FAQ on rent and income during coronavirus

Income FAQs:

1. Will my rent be suspended?

Westward will still be charging your standard weekly or monthly rent and this is a charge you will still be liable for.

However, we want to support as much as we can during this worrying time so if your income has reduced or stopped, you can contact us for a referral to our Financial Inclusion or Income team for advice on what help you may be entitled to for further financial support or to agree an individual payment plan.

Whilst this means we will work with you, this rent will still be due so please contact us if you need help.

2. Information for Shared Owners

If you have a mortgage for the owned portion of your shared ownership property and your income has been affected by the Coronavirus situation, you can approach your bank to ask if you could have a mortgage payment holiday of up to 6 months.

Any amount of rent that you pay to Westward will still be charged and if you have any concerns about paying this, you should contact us as soon as possible.

3. If I am sick, self-isolating or can’t pay my rent because of Coronavirus, will my home be at risk?

The Westward assurance means that you will not lose your home if your income reduces because of covid-19.  

If you are worried that you are going to struggle to pay your rent there are a number of options that we may be able to help you with.  Simply contact us at Westward and we will see what we can do to help until things return to normal

4. I've always worked and never had to claim any work-related benefits? What do I need to do?

Is your employer using the government's job furlough scheme, now extended until the end of the Nov/Dec lockdown? This is the government grant which means that employees can be paid 80% of their wages (up to £2500 max). This may be something you are entitled to.

The Money Advice Service has a wealth of information for anyone who finds themselves impacted by covid-19. It has a full range of information for anyone whose circumstances have changed - from advice for those who are self-isolating, to the self-employed, to those that are off work because they are sick. It sets out what you could be entitled to and how to seek help. Full details can be found on their website by following the link here.

If you need to make a claim for Universal Credit, do this as soon as you can. You can contact us at Westward for more advice on how to do this or, alternatively, you can contact the Citizens Advice service.

The Citizens Advice service operates a Help to Claim service which is there to support you in the early stages of a Universal Credit claim, from the application, through to your first payment. Help to Claim is a dedicated service from Citizens Advice. It’s free, independent, confidential and impartial. Their trained advisers can help with the process from start to finish. More advice can be found by following their link here.

5. I already receive Universal Credit, do I need to do anything else?

Yes you do. If your income has reduced or stopped you need to inform the DWP of your change of circumstances through the online portal. The DWP will then make adjustments to your Universal Credit entitlement based on your new income.

Whilst this assessment is ongoing you should continue to pay as much as you can towards their rent account and ask your employer if they are aware of the governments Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will pay for 80% (up to £2500 per month) of an employee's wage.

6. Worried about energy bills during this time?

The BBC news website has information from the power sector on their plans for protecting customers with credit meters who may be struggling to cover energy costs during Coronavirus www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51958920

If you are worried about your rent account please contact our customer enabling hub on 0300 100 1010. They will provide you with advice and make a referral to our team if you require further guidance at this time.