2020 - July, Latest news
We're continuing to follow official government guidelines in our response to Coronavirus and we will continue to provide our services to customers as normal and we will keep you updated if any advice changes.
Our planning aims to minimise the impact the outbreak may have on the delivery of our services, as well as keeping you and your neighbours safe and well. We follow the news and the regular updates provided by Public Health England on the Government website. We want to continue to deliver the best possible service during this pandemic and to minimise the risk of spreading the virus and protect everyone as best we can while continuing our work, we will be taking extra precautions.
You can find the latest government advice and updates on coronavirus here. This includes guidance on work, travel and meeting with friends and family.
For further detailed information on how we are delivering our services during this time:
Latest update 30 July 2020
Restrictions will be lifted for the Borough of Oadby and Wigston from 3 August. These areas will return to national social distancing guidelines, other than for clinically extremely vulnerable people who should continue shielding.
Additional businesses and venues will be able to re-open in Leicester City from 3 August. Other restrictions remain in place. The clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to shield.
The next review will take place by 13 August.
For the Leicester City Borough some restrictions have been lifted from the 3 August and the following can reopen, (in line with the national changes of 4 July):
- Restaurants, Cafes and Workplace Canteens
- Bars and Pubs
- Hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
- Places of Worship
- Community Centres
- Social clubs
- Cinemas and Bingo Halls
- Theatres and Concert halls
- Museums and galleries
- Hair salons and barbers
- Outdoor playgrounds and gyms
Leisure centres, gyms and pools must remain closed.
Single-adult households (those who live alone or with dependent children only) can still form a support bubble with one other household.
People from different households are still able to meet in a group of up to 6 and only outdoors, provided they follow strict social distancing.
People should not meet in private homes or gardens (this includes people who live within the area travelling to visit someone who lives outside Leicester)
Only essential travel within Leicester City is advised.
We know it is confusing and we encourage you to keep a close eye on the local information being released by your local authority and media outlets to stay as up to date as possible.
The government have produced a set of local lockdown guidelines for social distancing which we hope will be helpful:
Our reduced service for customers who live in the Borough of Leicester City will continue as follows:
- Emergency only service for new repairs request.
- We will not take any new requests for routine repairs and this will be reviewed following the next government review on 13 August.
- All essential safety checks to gas appliances, fire alarms, safety equipment and lifts will continue.
- All stock investment work to our customers’ homes is still paused.
- Communal cleaning will continue as normal.
- Grounds Maintenance will continue to be on hold, but we will continue to deal with fly-tipping and bulk waste removal on a case by case basis.
- Neighbourhood inspections and visits from members of Team Purple will not be undertaken.
- Property inspections for General Needs, Independent Living and Supported properties will not take place unless there is an urgent need to inspect and act on an issue.
- Property inspections will continue with high rise, high risk blocks in the city; this is Dover House and Vestry House.
- Our Bede Island office will remain closed to all customer, and the majority of our staff will continue to work from home.
For customers in Oadby and Wigston, our service will return to normal as with our other regions.
Latest update 30 July 2020
We're waiting on further information from central and local government on the latest situation in Leicester and to what level the lockdown restrictions have been eased. We'll then be able to update you on how our services have been affected. For now though, the below update and level of service for customers within the lockdown area remains in place.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Last update 17 July 2020
Changes to our services in Leicester
Many of you will have watched Matt Hancock’s speech yesterday where he announced that the city, and some outlying areas, would remain in lockdown for at least a further 2 weeks, with the next review scheduled for 30 July
Last update 10 July 2020
We are aware that there are a number of our customers who are currently furloughed due to COVID-19. We are also receiving reports of an increasing number of people being made redundant. If you have been keeping up with the news, you may have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do in this situation is to immediately make a claim for Welfare Benefits, in particular Universal Credit, until such time that you can get back into work. This is not always true. The timing of making a claim for Universal Credit is crucial because of the way that this benefit is worked out and paid. We have already come across an example of where a customer has lost out due to making a claim almost immediately after being made redundant. This example is typical of how the system can work against you if you are not aware of the intricacies involved:
- Date made redundant – 29th June
- Made claim for Universal Credit – 1st July
- Last salary payment from employer due – 17th July
- Due date of first Universal Credit Payment (5 weeks after claim) – 7th August
In this example, because this person will receive a salary after the date that claim was made, DWP will deduct the amount of that salary from the first payment of Universal Credit due on 7th August 2020 leaving a zero payment and then a wait of 1 month until the next due date on 7th September.
