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Coronavirus national lockdown

Please head to our Coronavirus FAQs for more information on our response to the announced Tier 5 national lockdown. [Updated 05/01/2021 at 22:37]

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[Last updated 07/01/21 at 09.29 am]

Learn more about how we will be continuing to provide services to our customers under the latest national lockdown restrictions. We are regularly reviewing the situation and will update this page as necessary if the situation changes.

Find the latest government advice on the national lockdown here.

If you are a customer and need to inform us that you are self-isolating please fill in our self-isolating form.

     

National restrictions

   

Repairs

  • We are pleased to say that, where possible, a normal repairs and maintenance service will be maintained. The only limitation to this is if we cannot undertake the works safely within Covid-19 control measures.

    This may include activities involving two people where it is necessary to work in close proximity to others. To address this we have developed a small number of working ‘bubbles’ where pairs work only with each other. This may mean a slight delay in getting these works completed.

    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 are needing more time to respond to calls and have met with challenges in sourcing materials which may result in some delay in getting the work completed.

  • We are encouraging customers to tell us about non-urgent repairs in the home by visiting our report a repair 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 and for legacy Severn Vale customers you can 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 report a repair and for legacy Severn Vale customers head to report it online were you can register a new account – 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.

  • We have reviewed government guidance and we are pleased to say we will continue to deliver our planned maintenance programme unless the customer does not wish us to do so.

    We need to be sure we can do this in a way that ensures the safety of both customers and colleagues and we will follow our covid secure processes whilst working in your home. 

    However, if you have an appointment already booked for planned improvement works, but you or someone in your household is now self-isolating and/or have a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case, please fill out the form to let us know as soon as possible.

    In this instance we will defer the works until the self-isolation period has ended and there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus within the household. If you are shielding and have works planned please let us know and we will work with you to determine the best approach to undertake the works

     


  • 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. For the latest government advice on shielding, click here. 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 neighborhood coach search function here.

    

Safety on home visits

  • We care about your safety and that of our colleagues, so we want to make sure that everyone plays their part in staying safe during the current Tier 5 national lockdown.

    All of our covid secure measures are designed to ensure where possible we can still visit your home to carry out the repair, safety check, or appointment you’ve arranged with us. These visits are carried out with the safety of both customers and colleagues as our number one priority.  It’s important that we can carry out this work. If we feel the covid procedures aren’t being followed and anyone feels unsafe, our engineer will leave the property. We also have the right to cancel an appointment.

    As a valued customer, there are a number of things you can do to help.

    Please let us know ahead of visiting if you or any of your household has covid, are displaying any symptoms, or are awaiting test results or are in isolation.

    Before your engineer arrives, please clean all surfaces. When they arrive they will keep a social distance of two metres from the door to introduce themselves. Please listen to their advice and stay in another room while they're working in your home. If you do not have a medical exemption as per the government guidelines, we now require you to wear a face covering while the engineer is in your property.

    Did you know that according to government advice, letting fresh air into indoor spaces can reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus by more than 70%?  Watch this short film to see how to keep your home ventilated during a visit.

    To protect each other, we support the ‘Hands. Face. Space’ campaign that urges everyone to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control the infection rates and help to control the spread of the virus. Watch the video.

    There’s more information on reducing transmission of the virus on the government website.

  • 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. If you are not exempt from wearing a face covering under government guidelines we request that you wear one while the works are completed. Our engineer will also be wearing a face covering when in your home.

    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. All colleagues visiting customer homes and communal areas in blocks and schemes will be wearing a face covering.
  • 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 or has tested positive please let your neighbourhood coach know. If you have a repair or home visit scheduled during this period please ring our customer services team so we can reschedule your appointment to a time after your self-isolation period has ended. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all, which remains our number one priority.

    If the home visit 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. 

    If a colleague tests positive they may need to provide customer data to NHS Test and Trace.

     

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. If you are shielding, please let us know and we will determine the best approach to keep you safe in your home.

  • 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

    If you are shielding please let us know and we will determine the best approach to keep you safe in your home.

     

  • 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. If you are shielding please let us know and we will determine the best approach to keep you safe in your home.

