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[Last updated 25/06/20 at 18.00]

We would like to reassure all customers that in this ever changing situation, we will continue to act upon government announcements and will change our guidance and advice accordingly. We will keep this page regularly updated as things progress.

Safety on home visits

  • All possible physical interactions between colleagues and customers have been carefully risk assessed by our team of health and safety specialists. These include things like a neighbourhood coach visiting your home, an engineer completing a scheduled repair in your property, or a contractor coming to carry out your annual gas safety check. Assessments have followed the government’s strict ‘covid secure’ guidelines and training has been provided to colleagues to ensure we can keep everyone safe at all times.
  • Before we arrive, the colleague or engineer will call you in advance to let you know we are on our way. This way you can prepare for our arrival and remind yourself of the steps we need you to take.

    On arrival, we will want to ensure we maintain our social distance at all times and for this reason we would like it if you could stay in a different room to where a repair or service is being completed. If this is not possible, for example if a neighbourhood coach needs to talk to you directly, we ask if you can maintain a two metre distance at all times.

    Please also keep your property well ventilated throughout the visit by opening doors and windows where possible.
  • All our risk assessments focus on social distancing as the core control. Colleagues will also be practicing good hand hygiene by using certified hand sanitiser and will be wearing disposable gloves throughout their visit. Colleagues will be provided with face coverings which they may also be wearing, however as we will be maintaining adequate social distancing this is not a mandatory requirement. If you would prefer us to wear a face covering during the visit, just let us know when we call ahead so we can arrange this for you.
  • We have reviewed all our contractors risk assessments and, as a minimum, they too will be following the same controls as Bromford colleagues.
  • If you or someone in your household is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms we need you to let us know in advance by filling in this quick form on this page.

    We will not be carrying out non-urgent repairs in homes where you or a member of your household is self-isolating or shielding. Please call us once your self-isolation or shielding has ended and we will be happy to book an appointment for your repair. If the request relates to an emergency or safety critical repair, we will be able to complete this for you once you have followed a few simple steps which are in accordance with the guidance from Public Health England: 

    • To remain in another room with the door closed if possible, and to maintain adequate social distancing at all times. This means being at least two metres away from any worker as they complete the repair. We also ask that doors and windows remain open to ventilate the area  
    • The engineer will wear protective gloves and use certified hand sanitizer before and after the visit. Once finished, they will take their gloves away with them and dispose of them off site.

    This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both customers and colleagues and you will appreciate that our engineer might have to remove themselves from the property if this guidance isn’t followed.

Contacting us

  • Yes. However, we are having to manage significant demand so it is possible you may experience a delay in us responding to your call – but please be patient and we will answer as soon as we possibly can. Please consider avoiding calling during peak periods, first thing in the morning or over the lunch period. There are many services you can use online, such as paying your rent or checking your latest rent statement, you can go online at: 

    www.bromford.co.uk for Bromford customers 

    www.merlinhs.co.uk if you have a Merlin tenancy 

    www.svhs.org.uk if you have a Severn Vale Housing Association tenancy  

  • The vast majority of our neighbourhood coaches are working and are doing this remotely via telephone and video chat where possible.  There are some essential activities which they will be doing on patch.  Please contact them in the normal way.  If for any reason they are not available, they will leave a message on their phone and email telling you who to contact in their absence. 

    Find your neighbourhood coach 

  • All of our offices are now closed to customers until further notice. If you have a query, please contact your neighbourhood coach, who will be able to assist you. 

    Find your neighbourhood coach

Repairs

  • Prior to the government’s updated advice around the coronavirus pandemic, and the letter they issued on 18 May, we had started the gradual process of reopening our repairs service. We are pleased to say that we are relaxing our temporary suspension of non-emergency repairs which means you can now start to report any non-urgent repairs around your home through your online account. We continue to complete emergency and safety critical repairs as before.

    As we hope you can appreciate, the team is currently working through a significant backlog of requests which means we will be booking these jobs in first as well as continuing to prioritise emergency and safety critical repairs. To ensure we continue to maintain adequate social distancing, we will initially complete smaller repairs jobs such as plumbing which can be carried out by a single engineer in a single day.

    Confirmed appointments will not be issued straight away, however we hope to return to our normal service as soon as possible.

