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At Your Homes Newcastle we know that this is a worrying time and we understand that your employment or earnings may have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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.inclusion@yhn.org.uk, or call your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as you can.

As a tenant, should I stop paying my rent during the pandemic?

You are still legally obliged to pay rent and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability. It’s important that you contact us as soon as possible if you are having any difficulties in making your rent payments.

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 get in touch with our Financial Inclusion team on Financial.inclusion@yhn.org.uk, or call your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as you can.

What can I do if I fall behind on my rent payments?

We understand that your circumstances and income may have changed and that this may have resulted in a missed payment. It’s important to let us know as soon as possible if this is the case, or if you think you may struggle to make any future payments.

By getting in touch, we can discuss making a temporary payment arrangement so that you can pay off your arrears. We can also postpone seeking a notice of possession until an agreed later date.

Seeking possession of a property: Protection for tenants under the Coronavirus Act 2020 – What has changed?

You may have heard of the Government’s new Coronavirus Act 2020. The Act applies to most tenants in private and social rented housing.

Under this Act, all possession notices issued from 29 August 2020 will provide six months’ notice to tenants, apart from in the most serious cases. This will remain in force until at least 31 March 2021.

In more serious cases, for example if a notice is issued because of anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, rioting, false statement, or if over six months’ of rent arrears has been accrued, the 6 month notice period will not apply and will revert to a four-week notice period, or can even be brought sooner for very serious cases.

If you were issued with a notice between 26 March – 28 August 2020 then the required notice period will remain at 3 months from the issued date of the notice.

We strongly encourage that you contact us if you are having difficulties paying rent. We will only issue a notice as a final resort. Please get in touch with our Financial Inclusion team on Financial.inclusion@yhn.org.uk, or call your Income Collection Officer on 0191 278 8600 as soon as you can.

If I pay my former tenant arrears can I be rehoused?

You can still apply for rehousing if you have former tenant arrears. Paying any former tenant arrears in full to YHN is a good way to assist with your housing application, however if you are unable to do this you can contact debtrecovery@yhn.org.uk and ask for a payment plan. If you have any further questions about your housing application please contact the Housing Solutions Team – housingsolutions@yhn.org.uk or telephone 0191 278 8600.

I have lost my job and unable to pay my rent

If you have lost your job and are worried about the impact that this may have on your income, 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.

For help and advice, you can contact our Financial Inclusion Team on Financial.inclusion@yhn.org.uk or 0191 278 8600. For more advice on rent and finances during COVID-19, visit our advice page.

I am struggling with applying for benefits and need some assistance?

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.

You can contact our Financial Inclusion Team on Financial.inclusion@yhn.org.uk or 0191 278 8600. For more advice on rent and finances during COVID-19, visit our advice page www.yhn.org.uk/coronavirus.

Alternatively you can visit www.entitledto.co.uk/benefits-calculator to check if you’re eligible to make a claim for benefits.

For information on Government support and advice, visit: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support