Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Are the phone lines open as usual?
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
Is my neighbourhood coach working?
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.
Can I still visit a Bromford office?
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.
Are Bromford still completing repairs?
Following the Government’s announcement on Monday 23 March, we will only be carrying out emergency and any immediately dangerous repairs to customers’ homes until further notice. Any non-emergency repairs will be suspended for the time being.
If anyone in your household is in self-isolation, please notify us. Follow this link and fill in the form at the bottom of the page to let us know if you are self isolating.
We recognise this is disruptive, but we need to ensure we follow government guidelines to ensure the safety of both our customers and colleagues and the need to prioritise our emergency services.
What if I have a repair and I or someone in my household is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms?
We will continue to carry out emergency and immediately dangerous repairs for households where people are self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms. However, we will require 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, they will be required to leave the gloves on site for you to dispose of
If you are unable to follow these requests, you will appreciate that unfortunately our engineer will remove themselves from the property.
What if I want to reschedule my appointment?
Call or email our customer service centre who will look to cancel or make another appointment for you. Please give us a minimum of 24 hours notice of cancellation where possible.
What about my new kitchen or bathroom replacement, will it still go ahead?
We have temporarily suspended all our planned improvement work to customers’ homes to install things like new kitchens, bathrooms and boilers. We will be in touch with you to reschedule this work once the coronavirus crisis is over.
Will you be completing aids and adaptations?
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.
Safety and compliance
Do I have to have my annual gas safety check?
We are continuing to deliver this service to ensure customer safety. 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.
Will you still be carrying out fire, legionella and emergency lighting tests?
We want to ensure our customers are safe and so we will continue to carry out these tests as planned.
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
What about the testing of electrical appliances?
We are not continuing with our planned electrical inspection programme at this time. However we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update this page if this changes.
Do I have to let you in to undertake safety inspections / repairs?
We feel it is important we to continue to complete safety inspection / work. We recognise this may change if government policy changes, we will therefore keep you informed. In some circumstances we will postpone / rearrange some works to ensure priority pieces of work are completed.
For customers concerned about paying their rent during this period.
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.
How can I contact Bromford to discuss my rent?
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.
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.
Further information for customers regarding claiming benefits.
For customers impacted by coronavirus who are:
- already claiming benefits
- needing to make a new claim for financial support
- employed or self employed
Where I live
I'm in the at risk category, not showing any symptoms but self-isolating. What support can I get from my neighbourhood coach?
Our neighbourhood coaches can continue to provide many of our services via telephone or video chatting (for example Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp or Zoom).
Should customers be telling people not to come into communal entrances, hallways and stairs?
These areas need to remain open to your neighbours and visitors. Treat them as you would any public space, so ensure that you follow the government’s guidance on social distancing, hand washing and not touching your face with hands that have not been washed.
Communal lounges and rooms.
In the circumstances we have chosen to close communal lounges/rooms. This is to minimise person to person contact and allow us to direct our cleaning teams to clean priority areas.
Will you be cleaning schemes and communal areas differently?
Where cleaning is provided extra attention is being taken on all touch points such as handles, doors, switches and handrails. Our priority though is to certain schemes, including Extra-Housing, other specialist accommodation including retirement living, MyPlace and some supported schemes, therefore we may reduce or stop some cleaning for example vacuuming and dusting.
My neighbours are causing noise nuisance, but I am in self-isolaton and cannot speak to them. What do I do?
Please call your neighbourhood coach who will be able offer you advice.
Are Bromford owned children’s play areas closed?
To reduce social contact the Government has ordered that certain places of congregation are closed. This includes play areas and ball courts. So we have fixed warning signs to all equipment not to use but rely on the community to ensure they are following the Government guidelines and instructions.
What do I do if I see people not following the Government’s advice on social distancing?
If it is safe for you to do so then, please encourage people to follow the government’s advice on all people not of the same household staying two metres away from each other. If you see anything of serious concern, for example a party or barbeque involving lots of visitors, our advice is for you to notify the police by calling 101.
Moving home (excluding shared ownership, outright sale)
I have applied for a move and I am part way through the lettings process with Bromford, will I still be able to move?
As a result of the government announcement on Monday 23 March, we have stopped all new lettings until further notice. This does not mean you will be unable to move into the new home in the future.
If you have already been offered a home with us, following a visit or telephone contact from a neighbourhood coach, then the property will be held for you until we are able to let our homes again. We are looking at ways that would enable customers to accept a new property from us and move in without the need for face to face contact. We will keep in touch with you by telephone or email with any updates.
If you feel you are in an emergency situation and need to move urgently, please send an email to our lettings service on firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our colleagues will contact you.
I have been offered a new build home but I have heard that many construction sites have closed. How will I be affected?
If you have already been offered a new build home with Bromford and were just waiting for a date to move in you should have been contacted by a Lettings colleague to tell you how have been affected. Most construction sites have closed for the time being and if this situation changes we will let you know of any new date for moving.