    If you've recently moved into one of our new build homes you may still be within the defects period, during which time the housebuilder is responsible for putting things right. Please report any issues to us as usual but be aware that many developers have not yet restarted their defects programmes so there will be a delay before any non-urgent work is completed.

  • As lockdown measures start to ease, we will be opening up some of the services we offer and are starting to plan how we can carry out more routine works in your homes. We have been offering an emergency and safety critical repairs service for seven weeks now which means there will be a considerable backlog of non-urgent repairs. As it stands, we are reviewing these repairs customers had previously reported prior to lockdown as a priority but would like to encourage you to start telling us about non-urgent repairs in your home. Please do this via the website where possible so we can keep our telephone lines clear for those with an emergency need. 

  • We are encouraging customers to tell us about non-urgent repairs in the home by visiting this page (for legacy Bromford customers). If you already have an online account, you can log your repair here. If you do call us and have an online account already set up you will be re-directed to our website.

    For legacy Merlin customers, you can report any non-urgent repairs by clicking here and for legacy Severn Vale customers you can visit this page and log your request through your online account.


  • For legacy Bromford and Severn Vale customers, if you don’t already have an online account the good news is it’s really quick and easy to set one up. For legacy Bromford customers simply visit this page and for legacy Severn Vale customers you can click here – all you will need is your account/tenancy reference number which can found on your latest rent review letter.

    You will be able to log your current repairs request and any others moving forward. Once you are set up, it’s worth exploring because there are lots of other great things that you can do online without having to call us.

  • We will continue to keep you informed on the status of your repair. There is no need to call us as we will be working through the backlog of repairs and getting you an appointment booked in as quickly as possible. If you feel that your original repair request is now an emergency, something that may cause injury or damage to your home, then please let us know as quickly as possible.

    If the repair that has been reported requires more than two operatives to carry out the work, you may need to wait a little longer as we are initially prioritising smaller repairs jobs such as plumbing, but again we will keep you posted as we open up more of our services and return to some kind of normality.

  • As we begin the phased reopening of services, we are pleased to say we will also start to offer parts of our planned maintenance programme. We need to be sure we can do this in a way that ensures the safety of both customers and colleagues and so initially we will prioritise external and common area works such as cyclical painting followed by window and door replacements. The next phase will then look at reintroducing kitchen and bathroom upgrades and we will keep you up to date on the timescales for this. If you were due to have your kitchen or bathroom replaced before we had to introduce service changes as a result of coronavirus, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to update you on when you can expect this to take place.

  • If you or someone in your household is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms we need you to let us know in advance by filling in this quick form on this page.

    We will not be carrying out non-urgent repairs in homes where you or a member of your household is self-isolating or shielding. Please call us once your self-isolation or shielding has ended and we will be happy to book an appointment for your repair. If the request relates to an emergency or safety critical repair, we will be able to complete this for you once you have followed a few simple steps which are in accordance with the guidance from Public Health England: 

    • To remain in another room with the door closed if possible, and to maintain adequate social distancing at all times. This means being at least two metres away from any worker as they complete the repair. We also ask that doors and windows remain open to ventilate the area  
    • The engineer will wear protective gloves and use certified hand sanitizer before and after the visit. Once finished, they will take their gloves away with them and dispose of them off site.

    This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both customers and colleagues and you will appreciate that our engineer might have to remove themselves from the property if this guidance isn’t followed.

  • As we appreciate the circumstances of each customer could be quite different, we will need to consider each request on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your neighbourhood coach in the first instance. If you don’t know who your coach is, you can find out using our handy search function here.

Safety and compliance

  • We continue to deliver this service, as we have throughout the lockdown, to ensure customer safety. This approach has been confirmed in the government’s updated advice around the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you have an appointment already booked but you or someone in your household is now self-isolating and/or have a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case, please contact us as soon as possible. In this instance we will defer the gas service until the self-isolation period has ended and there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus within the household.

  • We want to ensure our customers are safe and so we will continue to carry out these tests as planned, as we have done throughout this period. Again this approach has been confirmed in the government’s updated advice around the coronavirus pandemic.