If the claim would have been made the day after receiving salary on 18th July, the UC payment date would be 24th August and there would be no deductions made as salary was paid before the claim date. This means that a full months Universal Credit would be paid on 24th August, rather than waiting until 7th September.
The best course of action if you find yourself being made redundant is to contact our Tenancy Sustainment Team for advice. The Team now have Officers on duty every day that can be reached directly on 01932 559898 or you can email the team at email@example.com or request a call back through My PA
Latest update 30 June 2020
For our customers in Leicester:
Following the announcements by the Government, we have made some precautionary changes to our services in Leicester to keep our customers and colleagues safe. The full detail can be found by clicking on the button below:
NHS Leicester has produced a collection of coronavirus information, relevant for local patients, including different languages, audio, easy-read and sign language:
Latest update 29 June 2020
For our customers in Leicester:
Your safety remains our priority so following announcements this morning, we are currently awaiting what changes, if any, may be made to the lockdown restrictions in Leicester and the impact it may have on our services. We'll post a full update here as soon as more information is released by the Government and we understand the impact.
For now, please do what you can to help control the virus. Stay home as much as possible, keep 2 metres apart from people if you do have to go out and remember to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
Latest update 22 June 2020
From today you will also be able to report repairs via the My PA App. This is the quickest and easiest way to report repairs.
Latest update 15 June 2020
From today we will expand our current emergency repairs only service to include urgent and routine repairs. Our priority remains the safety and well being of our customers, staff and contractors. This means that some repairs may take longer than usual to complete as we comply with the Government guidance on social distancing.
Our telephones will be busy as we start to receive repairs requests. The busiest times of the week on the telephones are Monday mornings. Please bear with us as it may take slightly longer to answer your call or alternatively you may choose to call at some of our less busy times which are Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Latest update 08 June 2020
Risk assessments for our offices have been completed and are now available to view.
We have now started taking applications again for Mutual Exchanges.
Before you apply, please remember to find out from your swap partner if their landlord is carrying out their mutual exchange service as, if they are not also a PA Housing customer, their landlord may not have started offering this service again yet. We need the other landlords agreement to approve an exchange so we won’t be able to accept your application until they are.
We’re expecting a large number of applications so there may be a delay in us contacting you, but we will do as soon as we can.
Thank you for your patience.
Latest Update 1 June 2020
We are starting to resume some of our services
From today we’ll be starting to complete any outstanding routine repairs that were ordered before the lockdown started. Our contractors will be contacting those customers over the next couple of weeks to book appointments for the repairs.
From 15 June we’ll then begin to take new requests for routine repairs, heating and hot water breakdowns.
Due to the potential increase in the number of repairs requested and the requirement to maintain social distancing between our operatives and our customers, some repairs may take longer than expected to complete. If you tried during the lockdown to report non urgent repairs they will not have been logged. You should contact us again from 15 June and we will be able to log the repair request for you.
We may also batch some repairs together in order to be able to get them done in a more planned way. An example of this is fencing repairs where they can be done without the requirement for an operative to go inside a property. You will be advised of this when you report your repair.
Please ensure that you give operatives space to carry out the work required and always observe social distancing guidelines. We want to thank our customers for their patience during lockdown. Some of our contractors have furloughed their staff so it will take a little time for them to get back up to speed and provide the usual level of service. We are however doing all we can to move back to a full repairs service as quickly as possible over the next few months.
