Repairs update - Friday 22 May
Earlier this week the Minister of State for Housing, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher, wrote a letter in response to the Prime Minister announcement on 10 May on the steps the Government is taking to ease the lockdown. This letter is available here and we wanted to explain in more detail what this means for you.
Keeping you safe
Your safety, and the safety of our colleagues, has always been our top priority during this crisis which is why we have continued to provide an urgent and emergency repairs service and undertake essential checks that keep you safe.
We have also continued to carry out maintenance works to empty homes throughout lockdown to provide much needed homes for homeless families and have continued to maintain estates and open spaces as we know how important these have been to you during this difficult time.
Over the last couple of weeks, you will have started to see more Grand Union vans, and those of our contractors, in your area as we have been undertaking more routine maintenance to external areas.
As the Government looks to reopen society, we are now putting in place our plans to recommence our normal repairs service, though you will appreciate that things remain far from normal.
When we went into lockdown we had around 1,800 non-urgent jobs that we put on hold, and so we are beginning to contact customers to agree a time to come and complete these. We hope to complete these by the end of June. You don’t need to contact us about an existing repair that was logged prior to lockdown – we’ll contact you.
This means that from July we are aiming to have slots available for new repairs and we hope to be able to take repairs requests from you from the third week of June. We will of course keep you updated and as always the easiest way to do this is through your My.GUHG account. Once you've done this, one of the team will contact you when our backlog of repairs is cleared.
All of our team have access to hand wash facilities, hand sanitiser and personal protective equipment. In addition, we have produced a guide to visiting customers so we can do this in accordance with Public Health guidelines.
Gas safety checks
Gas safety checks are an essential part of maintaining your home and keeping you safe. With the above guidance in place and protective equipment for all operatives, these checks will continue, and you must give access. If you are self-isolating because you or a family member has Covid-19 symptoms, then let us know and we will rearrange the appointment to take place after your isolation has ended.
If you are shielding because the NHS has written to you then we will assess the risk to you and your family and discuss a plan with you as to how we can safely carry out the check. Where the check cannot go ahead, we will provide you with a separate Carbon Monoxide alarm as an additional safety measure so you can feel safe and secure in your homes.
We’re still here to support you if you’re still struggling.
Key services to you, such as money advice, welfare benefits advice and our dedicated Rent Support team can offer you help, support and guidance if you’ve been affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rent Support team are working with everyone who has contacted them to see if additional support is needed around employment and benefits. They’re also working with customers who have taken up our periods of rent payment flexibility and are now starting to work with those who have returned to work to set up suitable repayment plans. We will be assessing each case on an individual need basis though. You can read more about this in our previous update from Tuesday 19 May.
Our teams have called every Grand Union customer over 70, all 1,900 of them, to check they’re ok and we’ve had some great feedback from this, which the team really appreciated.
Elsewhere, we’re still working with local authorities, agencies, organisations and local charities in whatever way we can. One of these is a Community Larder scheme where we’ve helped them deliver thousands of food boxes to people in need.
In the past two months, a number of you have worked with us to reduce your rental payments, taking advantage of a period of ‘rent payment flexibility’ for those encountering financial difficulties due to Coronavirus.
As this two-month period comes to an end, we need to start reviewing customers’ rent payments.
For those who are about to or have already returned to work, we’ll work with you to set up suitable repayment plans.
If you’re still struggling though, we will look at how we can help.
We know this has been and continues to be a difficult time for many, so we want to once again reassure you that we will not charge any interest or any fees for arrangements entered into and we will not take action against anyone working with us if they fall into arrears.
We're still here to help and can offer support and advice to those affected by the current crisis.