If you have not had any contact from a lettings colleague please email email@example.com and someone will contact you with more information.
We will be contacting everyone currently being considered for one of our homes in order to discuss individual circumstances and next steps.
I am in one of the vulnerable groups of people named by the government and I have been told I should stay home and shield from all outside contact for 12 weeks. I am being considered for a home with Bromford, will you keep the home available for me until I am no longer required to stay home?
Unfortunately, we may not be able to hold a home for you for this extended period of time. This will depend on how the current restrictions on movement affect our ability to let our homes in the coming weeks.
There is a chance that we may need to use the home you were being considered for to house a family in an emergency. We would only do this after taking all circumstances into account and we will talk to you about this.
We will be contacting everyone currently being considered for one of our homes in order to discuss individual circumstances and to see whether we continue with your application. If you have any questions in the meantime please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t have the valid Identification required and I can’t get it very quickly because of delays caused by coronavirus. Can I still be considered for a Bromford home?
We are not able to offer a tenancy to anyone who is unable to prove their identification (ID) to us along with their Right to Rent a home (immigration status). If you do not have the identification available that we ask for, then we would not be able to continue with your application.
One of our lettings colleagues will talk you through the types of identification that are acceptable and it is very important that you let us know as soon as you can if producing the correct ID will be an issue for you.
You may be able to reapply for another Bromford home in the future once you have the necessary ID available.
I have handed in my notice to leave but I am self-isolating, what do I do?
If you have already told us you wish to end your tenancy with us, you should have already been contacted by a colleague from the lettings team.
The government advice is that no one should be moving home during this period of restricted movement unless absolutely essential. Even if you feel it is essential you should be aware that you may find it difficult to access removal services and other services you may need to facilitate a move. In these times of uncertainty our advice is that you cancel or extend your tenancy termination notice.
- You can cancel your notice to terminate your tenancy and decide you are no longer going to move. Please contact us on email@example.com if you wish to withdraw your notice and stay in your current home. If you are unsure you may also contact your neighbourhood coach to talk through your options.
- You can extend your notice period to a date in the future. Please note this will mean you remain responsible for all charges until the end of the tenancy. It is very important that you keep us updated about any changes you wish to make to the end of the tenancy date as we will need to agree this with you. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you do decide that you have no other option but to end your tenancy with us on the date agreed with us, then you will need to leave your keys, as instructed, in the key safe that has been fitted. Please contact us to let us know you have done this. You can contact the email@example.com or your neighbourhood coach. Please consider carefully whether your move is essential and you are able to make arrangements to clear the property of all of your goods and leave it in a good condition, the garden should also be tidy and maintained. You may be charged if any belongings are left behind or the property is in a poor condition.
I have been offered a home and I am worried about paying a full months’ rent in advance due to the uncertainty of my employment at the moment.
Moving into a new home can be expensive and comes with a number of costs in addition to paying your month’s rent when signing your tenancy agreement. You will need to consider all the 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.
I have applied to exchange my home with someone else. Will this be able to go ahead?
We have currently suspended the Mutual Exchange service until further notice. We will not be consenting to any exchanges and if you already had an exchange date agreed this is likely to be cancelled.
If you have applied but we have not yet agreed to the exchange, we will suspend your application until such time that the government has indicated that people can go about their daily business normally and without restrictions.
We have contacted all customers who have applications under consideration to explain how they are affected by this. If you have not heard from us please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a colleague will contact you as soon as possible.
I have been made an offer of a home and I am waiting to sign the tenancy. When will I be able to move?
This will depend on a number of things including whether the new home has had all necessary repairs completed and whether we will be able to complete a sign up with you whilst following all the government guidelines on the delivery of essential services and social distancing. It is most likely that we are only able to deal with emergency housing in the next few weeks and we are working with our local authority partners to achieve this.
We will make contact with you regularly if you have already been offered a home with us. If you have any additional questions or haven’t had any recent contact from a Lettings colleague please email us at email@example.com
How do I know it is safe to let Bromford employees into my home?
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.
Why aren’t your engineers wearing face masks?
Face masks are only recommended and considered necessary for those providing extended and close personal contact with others. As our work durations are generally short and we are not providing close personal care services, they are not deemed necessary. However, should government advice change we will obviously review this and consider changing.
How will I know if my neighbour has coronavirus or is self-isolating as I am in a flat with communal entrance?
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.
I have been told that Bromford are ceasing to deliver services, is this true?
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday, 23 March 2020, we have decided to temporarily suspend all non-emergency repairs and planned work to customers’ homes until further notice. We will also be carrying out vital safety inspections during this time.
You can still contact your neighbourhood coach to discuss any issues or concerns you have about your tenancy.
Why have I seen members of your grounds maintenance team still working?
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.
What can I do to support neighbours?
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.
I live in a block of flats. If we are all self-isolating it is going to be a very lonely place, what should we do?
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.