We’re starting to resume some of our planned works in a phased way over the next few weeks, where we’re able to work safely within government guidelines. This will include external painting and repairs, and roof replacements. We’ll also start to carry out external surveys to see where future works may be required. We’ll be in touch with you if you’re directly affected.
Again, we’re following strict, social distancing advice and would ask that you do not approach our colleagues and contractors while they continue to work in your area.
Keeping you safe
Your safety is our first priority so we still need to keep up with essential safety checks in your home like your annual gas safety check and electrical wiring testing. This is to make sure your home is safe. It’s really important you let us in to complete this work so please allow us access to your home.
If you receive an appointment and are currently self-isolating or would prefer us not to attend at the moment though, please get in touch and we will re-arrange your appointment. Click the button below to find out why this is so important, you could be at risk if you don't allow us access.
Neighbourhood Coordinators are also back out in their neighbourhoods from today and will be carrying out inspections across all areas.
Find out who your local Neighbourhood Coordinators
They will be picking up any queries you have while maintaining social distancing of course. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Neighbourhood pages on our website to see what the Neighbourhood teams are up to.
From Monday 8 June we’ll start taking applications for Mutual Exchange again via our website using the online form. We can not accept postal applications at this time due to restrictions around us entering our offices. If you, or your swap partner, do not have an email address you will need to create one before you’ll be able to proceed with your application.
Before you apply, please remember to find out from your swap partner if their landlord is carrying out their mutual exchange service as, if they are not also a PA Housing customer, their landlord may not have started offering this service again yet. We need the other landlord's agreement to approve an exchange so we won’t be able to accept your application until they are.
We’re expecting a large number of applications so there may be a delay in us contacting you, but we will do as soon as we can.
Thank you for you patience.
Latest Update 19 May 2020
Checking you’re ok
We’ve mentioned in previous letters that we’ve been making contact with our customers over the age of 60, or who we know are vulnerable. We’re pleased to say we’ve now contacted over 5,700 of you, and made a commitment to make repeat calls to 1,000 of you – simply to check in and say hello
From 19 May 2020 we’re going to be getting in touch with even more of you. We may be able to offer you some help or support, or let you know about local services you didn’t realise were available, or it could be a simple natter. You may receive a letter, text message or email from us which asks you to press a number or reply if you need us, and one of our team will call you back within 48 hours.
Latest Update 18 May 2020
New Coronavirus symptom added
As of today, the NHS and Government are advising of a new official symptom:
You must self-isolate for 7 days if you develop any of the following:
- A new continuous cough
- Loss / change in your normal sense of smell or taste
Latest Update 13 May
A message from our Chief Executive
Our Chief Executive, Dilip Kavi has made a short statement
Following the Government announcement on Sunday the UK is moving into the next phase in our fight against coronavirus, the most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives.
The government has published a helpful FAQs guide
What does Staying Alert mean?
Even though there have been changes, it is essential to stay alert, wash your hands regularly, and go out as little as possible.
Read the full staying alert and social distance guidelines here.
Latest Update 11 May
Self Employment Income Support Scheme
If you are self employed and have suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, you may be able to claim up to £7500 by using this scheme.
Applications can be made from 13 May 2020 but you can check whether you are eligible now.
Please click on the button below which will guide you to the eligibility checker:
Latest Update 10 May
As more detail is released from the Government after this evening's announcement, we'll be keeping this page updated with any changes to the services we provide and the support we can offer you.
Please continue to follow the guidance being issued:
Latest Update 30 April
If you are currently abroad and claiming either Housing Benefit or Housing Costs as part of a Universal Credit claim you may be at risk of these payments stopping depending on how long you are away from the UK and for what reason. Please click on the rules button for further information.
Latest update 21 April
We have put together information about the services and support available in your local area and boroughs. Here you will find information about community support groups, food banks and delivery services, as well as simple things like pharmacies and doctors surgeries.
We hope you find them useful.
Latest update 16 April - 5.30 pm
The Government has extended the 'lock-down' for a further 3 weeks. We'll regularly update you on what this means for your services and how we can support you during this difficult time.