    We will defer any tests in homes where customers are self-isolating with symptoms or if there is a confirmed case. Please let us know if this applies to you and we will rearrange our visit until your period of self-isolation has ended

  • We are continuing with our planned electrical inspection programme as we have done throughout this period. However, if you have an appointment already booked, but you or someone in your household is now self-isolating and/or have a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case, please fill out this form to let us know as soon as possible. In this instance we will defer the electrical inspection until the self-isolation period has ended and there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus within the household.

  • It is important we continue to complete safety inspection/work. All our engineers have been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to enable them to safely carry out work inside your home whilst complying with the guidelines around social distancing and good hygiene.

  • If you have received a letter from the NHS advising you to shield for 12 weeks, our aim is to continue completing any safety related works such as gas servicing or any emergency or safety critical repair. To enable us to do this, we will need you to let us know in advance by filling in this quick form on this page.

    We also need you to follow a few simple steps which are in accordance with the guidance from Public Health England: 

    • To remain at least two metres away from any worker, or ideally in another room, with the door closed. We will ask that doors and windows remain open to ventilate the area  
    • The engineer will wear protective gloves and use certified hand sanitizer before and after the visit, before disposing of the gloves off site.  

    This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both you and our colleagues and you will appreciate that our engineer might have to remove themselves from the property if this guidance isn’t followed.

     

  • Now that we are recommencing the gradual reopening of services, all of our tree and grounds maintenance work will return to normal whilst following stringent new working practices around hygiene and social distancing. This includes ensuring areas close to road junctions remain safe and accessible to the general public as well as making sure customers can access open spaces safely at schemes. As you will appreciate, the team is working through a backlog and we thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding. All play parks, however, have been closed for the time being.

  • All our risk assessments focus on social distancing as the core control. Colleagues will also be practicing good hand hygiene by using certified hand sanitiser and will be wearing disposable gloves throughout their visit. Colleagues will be provided with face coverings which they may also be wearing, however as we will be maintaining adequate social distancing this is not a mandatory requirement. If you would prefer us to wear a face covering during the visit, just let us know when we call ahead so we can arrange this for you.

Rent

  • We are always here to support customers to sustain their tenancies, and we will provide support where we can to anyone that has concerns about paying their rent. If you are struggling to pay your rent because you have been impacted by coronavirus, we would ask you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.   

    In order to continue to provide our services and to maintain your homes, we must still collect rent, but no customer will be evicted for being unable to pay their rent because of the impact of coronavirus.   

    We commit to not taking any unreasonable action to recover rent arrears that accrue during any period of financial difficulty resulting from the impact of the virus. We will work with our customers to find affordable solutions in order to help people through the difficulties they are experiencing.   

    Our aim is always to do everything possible to ensure our customers can sustain their tenancies and remain in their homes. 

  • Please call your neighbourhood coach, we are here to help. Your neighbourhood coach will be able to talk you through your circumstances and provide advice.

    You can find the details for your neighbourhood coach here.

    Alternatively you can also contact a member of our customer services team by contacting us here.

    If required, a member of our customer services team or your neighbourhood coach can refer you through to an income management adviser to contact you to discuss your situation with you in more detail.  

  • For customers impacted by coronavirus who are: 

    • already claiming benefits 
    • needing to make a new claim for financial support 
    • employed or self employed  

    Please follow the link to the guidance provided by the government in relation to the various options available for extra support and measures, including claiming sick pay and Universal Credit. 

Where I live

Moving home (excluding shared ownership, outright sale)

  • We have homes under construction across many sites and each are at different stages of build. We’ve returned to work on all construction sites following the easing of lockdown, however we are following strict social distancing rules and safe working practices which means that progress with some of our new build homes will be slower than previously anticipated. We are liaising closely with development partners to understand when we may be able to receive handover of new homes.  
     
    We will be contacting all customers who were being considered for a new build home over the next three to four weeks. If you have not heard from us by Friday 3 July please email lettingsservice@bromford.co.uk and someone will be in touch. 

  • We have changed many of our ways of working to ensure customer and colleague safety. We will no longer visit you in your own home if that can be avoided, and instead we will carry out video or telephone interviews with you when we do our pre tenancy checks. 
     
    Where possible we will carry out all viewings of our homes virtually. This means you will receive a short video or photographs of the property rather than being able to view the property in person. If this is not possible then we may be able to arrange for you to view the home in person as long as social distancing measures are maintained. This is likely to mean that your neighbourhood coach would remain outside the property whilst you take a look around. 
     
