Coronavirus - Latest Updates

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From everyone at NDH we hope all of our customers are staying safe and managing in these difficult times. At NDH our top priority is to ensure the safety of our customers and communities during this time.

If you’ve been following our updates you have probably heard about the services we are running and also those not running at this time, but we wanted to update again to give everyone an overview of what changes we have to our service to ensure your safety.

  • Offices - Our offices remain closed to the public for the time being and our teams are working remotely at home. We are still here to help and can be contacted in the ways we list further below on this page.
  • Repairs and service appointments - We are carrying out repairs and work that can be done safely and in accordance with Government restrictions and guidance. You can read more on this below.
  • Compliance testing - We are undertaking more of our compliance checks in communal areas, such as emergency light testing and fire fighting equipment.
  • Money advice and rent - If you are worried about money at this time please get in touch with our team. We have an advice service and can help you get the benefits you are entitled to find out more about the money advice service and how you can pay your rent whilst staying at home below.
  • Support service (Devon Homelink) - We have been working on establishing a different type of support service to our customers, offering regular phone calls and contact rather than appointments. You can read more about this new service below.
  • Welfare calls - As well as our support customers we are currently working our way through our customers calling all those living in our Independent Living Schemes to check they have their own support networks in place and seeing where we can help if not.
  • Tenancy reviews, lettings and moves - We are working on all matters regarding tenancy changes and will be in touch directly with those it affects. If you have a question about moving or new lettings you can contact the team as normal.
  • Community partnership - We are working in partnership with the One Northern Devon Group (One Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and South Molton) who are supporting our communities with various welfare needs. This could be anything from food and medicine deliveries to regular phone calls or advice.
  • Keeping our distance - Wherever we do have to visit a customers home we are ensuring we have the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procedures and keep our distance to follow social distancing guidelines as set by the government.
  • Communal spaces, events and playgrounds - All events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice, including our youth clubs and summer fayre. Communal spaces and playgrounds have been closed for the safety of our customers.
  • Communal laundries - we have not closed our communal laundries as we understand these services are vital to personal hygiene during this time. We would ask all customers to observe social distancing guidelines while using these facilities.

How can I contact you?

Our teams are available to help you from 8.30am until 5pm Monday to Friday as normal whilst they work from home. Please bear with us a little longer than usual as the phone connection can take a few seconds longer and we are experiencing a higher than normal demand on our service.

Outside of these hours we have the normal Out of Hours emergency service available to customers by calling 0800 917 0619.

If your query isn’t an emergency we’d ask customers, where possible, to email us to help alleviate the strain on our phone lines for those customers with emergencies. The best way to email for each team is as follows:

General enquiries: customercare@ndh-ltd.co.uk

Repairs: repairs@ndh-ltd.co.uk 

Rent and payment enquiries: rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk   

Support and Independent Living enquiries: devonhomelinkenquiries@ndh-ltd.co.uk   

You can also message via social media on the links below or via our contact form if you don’t have access to email:

www.facebook.com/northdevonhomes 

www.twitter.com/northdevonhomes 

www.instagram.com/north.devon.homes 

More information:

Staying safe at home

We’re asking all of our customers to be extra vigilant during this time as we know so many people are staying in and spending more time than may be normal in their home. Keep your household safe by taking more care with things around the home. Ensure you test your smoke alarm weekly - remember “Test it Tuesday!”, don't have bonfires in your gardens to reduce the risk of a fire, and always remember to keep noise to acceptable levels to help keep our communities as pleasant places for everyone to live in.

Paying your rent

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone and we know some will be worried about paying their rent. Our Rents Team will work with customers to find the best solution for those struggling at this time. This includes helping you find the money you are entitled to through the various Government schemes including Universal Credit applications.

Where you are able to, rent payments should continue as normal to ensure you don’t go into rent arrears on your home. If you would like to know anything about paying your rent, your rent balance or help with money matters please email the team on rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk.

If you have had a change of circumstances, and think you will struggle to pay your rent, you can make a claim for Universal Credit online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. If you don’t have internet access, you can call 0800 328 5644.

If you need information about Housing Benefit, or your Council Tax, you should call North Devon Council’s customer service team on 01271 327711.

Paying rent from home

Lots of our customers use the local Post Office or cornershop as a convenient place to pay their rent. With the advice to stay home we thought we’d share some of the other ways to pay that don’t involve leaving the house.

Allpay app

The Allpay app can be downloaded for free from the app stores for both Apple and Android phones. You will need the 19 digit number from the front of your North Devon Homes payment card to set up your Allpay account. If you don’t have your card you can send us an email at rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk and we’ll get back to you with the number.

24/7 automated phone line

Call at any time on our automated phone line 0330 0416497 to make a card payment. You will need the 19 digit number from the front of your North Devon Homes payment card to do this. If you don’t have your card you can send us an email at rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk and we’ll get back to you with the number.

Recurring card payment

If you would like to set up a recurring card payment from your debit card, we can do this weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Email us on rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk to request a call back, or call us on 01271 312500 during normal working hours to set this up.

Direct Debit

A direct debit form can be downloaded from our website here www.ndh-ltd.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/2019-06/DD%20Form%202011.pdf and posted to us (please write the first line of your address on the back of the form and return it to us at least two weeks before the first collection date).

If you still have concerns or difficulties, please contact our income team - preferably by emailing rents@ndh-ltd.co.uk where you can request a ring back.

Our repairs and servicing

Following the latest Government Advice we have expanded the works and maintenance jobs that can be done within the latest guidelines. This means that you will see our team out and about carrying out more jobs such as empty home refurbishments, roof works, external decorations, communal area compliance testing such as emergency lighting and fire fighting equipment and some more repairs that can be done while keeping customers safe.

When speaking to our team to arrange these appointments we will try to diagnose some problems over the phone and complete a health and risk check for the appointment to see whether you or your family are self-isolating or are considered vulnerable. If you are considered vulnerable or are self-isolating we will rearrange a future appointment with you once we are safely able to visit your home. Please call our team on 01271 312500 or email repairs@ndh-ltd.co.uk if you have an appointment in the diary and consider your household to be in either of these categories.

Our repairs team and contractors are following strict rules during visits that include stepping away from your door after knocking, keeping their distance from your family and wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) during the appointment. We’d ask all customers during these visits to also follow these guidelines and keep family members in another room while our team works on your repair or service. This includes when we come to do work in communal areas, please remain in your home so our operatives can carry out the work and maintain social distancing regulations.

Repairs can be reported by calling 01271 312500, by emailing repairs@ndh-ltd.co.uk or by using our website form.

Social Distancing

If you live in one of our Independent Living schemes, then in line with Government advice you should not receive any visitors unless it is to provide essential ongoing care.

As a community landlord we are urging everyone to play their part in staying at home to help the NHS. If you are unsettled by any groups who are violating any Government advice or committing crimes you can report them online at: https://services.devon-cornwall.police.uk/crimereporting.

Tenancy reviews, lettings and moving home

We have been keeping in close touch with the local council and working on getting some of our empty homes up and running for those who are in temporary accommodation or homeless so they have somewhere safe to live during this time. Work continues on this and the local authority are working on placements over the next few weeks. We are also working on some new lettings that can be done safely and in line with Government guidance.  If you are at risk and believe you are in need of emergency housing, please speak to Encompass on 01271 371499. 

If your tenancy is due to review we will be in touch to arrange this either over the phone or by video call.

Useful links:

Health advice – www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

UK Government advice and updates – www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Local community groups - www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/communities-and-voluntary-sector-support

FAQs from Government update on 11.5.2020: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Read a letter from the Government to all social housing residents here.