We know many Teign Housing residents have questions about their rent during this time. Although the media has reported on mortgage arrangements and a no-eviction promise, there has been conflicting information. This document captures our approach.
Our promise is simple, we will not seek to evict anyone if you are talking to us, making every effort to pay, keeping on track with an existing repayment arrangement, if you are maintaining a new repayment plan which is suitable to both you and us and – if requested – you provide evidence of how your circumstances have been negatively impacted.
No matter how bad things are now or were before COVID-19, talk to us and we will look to work with you to agree a way forward. We are here to help. Things get trickier when people refuse offers of help, don’t reply to calls or letters and continue to build debt on their rent account. Those households are very much the minority, so our focus is ensuring we help those who do want to pay but are struggling to do so.
To contact our rents team, call 01626 322722 and chose the option for advice about your rent account. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions on Rent
Q: Are you going to offer a payment holiday for rent?
A: The short answer is no.
Where you can pay your rent as normal, you should. A rent holiday would only delay payments – not cancel them. The additional burden of paying extra in future months simply postpones the financial difficulty and potentially makes it worse and harder to keep your home.
If you are in credit on your rent account, please call us and we will be able to confirm whether we are able to agree to you missing a payment, if you really need to.
The Government has provided a strong package of financial support for residents and we expect you to use this to pay your rent.
Not all of the financial support is available for those with a mortgage, which is why payment holidays have been agreed.
Universal Credit (UC) personal allowances have been increased, debts previously taken from UC payments have been stopped, we are able to offer advice regarding food parcels or vouchers and access extra support and payment arrangements with utility companies. We know that doesn’t apply to everyone of course, but we can help you identify what help you could get.
All Teign Housing residents should continue to pay rent and follow all terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. If your circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19, please speak to the Rents Team at the earliest opportunity to ensure you are able to access the financial support available.
Q: I am worried I will not be able to pay my rent due to my income changing as a result of COVID-19. Can you help?
A: We know this is a worrying time for everyone, and we don’t want to add financial concerns onto that list. Your rent remains a priority to pay, and there is help available so please take it.
Firstly, if you have the internet, please visit www.entitledto.co.uk, to see what benefits you can access to help pay your rent. https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ has a special Covid-19 impact calculator.
Our Head Start team can also help by working with you to create a budget planner and identify non-priority spending. They can also assist to see if you are eligible for any grants or hardships funding during this difficult time. To access their free help, you can call 01626 322722 and choose the option for help and advice about claiming benefits at this time. You can also email them via Headstart@teignhousing.co.uk
Q: I usually pay my rent at the post office, what should I do?
A: https://www.teignhousing.co.uk/rent/ways-to-pay/ has a list of the many other ways you can pay your rent. The easiest method is to set up a Direct Debit directly from your bank account to pay your rent. Alternatively, we can give you our bank details so you can set up a standing order or make internet payments. We can guide you through this process over the phone.
You can also pay via phone with your Allpay Card. You’ll need a debit or credit card to hand to do this.
To pay via Allpay Card or to set up a Direct Debit, please call 01626 322722 and listen for the option you need.
Please call 01626 322722 and select the option for setting up Direct Debit.
Q: I am worried there will not be enough money to cover the Direct Debit set up
A: Please do not cancel the Direct Debit. There are lots of options we can discuss with you and we will ask a member of the Rents Team to give you a call to discuss this and also ensure that you are claiming all of the financial help available to you at this time.
Q: What action will you take if I don’t pay my rent?
A: Rent does still need to be paid and is a priority debt. Our main focus at the moment is to work with residents to ensure they get all of the help and advice they need at this difficult time. If you are open and honest with us and are doing all you can to pay towards your rent, we will work with you to ensure your home is not at risk. We will explore the benefits you are entitled to so you can maximise your income and also look at how we can help you budget and stop non-priority payments. If you still have problems paying your rent, we will look at arranging a temporary agreement.
If a customer does not engage with us, or already had existing arrears before COVID-19 and has stopped making payments towards their rent, we will follow our arrears process.
Social housing – particularly at a time of crisis – is a limited resource, and it’s unfair that those paying have to subsidise those who are unwilling to, if they have the financial ability to do so.
Q: I’m a shared owner. What help is available for me?
A: As a shared owner you are most likely to rent part of your home from us, and have a mortgage for the remainder. If you are struggling to meet your mortgage payment, the Government announced a three-month mortgage payment holiday. Most mortgage lenders have full details of how to apply on their websites. If, despite the mortgage holiday, you still have concerns about paying your rent as part of your shared ownership agreement the https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ website can advise you if you can get Universal Credit support towards this.