    In addition to these changes, all customers will receive a new tenancy contract by email for consideration and agreement and then customers will be advised how to access their new home. 
     
    If you find any of the new process particularly difficult please discuss this with our lettings colleagues who will try to help with an alternative arrangement. 
     
    If you are already a Bromford customer and you are moving to another Bromford home we will need to visit you in your home, this is explained more in the question below. 

  • You will probably know that we have not been able to allow our customers to move to another home with us since 23 March, unless there have been very urgent circumstances. We are pleased to say that we will be able to agree to moving our customers to another Bromford home from Monday 22 June. 
     
    You will still need to apply for a move in the usual way and this is through applying to join the housing waiting list run by your local council or on Homes Direct. You can find more information about how to apply to your local council on our website by following this link. 
     
    If you are successfully shortlisted, we will contact you to explain next steps. One of the things we will need to do is come out to visit you in your existing home to check that you have kept to your tenancy agreement. We will not usually agree to a move if there is any damage to the property or you have broken your tenancy agreement with us. 
     
    Although this visit involves two Bromford colleagues coming to your home, we will discuss with you beforehand how we will manage to do this whilst maintaining the safety and wellbeing of all through social distancing. Before we come out to see you, we will contact you on the day of the visit to ask if you or any member of your household is displaying any symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days. 
     
    If you have any concerns about being visited at home, or if a member of the household is shielding, we are unlikely to be able to continue with your application to move. Your neighbourhood coach will explain this to you if this is the case. 

  • Unfortunately, we may not be able to hold a home empty for you for this extended period of time. This is because we don’t know how long you will be required to shield and there may be others in housing need who are able to move at an early date.   
     
    If you are shielding and have been made an offer of a home, we will contact you to discuss the options available to you as it may be possible for you to move safely with support from family. If you are unable to move then we will explore the possibility of housing you in a suitable alternative property in the future. 

  • Moving into a new home can be expensive and comes with several costs in addition to paying your month’s rent when signing your tenancy agreement. You will need to consider all costs such as new carpets, furniture, removal costs and decide whether it is the right time for you to move.   
     
    One of our neighbourhood coaches will carry out an affordability assessment before we make an offer of a home to you. The neighbourhood coach will be able to advise you on any benefit entitlement during this affordability assessment or tell you where you may be able to get more advice and support if you are concerned about debts. 

  • We are pleased to say that we will begin working through applications we have already received from 22 June 2020. If you have found an exchange partner but have not yet completed an application form, we ask that you do not send us an application until July. 
     
    We will not be able to work through the backlog of applications all at once so please bear with us. We will deal with applications in order of the date we received all the required information, including forms from the other people involved in the exchange. This is to be fair to those who have been waiting the longest time. 
     
    All mutual exchange applications need more than one visit to the home to carry out property inspections and safety checks and we must ensure we can carry out these tasks safely for customers and colleaguesWe will ensure that our colleagues who come to inspect your home or to carry out safety checks follow all government guidelines for social distancing and working safely. This may involve you being asked to stay in a separate room whilst the colleague checks your home, we may also ask that you keep all rooms well ventilated whilst we are there.  
     
    It will be up to you and your proposed exchange partner to agree between you how you will look at each other’s homes safely. We do not recommend that you apply for an exchange if you are not sure that the new home would be right for you.  
     
    Not all landlords are operating a full mutual exchange service yet and how quickly your application can be assessed, and arrangements made for a move, will also depend on the other partner’s landlord.  

     

     

Buying a new home (including shared ownership)

  • If you’re thinking about moving home later in the year, our sales team is still here for you.

    Our friendly team is available for you to talk to over the phone or video chat, and we have plenty of information we can share by email and online to show you a virtual tour of the home you’re interested in. 

    While our marketing suites and show homes are closed for drop-in viewings, we are now able to book appointments to visit our show homes*, with hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

    You can still reach us, and we'll be delighted to discuss your requirements by :

    *The only exception to this is our retirement living development Park Gardens, which will open for viewings at a later stage.

  • In line with government and Public Health England guidance, we’re now able to book appointments to visit our show homes* from 1 June 2020 and with hygiene and social distancing measures in place. 

