If you’re facing challenges due to a loss of income as a result of coronavirus, we’ve put together a summary of:
- What we’re doing to help if you live in one of our properties
- Financial relief available to support you through the current crisis.
Help us spread the word
Even if these issues don’t affect you personally, it’s likely someone in your local community is facing challenges like those we’re describing here. Please have a think about anyone who might benefit from this advice and share it with them. This might be particularly relevant for people you know over 70-years-old. A simple phone call can go a long way.
If you are reading this on someone else’s behalf and they need help to register for any of the services we’ve listed below – perhaps due to lack of digital skills or internet access – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see how we can support them.
Paying your rent
If you are renting and struggling to make your rent payment, there are short-term measures in place to keep a roof over your head. If you are finding it hard to pay the rent on an A2Dominion property due to a drop in income, please take a look at the advice on our website. If you’re worried about your financial situation our Tenancy Sustainment team is on hand to help.
In England and Wales, all landlords currently need to give three months’ notice before starting eviction proceedings. But please be aware that this change won't affect eviction proceedings already underway. Beyond this three-month point, you'll be expected to work with your landlord agree an affordable repayment plan which takes your circumstances into account.
Help with your mortgage
If you’re finding it hard to keep up with your mortgage payments, you may be able to apply to your lender for a payment holiday. This is a short-term option to relieve immediate pressure on your finances. However, you will still be charged interest during a payment holiday which will be added on to the total cost of your loan.
Lenders are typically offering payment breaks of up to three months and you will need to arrange this directly with them. To apply for a mortgage holiday it's best to do it online if you can, as phone lines are likely to be very busy.
Council tax holidays or reduction
Many councils are offering help for residents who are struggling to pay their council tax as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Speak to your local authority directly about the possibility of taking a council tax 'holiday' or to apply for council tax reduction.
Extended emergency credit on Vital Energi meters
If you have a Vital Energi smart meter in your home, we’ve extended emergency credit from £5 to £50 to help if your energy bills are higher than usual as you stay at home more.
Other energy help
The government and energy suppliers have agreed new emergency measures to help if you are a prepayment customer and you’re unable to top up during the pandemic. These include:
- Posting cards loaded with emergency credit if you are self-isolating
- Adding discretionary credit to your meter, and
- Allowing you to nominate someone to top up for you.
Standard credit meter disconnections suspended
Most importantly, your energy supply won’t be cut off as energy companies have suspended all disconnections of standard credit meters. What’s more, all energy suppliers have agreed to support anyone in financial distress, which can include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused. Exactly what help suppliers offer will depend on your supplier and your circumstances, but here’s a example of the kind of support on offer from British Gas.
Support for your water bills
Like your mortgage or council tax, you may be able to apply for a payment holiday for your water bills. Other ways some water suppliers are offering support include:
- Flexible payments, where your payments are temporarily lowered until you get back on your feet, and
- Capped tariffs for your water meter.
You can apply for a capped tariff if you receive certain benefits (check the website for details). It’s useful if you need to use a lot of water for medical reasons or because you have a certain number of school-age children.
With the evolving situation around coronavirus you might find you need to make a new Universal Credit claim to help with your living costs. We’ve put together some information on our website, to help if you need to make a claim.
Our customers have been calling us with a range of queries about benefits and other assistance. We’ve put together a benefits guide on our website, which we amend regularly as soon as we receive updates.
More general financial support
Beyond your housing needs, there is a range of support available from banks, credit card lenders and others to help you through these difficult times. Here’s a few that might be useful.
- Many of the large banks are offering up to £500 overdraft interest free from 9th April 2020. To apply please contact your bank directly to see what they can offer.
- Holiday payments of up to three months on personal loans and credit cards
- We have spoken to a number of broadband providers who say they are willing to help you stay connected even if you are struggling to pay your bills
- If you are over 75, the BBC has announced it is suspending payments for your TV licence until August
Stay in the know
We will keep this page updated with any new information we have. We have also published separate articles about accessing food, help with your medical needs and support if you are socially isolated. In the meantime, if you are worried about a friend, family member or someone in your community, please do share this information with them – especially if they cannot easily access information online. Thanks for your help.