Coronavirus information

We have updated this page in May 2021 following the recent updated easements out of lockdown guidance from Government.

We have made some changes to the options you will hear when you call us on 0300 1234 161.

If you want to speak with a member of our customer service team, you will be able to choose from the following 3 options:

Automated service to make a rent payment, please press 2
For repairs and maintenance, please press 3
For all other Housing enquires please press 4
We still have some restrictions to our service in line with current government guidelines, but we will try to help you. Our opening hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

You can also contact us by emailing us on info@cornwallhousing.org.uk

We know that many of you have questions about how our housing service has changed in response to coronavirus. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We have continued to re-introduce our services in a staged approach under Government guidelines. We have also updated our Risk Assessments and Safe Working Practices to keep pace with the latest advice via our Health and Safety teams to keep you and our teams safe.

Throughout the response to coronavirus, our vital services have been and will continue to be in place for you:

  • Help if you are currently or at risk of being homeless – contact the Prevention and Engagement team
  • Help if you are worried about paying rent - contact your Rent Management Officer
  • Urgent property repairs – call 0300 1234 161 option 3 to report any urgent repairs
  • Gas and other servicing – we’ll continue to service your boiler
  • Looking after our supported housing residents

You can continue to call 0300 1234 161 for all these services.

We are continuing to carry out various non-urgent repairs and are continuing the process to deliver our planned upgrade programmes to improve your homes during this continued phased return out of UK Government restrictions. Our teams are fully equipped to make sure that both they and you are protected when they visit your home. We ask that you please continue to keep a suitable distance to allow them to work safely.

Please contact us if you have an appointment for one of our team to visit your home and you are uneasy about the visit, are feeling unwell or self-isolating.

Our workers will be following the Government guidance carefully. We will not enter your home if you are unwell or self-isolating unless it is an emergency.

Questions and answers

Repairs and maintenance

When will a repair be made to my home?

We will continue to prioritise urgent and emergency work in your home but you are now also able to book appointments for non-urgent repairs Following the positive news of the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

We are now in a position to start returning to a normal repair service. We will continue to prioritise all essential safety checks and any emergency and urgent repairs. If your repair is not urgent, there may still be a waiting time due to the need to prioritise emergency works.

It is essential for your own safety that during this time you continue to provide us access for essential safety checks such as gas, oil, solid fuel and other heating systems.

We are now working to catch up on the backlog of repairs. Please report any routine repair requests to us and we will look to provide you with an appointment. If we are unable to provide you with an appointment straight away, we will log your request and contact you within 2 weeks to make a suitable appointment.

What are urgent and emergency repairs?

We ask you to remember that we only consider an emergency or urgent works to be:

  • A serious threat to your health and safety, such as a gas leak or dangerous electrical fault;
  • Major damage to the structure of the building;
  • A security problem (not including lost keys) for doors, garages and windows;
  • Prolonged loss of services, such as gas, water or electricity that results in a serious impact to the health or safety of you or your household
  • An uncontainable water leak;
  • A fault with communal lighting;
  • No heating or hot water (three day priority May-October);
  • A cooker switch fault;
  • A fault with an electric shower and no bath in the property;
  • Blocked drains; or
  • You are homeless tonight due to not having suitable accommodation available for your occupation.

You can find more information on the out of hours emergencies page.

We will help you through the emergency and call an operative to help where applicable.

If an operative visits your home to deal with a repair, they will provide you with a leaflet detailing the measures for that visit, which include;

  • You will need to open the door and then go into a different room before the operative enters. The operative will wipe down the front door if they have to touch it;
  • They will use protective equipment and clean the area they are working in before and after. Your household will need to remain in a different room for the entirety of the appointment; and
  • They will make the situation safe, and we will contact you about any follow-up work if required.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Paying rent

How do I pay my rent now, I normally pay in a building that is currently closed?

You can make a payment by calling the automated payment line on 0300 1234 200 - option 7, as well as online. You can also call your bank and arrange for a standing order payment.

I can’t pay rent due to losing my job/ loss of self-employed work, what help can I get?

We are here to help, please contact one of our Rent Management officers or inclusion advisors for further help. Tenants that are now out of work will need to apply for Universal Credit as fast as possible. The Government have offered to help those that are not being paid a salary or had their hours cut. You can find more information about this on the Gov.uk website.

Support for Cornwall Council Tenants affected by the Covid-19

How do I apply for Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) replaces income related benefits such as:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support,
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit

To apply for Universal Credit:

  • Sign up and create an account on the Gov.uk website
  • You will need make your first appointment over the phone. If you cannot get through on the phone then write a note on your journal in your Universal Credit account. You must include your contact number and say that you need to make this appointment
  • The first payment of UC will not be for five weeks, however you should be offered an advance which can be organised after your first appointment. This is paid back monthly from your ongoing Universal Credit award
  • If you have been receiving Tax Credits whilst working, then your Tax Credits will stop as UC replaces tax credits 
  • Universal Credit also replaces Housing Benefit. You will be paid help with your housing costs as part of the monthly award and you need to pay your landlord. Speak to your Rent Management Officer if you have any questions
  • You need to claim Council Tax support separately to Universal Credit. You can make a claim on the Council's Council Tax Support pages. If you have difficulties online, then you can ring 0300 1234 121

If you have any questions, then your Universal Credit work coaches are there to help. You can message them on your online journals. If you ring the telephone number on your claim, then you should get through to the local UC Service Centre. Or, for general information you can contact your Cornwall Housing Inclusion Advisor. The Inclusion Advisors do try and contact all tenants who make a Universal Credit claim.

I’m on a court order what should I do?

You should continue paying your rent and any arrears as outlined within your court order. If you are struggling, please contact your Rent Management officer or an inclusion advisor.

The government said that we do not have to pay rent for three months?

You still need to continue paying your rent. We are here to help if you get stuck.

What can I do if I have made a claim for Universal Credit and can’t get through on the phones to book an appointment?

Write a note on your journal saying you have not managed to get through on the phone and include your telephone number.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Communal services

When will communal cleaning in flats and grounds maintenance resume?

Grounds maintenance (incl. tree work) and cleaning of communal areas, have continued with no restrictions other than social distancing guidelines since 1 June 2020. This includes the following work:

  • Roofing replacements;
  • Paint and repair contracts;
  • Facia board replacement and rainwater goods;
  • External wall insulation;
  • External structural wall works;
  • Communal area works (for example door entry systems, decoration, flooring, electrics);
  • Ground maintenance;
  • Tree cutting; and
  • External adaptations.

All work will be completed following social distancing guidelines. The safety and wellbeing of our teams and our communities is our top priority.

Homechoice

Am I able to bid on a property using Homechoice?

The Homechoice system re-opened in June 2020 and has remained fully operational for bidding cycles.

Please note that some libraries and other facilities with public access to WiFi have reopened to the public. Please check with your local Library. Other facilities currently remain closed. As such, you will not be able to use these facilities to access the Homechoice system.

Council sites will be reviewed in June for reopening to the Public no earlier than 21 June, in line with the UK Government’s Exit Roadmap.