, 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.
Additionally, our Money Advice team, which is part of Derby Advice, provides free, confidential and independent advice around budgeting, money and debt problems. Please contact them on 01332 643394 (option 2) or by emailing
email@example.com. If you require benefits advice, please contact the Welfare Rights team on 01332 643394 (option 3).
We will continue to support people who find themselves homeless or at threat of becoming homeless.
Our homeless outreach service (REST) has reduced to carrying out essential safe and well checks only and is primarily offering phone and email support, with priority given to households who are most vulnerable.
Telephone us on 01332 888777 (option 5) to speak with one of our team.
- All of the 22 community rooms we manage across the city are now temporarily closed for externally booked activities and resident use, to encourage social distancing.
Help for vulnerable people
If you or someone you know needs help and support during the COVID-19 crisis you can call the new helpline on 01332 640000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This has been organised by Community Action Derby, along with Derby City Council, Derby Homes, the University of Derby and others to coordinate an emergency response to help people in need.
You can also get in touch if you would like to volunteer to help or offer your services in some way in Derby.
Our phone lines are still open on 01332 888777 and you can reach us at email@example.com
Phone line options:
1. How we use your data
2. Pay your rent
3. Rent enquiries
4. Homeless tonight
5. Homeless and rehousing advice
6. Emergency repairs
7. Anything else
We will update this page on a regular basis, please keep checking and follow us on social media (Facebook and Twitter).
Last updated: 16:40pm, Thursday 2 April 2020
Published: Monday 16 March 2020