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COVID-19: Guidance for tenants

23 March 2020

Making rent payments
If you are unable to attend the office to make a payment, we can accept payments via bank transfer using the following details:
 
Rushden Office: Barclays Bank Rushden, Prime Choice Ltd (client’s a/c). Account no: 60727741, Sort code: 20-45-77, Reference: *Your property address*.

Kettering Office: Barclays Bank Kettering, Prime Choice Ltd (Clients A/C) Account Number: 40289515 Sort Code: 20-45-77 using reference: *Your property address*.
 
Please note, you can also use these details to setup a standing order to pay your rent via any mobile banking app.
 
 
Support for rent costs
You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.
 
From April, the government are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.
 
 
If you’re self-employed or not eligible for SSP
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.
 
If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.
 
 
Furloughed workers
If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies.
 
If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
 
You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
 
If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

The government intend for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.
 
 
Claiming benefits
Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

From 6 April the government are increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.
 
If you have COVID-19 or are staying at home. You are now able to claim Universal Credit, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.
 
 
If you are self-employed
You are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.
 
To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed.
 
This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.
 
 
Thank you
I appreciate this maybe an anxious time for many. We will do everything we can to support tenants during this period.
 
I will continue to update you as the situation moves forward.

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