Notting Hill’s full response is below
All evictions and court hearings are postponed in line with government guidance. We are contacting residents who were due to be evicted to offer further support to help them pay their rent, if persistent and long-standing arrears were the reason for the eviction.
As an organisation we are extremely aware of the difficulties faced by our residents as the current pandemic continues. We have put in a number of measures to provide support for our most vulnerable residents. We have identified all of our residents over the age of 60 and our Housing Officers are working to make contact with them all to check on their wellbeing. Where our officers are aware of other potentially vulnerable residents they also making contact with them.
There has been mention for mortgage payment holidays and help with paying rent. For our leaseholders who are struggling we would advise that they contact their mortgage provider to consider a payment holiday. For our tenants who are struggling we are advising that they apply for the applicable benefit. Rent will continue to be charged. We have many residents who may be in high level arrears, this would not be a result of covid-19. We always look at cases individually to review what is best and whether the correct level of support has been provided. Eviction is a last resort.
We are not offering to defer rent and service charge payments and do not feel that this is an appropriate response as this would potentially store up a debt for households in the future.
We will be trying to work with our residents impacted by the impact of covid-19 in sustaining their tenancies. Our team of welfare benefit advisers are providing telephone advice to residents, casework support for benefit issues and supporting housing officers to signpost and direct residents. Are focus is always to work closely with our residents to ensure that they are able to sustain their tenancy and where arrears do arise that an achievable repayment programme is agreed. We do not seek to charge interest on accrued debt.
In addition to this our Partnership Officers are providing support to officers with general advice to residents, offers of Supermarket Vouchers, food bank vouchers and directing people to external agencies for additional support. We have also linked up with Good Gym to assist with the delivery of Food Packages to elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating residents. We will be launching a phone befriending service shortly to help residents who are isolated or lonely.
If we continue to work together we can support our residents through this pandemic
Picture credit: London Renters Union