     

  • 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.

  • Tree and grounds maintenance (like lawn cutting) has returned to normal, with extra hygiene practices and social distancing in place. This makes sure that areas around road junctions are safe and that you can safely access open spaces. We thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding.

    Play Parks

    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

Where I live

   

Moving home (excluding shared ownership, outright sale)

  • If you have already applied for a mutual exchange and are part way through the application process, we will contact you to explain how this lockdown affects your potential move. 

    There are some aspects of the application process that we will be unable to carry out during lockdown. For example, we will not be able to come out to inspect your home for any damage or alterations that may have been carried out. This means if you have not already had your property inspected then we will be unable to progress your application any further at this time. You may choose to cancel the application, or we will keep hold of it until restrictions are lifted.

    We will also not be able to allow any exchanges to actually take place during lockdown. This is because a mutual exchange involves all parties being present for the signing and exchange of deeds and tenancy agreements. This would not be possible to achieve safely for customers and colleagues and so you will not be able to move via an exchange during the national lockdown.

  • Yes we can still take in new applications and start the process of checking eligibility for an exchange through carrying out a telephone interview and the other customer.

    We will also be able to check the tenancy history for both parties to ensure that neither would be ineligible due to arrears or any other breach of tenancy.

    We will not, however, be able to complete the whole process whilst in a national lockdown. This is because we will not be able to inspect your home nor would we be able to safely complete the exchange process on the day of moving.

    If you do decide to make an application we will explain the process in more detail at that time.

  • We expect that we will have a backlog of applications to process for both inspections and to arrange exchange dates but will not have any additional colleagues working on this so we will deal with all applications strictly in the order of the date they were received.

    To help us to be able to progress through the applications as quickly as possible we ask you not to call us during that time for updates on your application but to wait for us to contact you. This will help us to be able to focus on completing the applications. If you wish to cancel your application we ask that you do this by emailing us at mutualexchanges@bromford.co.uk

    Remember you must not swap your home with anyone else without the consent of all landlords and agreed moving dates. If you do so you are at risk of losing your home.

    For further information on Mutual Exchanges see our FAQs General FAQs on Swapping Homes

  • During this national lockdown the government has said people may still move home if it can be done safely, taking into account all of the guidance issued by them and Public Health England.  This means that all of the contact we have with you through the Lettings process will be done virtually via video or telephone wherever possible.

    We will no longer visit you in your own home to carry out our pre-tenancy visit if that can be avoided, instead we will carry out video or telephone interviews with you.

    Where possible, we will also be carrying out a viewing of the property by video or a live video call such as on WhatsApp. We will explain more about that to you once we have confirmed your eligibility for the home.  
    We will also ask you to agree to the terms and conditions of your tenancy by email, rather than signing a tenancy agreement face to face with the neighbourhood coach.

    If you have any concerns at all about the process please do not hesitate to contact your lettings adviser or your neighbourhood coach who can talk you through the process and advise you on next steps.

  • If you are already one of our customers, your neighbourhood coach and another Bromford colleague will visit your current home to carry out an inspection. This is to make sure that you have maintained your home to an acceptable standard and to see if there is any repair or remedial work you may need to do before you can move.

    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 Public Health England guidance on social distancing and PPE. We ask that you tell us if you or anyone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19 or is in quarantine.

    If you are approved for a move after the inspection then we will follow the same process as for a new customer, explained above.

    If you have any concerns at all about being visited at home or if a member of the household is in a quarantine period, we may be unable to continue with your application to move. Your neighbourhood coach will explain this to you if this is the case.

  • In most circumstances we will be unable to keep the property for you until you are able to move. This is because social housing is in high demand and we can not hold homes empty for long periods of time.

    We will consider each situation like this on a case by case basis and make a fair and transparent decision.

    We will always explain to you the reasons why we are unable to hold a home for you if you are impacted by Covid 19 due to shielding, isolating or a positive test result.

  • 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 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.

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 :

   

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 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

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.

    Watch the video below to find out more about how we are taking steps to ensure everyone's safety when we visit your home:

     

     

  • 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.

     

  • 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.