Please keep following all social distancing guidelines.
Latest update 16 April - 12.45 pm
New Universal Credit claims
People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department of Work and Pensions as part of the process. See the latest update below.
Latest update 14 April
Scam phone calls and text messages
Sadly some people are using the current situation to gain from others, and Ofcom are reporting an increase in the number of scam phone calls and text messages which are being reported to them.
Some calls and texts claim to be from the Government, your GP’s surgery, the NHS, or even the World Health Organisation (WHO) and often include you sharing personal information or have links or attachments which can’t be trusted.
If you receive a call, text or other communication that you think might be a scam, hang up or delete the text and if you have time report it to Action Fraud on
0300 123 2040.
Remember though that the Government has been sending out official alerts to mobile phones. These are legitimate messages that contain updates on the latest Government advice. They will not ask you to follow a link for further information.
Find out more on how to spot a scam in The Little Booklet of Phone Scams published by the Metropolitan Police.
Latest update 7 April
We're continuing to make calls to our most vulnerable customers and have now contacted over 1,200 people to offer help, support and for many simply to have a chat. We've helped signpost them to local support services like food delivery, or community initiatives where they can get help.
Your local authority will also be advertising what services they can offer so it's worth checking their websites too.
Our Tenancy Sustainment Team have also now spoken to over 700 customers to offer debt and money management advice, as well as help with receiving unclaimed benefits. If you've been financially affected by COVID-19, are worried or are starting to struggle. Please get in touch.
Either text ‘support’ to 07903008003 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest update 2 April
Essential safety checks
Your safety is our first priority so we still need to keep up with essential safety checks in your home like your annual gas safety check and electrical wiring testing. This is to make sure your home is safe. If you receive an appointment and are currently self-isolating or would prefer us not to attend at the moment, please get in touch and we will rearrange your appointment.
If you live in a block of flats we will also continue to check the equipment, such as lifts, water tanks, fire detection and alarms, shared heating and hot water systems and electrics. Again, these checks are important to make sure your home stays safe and do still need to continue.
We’re also continuing with fire safety checks as normal to make sure our systems are working as they should be and we’ll carry out essential repairs if required.
The operatives and contractors who are visiting your homes to check they are safe will be following the Government guidance, so they will be maintaining a 2 metre distance, washing their hands regularly and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to carry out this work.
Help with money and debt management and benefit advice
Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are working non-stop answering calls from customers concerned about missing rent payments and day to day living costs. They can offer advice on the latest changes to claiming Welfare Benefits to help you financially if your income has been affected.
If you're worried or starting to struggle, remember to please get in touch with them. Either text the word 'support' to 07903008003 or email them by using the button below. They will aim to contact you within 5 working days.
Latest update 31 March
A reminder that during the current 'lock-down' we are only providing an emergency repairs service. An explanation of what we're classing as an emergency repair is detailed below under the update from 25 March.
We're unable to take requests for routine or non-urgent repairs at this time.
We will review this approach again at the end of the three week 'lock-down' period or as further guidance from the Government comes out.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Latest update 30 March
During this unprecedented period of 'lock-down' and movement restrictions, PA Housing have made the difficult decision to pause all re-lets of our general needs and independent living properties.
- This is to ensure the health and safety of our customers, contractors and colleagues. It is also consistent with the government advice around essential travel and contact with others.
- We're continuing to work with our many local authority stakeholders, seeking solutions for emergency accommodation when it comes to those in the greatest need or those facing homelessness.
- However the HomeMoves Team are open for business and we're here to take your calls should you have any re-housing queries, need advice on moving or whether you should end the tenancy on your current property.
Please get in touch if you have questions on 0300 123 2221.
Latest update 26 March
Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are working non-stop answering calls from customers concerned about missing rent payments. They can offer advice on money and debt management, as well as help with unclaimed benefits.
If you're worried or starting to struggle, remember to please get in touch with them. Either text the word 'support' to 07903008003 or email them by using the button below.
