Your rent and finances during COVID-19 outbreak
We know that this is a worrying time and we understand that many of you will be affected financially by the measures the Government has put in place, but we’re committed to ensuring no one is evicted as a direct result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) if you keep us updated about your situation.
We’ve put together some FAQs about paying your rent below, but if you need further advice and support, including helping you make claims for the benefits you’d be entitled to, you can email our Welfare team, or your Rent Advisor or call us on 01296 732600.
What do I need to do?
If your household income has been reduced, we recommend that you make a claim for benefits, to include the housing element for your rent. If you are entitled to Universal Credit, you will be able to request an advance payment to give you access to funds straight away. The Government has put in place additional measures to ensure that claims are paid without delay, and some people who may not have been entitled to benefits before, will now be able to make a claim.
All we ask is that you make a claim for the benefits you are entitled to, and pay to us your normal rent once your benefits are in payment. If you have had to wait for your benefits to be paid to you, meaning arrears have built up on your account, we will come to an agreement for this to be repaid at an affordable rate, once things have settled down. Please email the Rents team who will be able to help you set up this repayment arrangement. You can also contact them on 01296 732600.
What about my rent account?
We know that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we will continue to support you through it, all we ask is that you keep in touch. We are committed to a ‘no eviction’ approach in line with national guidelines, and therefore we will not take any action for unpaid rent during this time if you are affected by Government measures or the impacts of coronavirus. There will be no interest or additional charges added to your account. If you do not respond to our contact, or do not prioritise your rent over other bills, we will take further action to recover the arrears on your account when the legislation allows us to. However, this is a last resort and if you engage with us there will be no need for us to take this action.
I’m not sure what I am entitled to. Can you help me?
We have a Welfare team at the Trust who can advise you on making a claim for benefits.You can email our Welfare team or call them on 01296 732600. Alternatively use the online benefit calculator tool to check if you are able to make a claim.
I’ve heard that mortgage lenders are offering 3 month mortgage payment holidays. Can I have 3 months off from paying my rent?
Mortgage lenders are offering payment holidays for up to 3 months for people whose income has been affected by the coronavirus. This will need to be paid back to lenders, and interest is likely to be added. The Government has introduced additional support which means that you may now be entitled to claim for your rent to be ‘paid’ whilst your income is affected - you can check using the online benefit calculator.
I’m already under a payment agreement or court order for my rent. What do I do?
If your income has not been affected by the measures put in place, you will need to carry on paying as you normally do. If your income is affected, and you are now unable to meet these payments, please email your Rent Advisor or call them on 01296 732600 to discuss your account. We will assess your current agreement or court order to make sure this is still affordable for you.
I usually pay my rent at the local shop or Post Office and I can’t go there now. What should I do?
There are a number of different payment methods available to you.
Use your AllPay card to make payment using the AllPay telephone line on 0844 557 8321 or you can pay your rent online
Use your AllPay card to make payment by downloading the AllPay app for your smart phone
Pay your rent by bank transfer using your online or telephone banking. Make sure you quote your tenancy number as your payment reference so we can allocate the payment to your rent account. Our bank details are as follows; Sort code: 20-00-00 Account number: 50410667
Set up a direct debit or standing order – just download a form from our ways to pay page and follow the instructions.
Pay your rent by cheque (payable to Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust). Please send cheques to Fairfax house.
I usually call your offices to pay my rent using my debit card. What should I do?
A number of our employees are now working from home to support social distancing. To comply with payment regulations we are unable to take payments over the phone whilst working remotely, therefore please use one of the payment methods above. If you are unsure which payment method will work best for you, email our Customer Service team or give us a call on 01296 732600 for advice.
Further support and information
The Government have provided information and guidance for self-employed people and businesses faced with financial difficulties, as well as a dedicated Business Support Helpline who can provide additional advice on tax and benefits.
Universal Credit guidance for claimants that are self-isolating has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You will not be sanctioned if you do not attend your Job Centre appointments.
We will continue to update our website if anything changes over the coming weeks. We appreciate that guidelines are changing frequently and often at short notice, so if your situation changes, please keep in touch with us so we can support you.
Is your boiler fed by oil from an external tank?
You may have been contacted by us recently about filling up your tank now whilst fuel prices are low. If you need any advice about whether filling up now would suit your financial situations, please email our Wefare team.