YOUR HOUSING

Coronavirus – Updated advice for residents

We want to keep you updated on the changes we have made to our services as part of our efforts to support the containment of COVID-19. We’re continuing to deliver essential services but wanted to advise you of the changes and how these may affect you:

Paying your rent
If you’re worried about being able to pay your rent, or as a result of COVID 19, are worried that this may affect your income i.e. due to your hours of work being reduced or you are self-employed and are having to self-isolate, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss how we can support you. Our Rents Team can help you to reduce living costs, lower bills and help you to access available benefits and prevent debt. We can also support you by making referrals to other organisations if you are experiencing hardship managing with day to day essentials.

Contact Rents on 01253 477900 select option 1. If our lines are busy, please leave a message and a member of our team will get back to you. You can also email us at rent@bch.co.uk

Reporting repairs
We are operating a full Repairs service and your repairs can be reported to us as normal by calling 01253 477900 and selecting option 2. Our phone lines may be busy and we appreciate your patience during this time. You can also report repairs by email to repairs@bch.co.uk.

When you contact us to report a repair, we will ask if you are self-isolating because of COVID-19. If you are, we will share this with our staff so that we can assess the level of risk to our operatives.

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19, our operatives may attend wearing protective clothing, such as masks or gloves and please don’t worry if they ask you to keep at a distance while they carry out the repair, this is to ensure we work safely and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

It will take us some time to catch up on the backlog of repairs, we will get them completed as soon as we can and we thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Gas safety checks
The latest Government guidance on COVID-19 requires us as your landlord to continue to carry out these statutory safety checks at properties where the current certificate is due for renewal. To ensure the safety of both you our customer and our engineers we are taking the following appropriate precautions to avoid spreading or contracting the virus:

Booking an appointment and carrying out safety inspections

  • When booking an appointment we will ask if you are self-isolating because of COVID-19.
  • Our engineers may attend wearing protective clothing, such as masks or gloves and are following enhanced hygiene procedures.
  • We ask that you keep a distance of 2 metres from our engineer while they carry out the check, this is to ensure we work safely and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Please contact us:

  • If you or your family are self-isolating, we will only book an appointment 14 days following the end of your isolation period.
  • If you have been informed by the Government or NHS that you have to self-isolate because you are ‘medically vulnerable’ please contact us so we can arrange an appointment after your isolation period has ended.

If you have contacted us to rearrange your appointment and yet receive one of our warning letters demanding access, please ignore this letter.

If you are living in our sheltered accommodation
If you are a resident living in Sheltered accommodation, our officers are offering a regular intercom call and are prioritising those of you with no family support. We will continue to respond to emergency requests for support and coordinating our response with Vitaline, our contractors as well as relevant statutory services.

ASB and Neighbourhoods
The Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) service is here to support customers experiencing ASB during these difficult times. Cases will continue to be opened and investigated and appropriate action taken, although customer contact will be by phone and/or email in the majority. Home Visits will not routinely take place. 

If you are suffering from High Level ASB, your case will be prioritised. High Level cases include:

  • being a victim of threats of/use of actual violence
  • incidents of domestic abuse
  • hate crime.

Anyone reporting these types of ASB can expect to have a response from a member of the team within 1 working day.

All other types of ASB should be reported to us by phone/email. If our lines are busy you will be able to leave a message and a member of the team will ring you back as quickly as possible. These reports will be acknowledged within 7 working days.

In order to keep the service running as smoothly as possible, please do not contact the service again before the response timescales have passed, unless there is an escalation of the behaviour you’re experiencing.

Remember that if anyone is in immediate danger you should always call the police first on 999.  If you feel government guidelines are not being followed, please contact the police on 101 or via the website www.lancashire.police.uk in the first instance.

Planned works
We are resuming Planned Works at a number of sites and our team will be in touch with residents affected in advance, to make sure you are reassured before we visit your home, along with explanation of our safe working practices.

If you have any queries you can contact the team by email at assets@bch.co.uk

Care and Repair and Adaptations
Although we have suspended face to face appointments, our Care and Repair service is available by phone 01253 47900 select option 4 then option 2 or email care&repair@bch.co.uk.

We are contacting customers who require major adaptations in their homes to help with living independently.

Our Occupational Therapists and Contractors have developed safe working practices, in line with the Government’s guidance on COVID-19 and will be in touch with customers to discuss their individual circumstances and book an assessment of their home.

For any enquiries please contact the team on 01253 476679 or email adaptations@bch.co.uk

MyHomeChoice
MyHomeChoice is a partnership of housing providers across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the partners are providing a limited service and may not be advertising properties at this time. For further information on this please visit the Partners Page for contact information.

Right to Buy Applications
We continue to accept applications made by post/email but can only complete the initial stage of processing at this time. Property surveys have been temporarily suspended to avoid non-essential face to face contact and therefore all Right to Buy applications are currently on hold.

Leasehold customers
Our Homeownership team is on hand to support you and answer any queries you may have. You can contact the team on T: 01253 477900 (select option 4 then hold to leave a message including a contact number if you want us to return your call) or email: homeownership@bch.co.uk.

Community activities
Following guidance from the Government on limiting face to face contact with potential vulnerable people we have temporarily suspended a number of community events and meetings. These include our Community Awards, TOWER and Customer Panel meetings, estate walkabouts, Empty Homes Inspector meetings and activities delivered from our community centres.

Green spaces and communal gardens
We have now resumed grass cutting and are operating a reduced grounds maintenance service with a reduction in staffing levels. Our Contractors will be visiting all sites but the frequency of visits might be affected as we continue to work according to Government guidelines on social distancing.

The Assisted Gardening Service has recommenced and normal routine visits will follow until the end of the season. Our partnering contractor, Fylde Borough Council, will adhere to all current health and safety guidance whilst carrying out this service and we ask that you do not approach staff whilst they are on site. We thank you for your patience during this time.

Please note, when using the communal gardens please take care to adhere to the guidance on social distancing from Public Health England here

More Positive Together

If you are struggling to gain employment or worried that you may be at risk of being unemployed and would like some help to get back into work, you can contact the team by phone on 01253 477920 or email mpt@bch.co.uk

If you are over 70
If you are over 70 and not living in our sheltered accommodation you may have received a call from us asking if you are okay and whether you need any support.

If you haven’t please can you contact us on 01253 477900 and select option 3, in the coming days we will be sending out a letter to you to ask for your up to date contact details.

Please note you may experience an increase in waiting times or have to try again as our phone lines may be very busy. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience during this time.

Thank you for your co-operation and we will continue to keep you updated on our service delivery.

 

Help and advice on COVID-19
If you have any concerns about COVID-19 you should follow the NHS and Public Health England guidance.

NHS – health information and advice on COVID-19:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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1 comment

  1. Mark Elliott 29 March, 2020 at 14:38 Reply

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    As a leaseholder, I was wondering if the annual service charge bills are going to be sent out on time (ie. imminently) or if they are going to be delayed due to covid 19?

    This is just so I know not to worry about receiving a terse notice about missing payments if the bill is delayed in reaching me due to resourcing problems experienced by Royal Mail.

    Thanks.

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