🎥 If you're an East Ren Council or Barrhead Housing Association tenant and claim Universal Credit, Pioneer Mutual Credit Union are offering a free money management account that will help make paying rent easier. Jen from Barrhead Housing tells us more.For further information, visit https://www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/rents
Posted by East Renfrewshire Council on Thursday, 18 October 2018
Frequently Asked Questions About Your Rent in this Difficult Time
A DETAILED FINANCIAL ADVICE LEAFLET CAN BE FOUND HERE
Advice via CAB can be found here
1. Can you tell me the different ways in which I can pay my rent if I can’t leave the house because of the coronavirus?
You can pay your rent in the following ways:
To pay your rent over the phone please phone us on 0141 881 0638 and select option 3 and you will be transferred to a member of staff who will be happy to take your rent payment.
Payments can be set up via Allpay directly from your bank and these can be made weekly/ fortnightly/4 weekly/monthly or quarterly on any day of the week to suit.
You can set up a payment direct from your own bank to the Association. Our details are:
Bank Account Number 00151830
Sort code: 80-05-54
Account name: Barrhead Housing Association Limited
Please ensure your rent reference number is on your mandate for the bank.
If you wish to discuss any of these payments options or your account please contact the office on 0141881 0638 or at email@example.com.
Barrhead HA App
The Association are also in the midst of launching our new App. This is currently available to those who have an I-phone and will be available to Android shortly. The App can be downloaded through the Apple Store for all (iOS) devices.
Internet/Phone to Allpay
You can pay by contacting www.allpay.net and by following the on screen instructions. You will need the reference number on your Allpay card in order to make the payment using this method. Phone the office if you do not have your reference number.
2. My employer has told me not to come to work because of the Coronavirus. My income this month will be affected – do I still need to pay my rent?
You will still need to pay your rent as usual but we understand that the spread of coronavirus in the UK could have implications for your income. Please contact us if you think you are going to have difficulty paying your rent.
If you’re an employee and earn more than £118 a week
If you’re an employee and earn at least £118 a week (£120 from 6 April 2020), you will be able to get £94.25 per week (£95.85 from 6 April 2020) for up to 28 weeks. The government has announced SSP will be paid from the first day you are off sick if it is related to coronavirus.
SSP covers you both if you’re ill and if you need to self-isolate because you have been in direct contact with the virus. You will still need to provide a sick note or fit note. You no longer have to go to a doctor to get a sick note or fit note. You can get one by calling NHS 111.
Some employers have more generous contractual sick pay schemes. It is worth checking your contract, staff handbook or with your employer.
The government has said that it will bear the costs of SSP for smaller employers, so claiming it should not be a problem. If you do have a problem, contact the HM Revenue and Customs statutory payment dispute team:
Telephone: 03000 560 630
Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm
Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Textphone: 0300 200 3212
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
If you’re an employee and earn less than £118 a week
If you’re employed but your earnings are too low to claim SSP, you may be able to claim Universal Credit. You can do this online.
Don’t delay making a claim for benefits, even if you think you might have been affected by coronavirus.
However, if you are already getting any of these benefits being replaced by Universal Credit:
- Housing Benefit
- Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance
and need to make a claim for Universal Credit because of coronavirus, check with the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service as soon as possible to find out how they might be affected and to get advice about your situation. If you’re in Scotland, visit the Citizens Advice Scotland website.
Find out more about coronavirus and your rights at work on the ACAS website.
If you’re in Northern Ireland, you should visit the Labour Relations Agency.
Learn more about the different kinds employment status.
3. I have lost my employment directly as a result of the Coronavirus. What can I do?
It is important that you tell us if you have lost your job as a direct result of the Coronavirus. The following links will provide you with more information on what to do if you are find yourself in financial difficulties, which could lead to problems paying your rent, due to COVID -19.
If you are still on unclear what is available to you once you have read this guidance please contact our office on 0141 881 0638 and select option 2 – to speak to our Welfare Rights Officer over the phone. Please be patient if we cannot respond immediately to your calls, as we are experiencing a very high volume of enquires at this difficult time.
Alternatively, please contact East Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau on 0141 881 2032 who can provide further info over the phone.
4. What help is out there for my employer?
The government has announced it will pay your wages through the coronavirus job retention scheme if your business is forced to temporarily close because of coronavirus.
This will be available to anyone on the PAYE scheme and your employer will need to contact HMRC to apply. In order for you to qualify, your employer will have to re-assign your employment status as a furloughed worker’.
The scheme will pay 80 percent of retained workers’ salaries, up to £2,500 a month. Your employer can top up your salary to more than this if they choose to.
Wages under the scheme will be backdated to 1 March and the scheme will be open for at least three months. There is no limit on amount of funding and the government will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary.
The first of the grants are hoped to be paid before the end of April so it could take a few weeks to get your money.
If you have already been told your job is gone, you should contact your employer to see if they are now willing to take you back on and reassign you as a furloughed worker.
If you have already made a claim for benefits contact the relevant benefit helpline for advice on what to do before you cancel your claim.
If you have already received a redundancy payment and your employer could now take you back on, speak to your employer or the ACAS helpline for advice on what to do.
