1. Will Cotman be offering rent breaks, like some of the mortgage companies for those who are ill or self-isolating?

We are unable to offer rent breaks, but we will work with each customer on a case by case basis to agree an affordable repayment plan. We will provide advice, support and guidance to you if you're having difficulty paying your rent.

To discuss your situation further, please email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.


2. I am struggling to pay my rent due to coronavirus, will I be evicted?

We would like to reassure our customers that we will not be taking any legal possession or eviction action against customers who are unable to make payments as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, please contact as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

You can email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.


3. How can you help me if I fall into arrears because of the situation with the corona virus?

We are committed to help prevent our customers falling into debt and we will continue to provide advice, support and guidance to customers who may be experiencing difficulty in paying their rent.

If you are experiencing difficulties you can email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444. Please have your tenancy reference number.


4. I have problems paying my other bills and/or debts - what should I do?

There are some useful links on our homepage www.placesforpeople.co.uk/about-us/news/2020/coronavirus-homes/ that may help you look for information and support.

If you need help with understanding this information our financial services team are available to offer support and help signpost you to the services that best meet your needs.

Please email us at financial.services@placesforpeople.co.uk


5. Can I get help with Universal Credit/Housing Benefit claims and/or discretionary housing payment/hardship applications?

Yes, we will continue to provide support to customers who need some with Universal Credit/Housing Benefit claims and/or discretionary housing payment/hardship applications.

If you need help please email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call. To help you avoid longer waiting times please email us if you can.


6. I am unable to work because of the coronavirus, but I am not eligible to receive statutory sick pay. What should I do?

If you are not eligible for statutory sick pay, you could be entitled to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment Support Allowance.

For more information please visit:

If you need help with your benefits claims, please email us at ircenquiries@placesforpeople.co.uk or contact us on 01772 666 444.

We are asking more questions than usual as part of our service to help our customers, so it may take us a little longer to answer your call.


7. What could I do if I have lost my job or been temporarily laid off?

It may be worth speaking to your employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as furloughed). Some companies can retain their employees with government assistance to pay up to 80% of their income, please contact your employer.


8. Are you letting properties?

We are using the government guidance on safe working and adapting our ways of working to make sure we keep you and our colleagues as safe as possible from the spread of coronavirus.

Our lettings team are moving people into new homes where it is safe to do so. If you have a current offer of accommodation with us we will contact you to update you on your house move and to discuss how things will be a bit different to our normal house move process.

If you are applying for a home and have not yet been made an offer we encourage you to look at our available homes and apply for any that meet your needs.


 9. Will you allow vulnerable people to move to new homes?

Yes, although we have paused all non-essential moves to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, we will try our best to prioritise essential moves for those customers who currently have an offer of accommodation from us. Where it is safe to do so we will allow those customers to move during the lockdown.

Essential moves include:

These include:

  • People fleeing domestic abuse and violence
  • Moving customers from temporary accommodation
  • People discharged from hospital
  • Those living in un-safe accommodation, or without settled accommodation, which poses a risk to their health


10. Can I still report a repair at this time?

Yes, repairs can now be reported online through our customer portal or over the phone by calling 01772 667075.

Before starting work, we will ask if anyone in your home is shielding, self-isolating or showing any symptoms of COVID-19. If someone in your household is self-isolating or has tested positive for the virus, we will only carry out emergency work in certain circumstances.  Questions are asked to protect you and our colleagues.   


11. How do I report an emergency or gas repair?

If you do need to report an emergency repair, please call our Customer Service Centre on 01772 667075.

We will be asking additional questions to make sure we safeguard you and our colleagues before arranging a repair.


12. Are you still carrying out Gas Safety Checks on my property?

Yes, we will continue to carry out all Gas Servicing within our properties during this time. We can assure you that the safety of our customer and colleagues are key at this time and we will contact you to ask you some corona virus related questions prior to your appointment.


13. Can I amend my Gas Safety Check appointment?

If you wish to amend your gas safety check appointment, please call 01772 667075


14. When I am asked additional questions when reporting a repair, what will you do with this information?

We may need to collect some additional information about coronavirus before we arrange a visit or repair with you. This information will help us assess whether we need to put in place additional precautionary measures for our colleagues when they visit your home.

If we need a contractor to visit your home we will need to tell them too, so that they can take similar additional measures. We will treat the information you give us with the utmost of care.

We will keep it for a limited time and will use it for the purposes of safeguarding all our colleagues and customers.


15. Where can I go to get more information about the personal data I provide Cotman on coronavirus?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has put together some information to help you understand coronavirus and your personal data.

Visit: ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/your-data-matters-blog#18march


16. Can customers be assured Cotman operatives are not carrying the virus into their homes while carrying out repairs?

Our priority is the health, wellbeing and safety of our customers and colleagues. We are following all of latest Government and NHS advice, and we can assure you that we are doing all that we can to help protect our customers and their homes during this period of uncertainty.

Our colleagues will wear a face covering whilst in your home and moving through any communal areas such as corridors or lounges. Our team have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and will wear what is appropriate for the task. Our contractors will have anti-bacterial wipes for the surfaces they need to touch.

We will ask you to stand at least two metres away from our colleagues where you can. All trades operatives will show you identification when they visit your home. Please check this and once you are satisfied, you can leave our contractor or colleague to carry out their work. Our colleagues can remove their face covering with social distance to help you check their identity or for easier communication such as lip reading. Upon completion of the job, they will advise you they have finished and are leaving, and they will see themselves out.

We are making sure our colleagues self-isolate if they have any of the advised symptoms or have contact with someone with coronavirus.

If you are reporting a repair with our Customer Service Centre, we will be also be asking you some additional questions to help protect against the spread.

By following these steps, we want to reassure you that there is a low risk of spreading the coronavirus from a home visit.

 

17. Are you carrying out grounds maintenance work?

We are doing grounds maintenance work as this activity can be done safely. To make sure we are following government advice and physical distancing guidelines, we have reviewed and changed the way we do things.

The following grounds maintenance tasks will take place: Grass cutting, Litter picking, Fly tipping removal. Vegetation management - e.g. removing brambles from pathways or ensuring fire exits are clear.

Our team have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and will wear what is appropriate for the task. Our colleagues will wear a face covering whilst moving through any communal areas such as corridors or lounges.

 

18. Will play areas be reopening?

Following the Government announcement on 23 March 2020, all Places for People play areas were closed in line with the Government guidelines issued to help minimise the spread of Covid-19. 

The Government has advised that play areas can reopen from 4 July 2020, if the play area owner deems it safe to do so. Places for People has made the decision for our play areas to remain closed to support social distancing, limit the spread of coronavirus and help protect the health and safety of our communities.

We are currently working to implement all necessary safety measures to ensure that we are able to facilitate the requirements detailed in the current Government guidance. Play areas will reopen as soon as we are able to do so in a way that is safe and minimises COVID-19 transmission risk.

The Government guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms published on 26 June 2020 can be found on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms

 

19. My home is in a local COVID alert level area, how are your services affected?

The Government has introduced local COVID alert levels in England with increased restrictions in place in some areas. We would like to reassure you that we are continuing to provide support to safeguard you and our colleagues.      

Find out more about our services in local COVID alert level areas

 

20. I have received a letter which says I will be getting a new kitchen/bathroom, will this still happen? 

Yes, we are working through a revised work programme for the year and providing there are no further restrictions our programme for upgrades has will continue. We will write to you as soon as we have an agreed date and contractor. Due to rescheduling the date may be next year.