    We're making some changes to our viewing procedure to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

    • One household only - we're offering appointments for one household at a time, with a maximum of two people attending
    • Before your appointment, our sales consultant will call you to ask if you are currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms (such as increased temperature, dry cough, loss of smell and taste). To ensure the health and safety of you and our team, customers with symptoms will be asked to re-arrange their appointment for another date. 
    • At your appointment, our sales consultant may wear a face mask and disposable gloves.
    • On your arrival please wait in your car and our sales consultant will contact you to confirm that all preparations for your visit are in place
    • You will be asked to respect social distancing of 2 metres, and our consultant will show you the floor markers as a visual reminder
    • You will be invited to look around the property by yourself, while our sales consultant waits outside or in the largest room of the property, ready to answer any questions you may have. 
    • Before and after your appointment, our sales consultant will wipe down all door handles (in and outside the home), as well as surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, with disinfectant. Interior and external doors will be left open during your visit to ensure good ventilation and reduce any touching of surfaces
    • The keys will be cleaned in disinfectant before and after each visit and will only be handled by our sales consultant
    • You will be asked not to touch any other items in the house during your viewing. Please note there will be no bathroom facilities. 

    All customers and sales consultants will be asked to clean their hands when they enter and leave the property using the sanitiser provided.

  • For customers who have reserved or are in the middle of moving to a new Bromford home, our sales team will continue to be in touch to help you complete your move, and to provide support, advice and information as required. 

    You can reach us by :

Other queries

  • All our colleagues and contractors will show you their identification before entering your home. Please check this and if you have any concerns then call us for verification.

    All our colleagues and contractors are being issued with regular updates on government guidance. They have been issued with the appropriate personal protective equipment and advice on how to help keep themselves and customers safe. We are also following Government guidance in respect of any colleagues who may need to self-isolate.

     

  • All our risk assessments focus on social distancing as the core control. Colleagues will also be practicing good hand hygiene by using certified hand sanitiser and will be wearing disposable gloves throughout their visit. Colleagues will be provided with face coverings which they may also be wearing, however as we will be maintaining adequate social distancing this is not a mandatory requirement. If you would prefer us to wear a face covering during the visit, just let us know when we call ahead so we can arrange this for you.
  • You may not know, which is why we must all follow the government’s advice on social distancing, hand washing and not touching your face with hands which have not been washed. 

    For more information visit the NHS information page.

  • There is some work we need to do, such as tree maintenance close to road junctions, to ensure areas remain safe and accessible to the general public. In these instances we will continue to provide our grounds maintenance service. We will also continue to undertake essential work at schemes to ensure customers can access open spaces safely while sticking to the government’s guidance around social distancing.

    All play parks, however, have been closed for the time being.

  • We can all continue to look out for each other, following the government guidance on social distancing and hand washing.  If you are concerned about one of your neighbours, please let your neighbourhood coach know. 

  • Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.  There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as: 

    • look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website  
    • spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes 
    • try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs 
    • keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden 
    • You can also go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than two metres from others. 
  • Bromford Housing has received a small number of requests from local council’s for access to information about our customers during the current Covid 19 pandemic. Bromford will agree to sharing limited amounts of data with local councils about our customers only if: -

    • the data is critical to emergency response planning or similar due to Covid 19; and,
    • the data will only be used for these purposes and will not be retained when no longer needed in connection with any pandemic.

    Bromford’s approach is consistent with guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office which notes that “public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health”.

    We will also share limited information about our customers’ health, for example if they have tested positive for Covid 19, if they are self-isolating or are vulnerable with companies we work with . This data is only shared to help ensure we can help ensure the safety of our customers and any contractors who may visit their homes.

    Please be assured that Bromford takes data protection and the confidentiality of your personal data very seriously and in normal circumstances will only share your personal data in limited circumstances as outlined in our privacy notice. Information is shared on the basis that Bromford and the relevant local authority or company have a legitimate interest in supporting our customers and protecting public health.

     

Whilst we are working to avoid service disruption, should colleague and contractor resource levels be affected we will prioritise services to minimise the impact to health, safety and wellbeing of all. We know this is a challenging and unprecedented time and we appreciate your help and support during this period.