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Resuming our property lettings service

Following the latest Government advice on moving homes during the Covid-19 outbreak, we have put plans into place for resuming property advertising and bidding through Tyne & Wear Homes.

To help ensure the safety of residents and customers, we will be taking a phased approach to reintroducing the service, prioritising those in most urgent need.

During this initial phase, we will be focusing on supporting customers who had been offered or had successfully bid on properties prior to March 23rd when lockdown restrictions were officially announced.

We will resume property advertising from Thursday 25th June to allow time to process sign-ups agreed prior to lockdown measures coming into force.

From Thursday 25th June a limited number of ready-to-let properties will be advertised each week to ensure that we can carry out the lettings and allocations process while following Government’s social distancing guidance to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.

Social distancing measures and delays in supply chains also mean it may take longer than usual for properties to be made ready for letting. In light of this, we will continue to review the number of properties advertised and hope to increase the number available when we are able to.

We anticipate a high demand for property lettings and would like to thank customers for their patience while we work to fully reinstate the service.

If you were due to complete a tenancy sign-up or move prior to lockdown, or had been successful in your bid, a member of our Housing Services team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

New applicants can still register on www.tyneandwearhomes.org.uk and applications from people in urgent need of housing will, for the time being, be assessed by the Emergency Allocations Panel on a daily basis.

If you wish to check on the progress of your bid then you can view your account on www.tyneandwearhomes.org.uk. If you have any queries, please contact us in the first instance via email at: housingsolutions@yhn.org.uk

If you want to talk to a member of the team about your housing application and have any general questions then you should contact us on our usual number 0191 278 8600 – if we cannot answer your query straight away we will transfer your call to a member of the Housing Solutions Team.

If you are over the age of 55 and interested in applying for sheltered or Extra Care accommodation, please contact the Housing Plus team on 0191 278 8585 or email yourtimeyourspace@yhn.org.uk to find out more.

To ensure the safety of our customers and staff, social distancing measures will include:

• Carrying out a virtual viewing for some of our properties so that you can view a video of the property before you attend.
Please only ask for a viewing in person if you are certain that the home could be right for you.
• You must maintain a 2-metre distance between yourself and the Housing Services Officer at all times during property viewings.
• The property will be open for you to view yourself while the Housing Services Officer remains outside.
• No more than two people should attend the viewing from the same household.
• Please avoid touching surfaces within the property.
• Please bring your own pen to sign the Tenancy Agreement.
• Once signed, the Tenancy Agreement should be left on the step of the property as you leave for our Housing Services Officer to collect.

We appreciate that some customers may be anxious about moving and in line with government guidance no one will be put under pressure to move, especially if you are not ready or able to do so.

We will discuss your health, level of vulnerability and what arrangements you have in place before proceeding with a move.

If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating then we will avoid moving you. We appreciate that there may be exceptions to this. For example; for reasons of safety. In these scenarios we will work with you to ensure the appropriate medical guidance is sought and followed.

If you are shielding or clinically vulnerable, we will also avoid moving you because you are in the extremely vulnerable group. Again, we appreciate that there may be exceptions to this and will seek appropriate advice.

  • I placed a bid before lockdown. When will I be informed if I have been successful?
  • Our Housing Services team are currently informing customers if they have been successfully shortlisted for a property. You will be invited to a viewing once the property is ready to let.

  • I was allocated a property before lockdown. How long will it be until I can complete sign-up?
  • Our Housing Services team will be in touch to arrange an appointment for you to sign-up as soon as possible. There may be a delay when the service first resumes as we work our way through all of our customers so please bear with us.

  • I need support with registering or completing my property application. Can I visit your Hubs for help?
  • For the time being our Customer Service Hubs remain closed. If you need help with your application, please contact our Housing Solutions team by email at Housingsolutions@yhn.org.uk.

  • When will properties be advertised again?
  • We have been working hard to ensure the safety of our staff and customers and will be reopening the Tyne & Wear Homes allocations process on Thursday 25th June with a smaller number of ready-to-let properties available through www.tyneandwearhomes.org.uk

    Social distancing measures and delays in supply chains mean it may take longer than usual for properties to be made ready to let. In light of this, we will continue to review the number of properties advertised and hope to increase the number available when we are able to.

  • How will social distancing guidelines be followed during property viewings or sign-ups?
  • We will be adopting the use of video tours for advertised properties as much as possible.
    When in-person property viewings are required, social distancing measures will include:

    • Door handles and work surfaces in properties will be wiped clean between visits, or visits will be scheduled 72 hours apart.
    • You must maintain a 2-metre distance between yourself and the Housing Services Officer at all times during property viewings.
    • The property will be open for you to view yourself while the Housing Services Officer remains outside.
    • No more than two people should attend the viewing from the same household.
    • Please avoid touching surfaces within the property.
    • Please bring your own pen to sign the Tenancy Agreement and other paperwork
    • Once signed, the Tenancy Agreement should be left on the step of the property as you leave for our Housing Services Officer to collect.

    We will discuss your health, level of vulnerability and what arrangements you have in place before proceeding with a move.

    If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolating, shielding or clinically vulnerable then we will avoid moving you. We appreciate that there may be exceptions to this, for example, for reasons of safety. In these scenarios we will work with you to ensure the appropriate medical guidance is sought and followed.

    If you are shielding or clinically vulnerable, we will also avoid moving you because you are in the extremely vulnerable group. Again, we appreciate that there may be exceptions to this and will seek appropriate medical advice.

  • I am planning to move out of my current home. Can this still go ahead as usual?
  • You still need to contact us to let us know you are moving. Our Housing Services team will contact you ahead of your tenancy ending to ensure that you are safely able to move out and confirm that you still wish to go ahead with the move. Keys do not need to be returned to our Housing Services Offices.

  • I am in urgent need for housing. What do I do?
  • If you think you are in urgent and immediate need of housing and have nowhere to stay you can contact Newcastle City Council’s Housing Advice Centre. Please do not attend the Housing Advice Centre in person as the building will be closed. Instead, please phone 0191 277 1712 or 0191 277 1716 or email housingadvicecentre@newcastle.gov.uk.