At Your Homes Newcastle we know that this is a worrying time and we understand that many of you will be affected financially by the measures the Government have put in place to manage the Covid-19 outbreak.
We’ve put together some FAQs about paying your rent, but should you need further advice and support, including helping you making a claim for benefits, please get in touch with our Financial Inclusion team on Financial.firstname.lastname@example.org, or call your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as you can.
What do I need to do?
If your household income has been reduced, we would 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.
If your circumstances have changed and you are making a claim for benefits, please let us know so we can note this on your account so your rent payments can be arranged once you are in receipt of your new benefits.
If I am considering a claim for Universal Credit what information do I need?
• your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)
• an email address
• information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
• details of your income, for example payslip
• details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
• details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs
If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get.
You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example your:
• driving licence
• debit or credit card
Following completion of your online application, the DWP will contact you by telephone (this is likely to be from a ‘withheld’ or ‘0800’ number) to finalise your application.
Do I still have to pay my rent?
Rent will continue to be charged on a weekly basis. We know that this might be concerning for you during a time when your circumstances and income may have significantly changed. We will work with you to continue to support you through these challenges. Please just get in touch using the contact details above.
I’m not sure what I am entitled to. Can you help me?
We have a Financial Inclusion team who can advise you on making a claim for benefits as well as a Support and Progression team who can offer you more in depth support.
Alternatively you can visit www.entitledto.co.uk/benefits-calculator to check if you’re eligible to make a claim for benefits. You can contact our Financial Inclusion Team on Financial.email@example.com or 0191 278 8600.
I’ve heard that mortgage lenders are offering 3 month mortgage payment holidays. Can I have 3 months off from paying my rent?
It is true that mortgage lenders are offering payment holidays for up to 3 months for people whose income has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. This will need to be paid back to lenders, and interest is likely to be added.
To help renters, the Government has introduced additional support through the benefit system, which means that you may now be entitled to claim for your rent to be ‘paid’ whilst your income is affected. Please visit www.entitledto.co.uk/benefits-calculator to check if you are eligible for help with paying your rent.
As landlords cannot pursue legal action or seek an eviction for the next 6 months, does this mean that I don’t have to pay my rent during this time?
Rent and service charges will continue to be charged on a weekly basis in line with your tenancy agreement, so you need to ensure that your rent is paid on time. If you are unable to make these payments, please contact your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as you can.
I already have a payment arrangement or court order in place on my account. What do I do?
If your income has not been affected by the social distancing measures put in place to tackle coronavirus, 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 contact your Income Collection team on 0191 278 8600 to discuss your account. We will assess your current agreement or court order to make sure this is still affordable for you.
Advice for businesses
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to affect every business in Newcastle in different ways.
The Government have announced several support schemes to support both businesses, employees and self-employed workers. Due to the eligibility criteria of some schemes we do advise that you check that you are eligible at the earliest opportunity.
All schemes can be found by visiting the Newcastle City Council website.
The North East Growth Hub also have a Covid-19 toolkit on their website to help local business plan for and respond to the virus.
If you do require advice or support until these scheme starts to make payments please contact us as soon as possible by emailing Financial.firstname.lastname@example.org or to speak to our income team call 0191 278 8600.
I am self employed and work has stopped, what do I do?
The Government have announced a scheme for the self employed worker group with payment due in June 2020. For those people who are eligible the HMRC will contact you individually and invite you to apply online via GOV.UK
Due to the eligibility criteria, we do advise that all residents to check they are eligible prior to HMRC contacting you by visiting the GOV.UK website. One key area of eligibility is that you must have completed your self-assessment tax return for 2018 -19 by 23/04/20, if you have not already done so.
If you do require advice or support until this scheme starts to make payments please contact our Financial Inclusion team on Financial.email@example.com, or call your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600.
I am an existing Universal Credit claimant. Will I need to update my journal with my rent changes?
Yes, from the 6th April 2020 all existing Universal Credit claimants will have a ‘to do’ action on their journals.
Using the information provided on your individual rent increase letter, sent early March 2020, you will be able to complete all elements. Failing to complete this action within your assessment period will result in a reduced benefit payment.
Information for customers who pay by direct debit
You will receive a notification from Allpay, who facilitates our direct debit system, to inform you of changes to your direct debit mandates. Amendments have taken into account the annual rent and service charge increase and the current position of your rent account, both credits and arrears. If you have any concerns about your new payment amounts please contact your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as possible.
Further support and information
Independent Advice can be found at
Your Homes Newcastle in partnership with Newcastle City Council will continue to update our websites if anything changes over the coming weeks.
As the situation is changing on a daily basis, please keep in touch with us if your situation changes so we can support you.