5. Benefit advice
If you are worried about managing your finances, you can find further information on coronavirus and claiming benefits on the GOV.UK website.
This government web page is regularly updated about the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support people who are affected by coronavirus.
We will also continue to monitor the government’s advice regarding benefits and update our page as the information becomes available.
6. Will I lose my home if I cannot pay my rent?
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 will work with our customers to find affordable solutions in order to help people through this difficult period, so if you’re concerned please contact our customer service team.
7. If I am classed as being on unpaid leave how will this affect my working Tax Credit?
Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people and you can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit in very limited circumstances.
If you are already in receipt of Working Tax Credit, we advise that you contact the Tax Credit office as soon as possible to discuss any changes in your income which may affect the amount of tax credit you receive. If you are not already in receipt of Tax Credit you may be able to access financial support through Universal Credit or other benefits.
You can find more details on the government website here
8. What help is there for me if I am self-employed or a sole trader?
The government has launched the self-employed income support scheme. To be eligible, you must earn more than half your income from self-employment, have submitted a tax return for 2018/19 and have:
- a trading profit of less than £50,000 for 2018/19, or
- an average trading profit of less than £50,000 for the tax year 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
If you qualify the government will pay you a grant for 80 percent of your monthly profits, up to £2,500 a month for three months.
You will get a lump sum payment and it is hoped these will start at the beginning of June.
Payments will be backdated to the start of March and cover a three-month period to the end of May. The government has said the scheme might be extended.
HMRC will use your average trading profits from 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 to work out the size of your grant.
It is a taxable grant, so you will have to declare it on your Self-Assessment tax return and might have to pay income tax and National Insurance on it.
If you made a self-employed income during the 2018/19 tax year, but have not submitted a Self-Assessment tax return yet, you have four weeks to submit one.
This scheme is open to sole traders and members of partnerships.
If you pay yourself a salary and dividends through a company, you will not be eligible, but might be helped by the coronavirus job retention scheme if you’re earning through PAYE.
If you’ve become self-employed since April 2019, you will not be eligible.
If you are not eligible for this grant, you will still be able access other government support, including benefits and business support grants.
How can I claim this grant?
You do not need to contact HMRC. HMRC will check eligibility against existing information and will contact you about making an online application. It is unclear when this process will start.
9. If you can’t work because you’re sick or having to self-isolate
If coronavirus means you’re unable to work and you’ve paid enough National Insurance Contributions, you might be able to claim new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re ill.
The government has said you’ll now get paid from the first day of the claim, rather than after eight days.
If this is the first time you’ve applied for ESA, you’ll have to fill in form ESA 1 and send a fit note from NHS 111 with your claim form to show that you’re not fit for work. You should get the first payment into your bank or building society account within three weeks.
Find out more about how to claim ESA on the Gov.uk website.
You might also be able to claim elements of Universal Credit if you need help with other costs for children or housing if you and your partner or spouse have savings of less than £16,000.
Find out more about new-style ESA and Universal Credit if you’re ill.
Learn more about claiming Universal Credit if you’re self-employed.
BEWAWRE OF SCAMS
Sadly, fraudsters and thieves are using the coronavirus pandemic to find new ways to scam people.
Phishing emails and texts are being used to target people and the elderly have been conned out of their money by thieves offering to do their shopping, as they self-isolate. Victims have also lost money purchasing face masks and similar items online that never arrive.
Please be on your guard for possible coronavirus scams and look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters.
If you are the victim of fraud you can report it online to Action Fraud or contact your local police on 101.
RENT ARREARS, HOUSING BENEFIT AND SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM
Rental payments is our main source of income. The money received from rent allows us to provide a range of housing services and to maintain and improve our houses and to build new homes. It is no surprise that we therefore focus much of our time and effort on making sure all tenants pay their rent and pay on time. Paying your rent on time is a condition of our tenancy agreement and failure to do so can put your tenancy at risk. Rent and service charges due to the Association are payable on the 1st of every month. We charge for additional services through our service charge and only charge the actual cost to the Association. We review rents and service charges annually and consult our customers on the rent review as part of our budget setting process.
We operate a policy of early intervention when dealing with any tenant in rent arrears. Should any tenant have rent arrears, they will be contacted at the earliest opportunity by our Customer Services staff members with a view to discussing the issues. We will be sympathetic to your circumstances and will aim to put in place an affordable payment plan to cover the rent and arrears. Keeping in contact with the Association is crucial and avoids taking further action against a tenant. We would not wish to take legal action and only evict tenants for rent arrears as a last resort. Such decisions are made by our governing Board having considered a full and detailed confidential and anonymous report.
We try to make paying rent as easy as possible and offer various rent payment options. You may choose from the following payment methods – direct debit; at your local post office, by post, or using your Allpay card, by chip and pin at the office both in person and over the phone.
Housing Benefit – you must apply to East Renfrewshire Council and provide the correct evidence to allow your form to by processed. Our staff can help you make a claim. The form can be downloaded here or by visiting East Renfrewshire Council’s website here
Social Security Changes – see our TAB for further details.
We offer a dedicated welfare rights service to our customers. Contact the office for details and to make an appointment with our staff member.