Again, we will not be evicting anyone who falls into rent arrears because their own income has been affected by COVID-19. We will just need to discuss and agree circumstances with you, so please get in touch with one of the team.
Latest update 25 March
Repairs and maintenance
We’re continuing to operate an emergency only repairs service for you to make sure you’re safe and we will continue to prioritise calls as they come in. If you have repairs which are not an emergency, I ask for your patience and that you do not report these to us at this time.
We’re classifying an emergency repair as the following:
- No electric power to the property. Please check this is not a power cut first
- Dangerous electrical fault
- Uncontainable flood in the property
- Blocked drains resulting in sewage backing up in to the property
- Gas leak, including the report of a carbon monoxide detector sounding or an incident
- Unable to flush the toilet if there is just one toilet in the property
- No heating if a resident is over 65 or vulnerable in terms of ill health
- No heating at any time to all Independent Living Schemes
- The property is insecure
- Faulty mains wired or battery operated smoke alarm
- Boarding up broken ground floor windows
- No hot water
- Trip hazard on communal walkway or stairwell
- Defective banister or stair rail
- Defective lighting in a communal hallway
Communal Areas and Fire Safety
We’ll aim to continue to carry out the cleaning of the communal areas and some grounds maintenance in order to keep the areas surrounding your homes clean, safe and clear of rubbish. Please do all you can to help us with this by disposing of waste and rubbish appropriately and using the bin stores if provided.
It’s especially important to keep internal hallways and landings clear of buggies, bikes and other items that could stop the evacuation of a building in the event of a fire. We appreciate your support in doing this and ask you to please report any items which are blocking hallways and landings so we can take steps to remove them.
Stay home, stay safe
We urge all of you to please follow the advice being issued by the Prime Minister and to stay at home as much as you can. I know for some of you this may be hard due to other commitments and worries, but support is available either through us or in your local community. Staying at home can help save lives.
Latest update 24 March
We’re following the advice issued by the Prime Minister yesterday evening and have now closed our offices to the public. Most of our colleagues are also now working from home and will not be carrying out visits to your homes. But, this doesn’t mean we’re not still here to help when you need us, and we’re determined to support you through this.
We’re continuing to balance the health of our staff and the day-to-day services you need, but I hope you will understand this is an extremely challenging situation for us all meaning we’re having to scale back some of our services. We'll keep this page updated as things develop and will be writing to all customers in the coming days.
Latest update 20 March
Following the government’s ongoing advice to fight COVID-19, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close both our office receptions detailed below to our customers and visitors from 5.00 pm today. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we apologise any inconvenience this may cause.
3 Bede Island Road
85-89 High Street
Surrey KT12 1DZ
We will be monitoring advice from the government with view to reopening at the first appropriate opportunity.
We appreciate that this is a worrying and difficult time given the unprecedented circumstances that the world faces with the current coronavirus pandemic and would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and support.
Latest update 18 March
Are your finances being affected by COVID-19?
We will work with any customers who are facing financial hardship due to the current situation. Support is available to those who need it, and where appropriate we will agree temporary adjustments to rent payments. We will not be evicting anyone who falls into rent arrears because their own income has been affected by the Coronavirus. We will just need to discuss and agree your circumstances.
We understand that some of our customer's circumstances may have changed and our committed to working with and supporting customers that find themselves in financial hardship. If you are struggling, we really want to hear from you. Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are a dedicated team of experts who are on hand to assist you and can be contacted by emailing email@example.com or text support to 07903008003 or request assistance through My PA
Latest update 17 March:
In light of the latest Government advice relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19), PA Housing will be delivering an emergency repair service only, from Wednesday 18 March, until further notice.
We continue to be committed to providing services to our customers, and while we appreciate this measure will cause a disruption to our repairs service and may inconvenience our customers, it is a necessary precaution at this time.
If you already have a pre-booked appointment for a routine repair, we will be contacting you to confirm whether or not we are able to complete the repair at the organised time.
If you have an emergency repair, you should contact 0300 123 2221.
Thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation.