Coronavirus and my rent / service charge

Last updated: 20.01.2021

Plumlife appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone and the current situation may impact your ability to pay your rent or service charges. We can assure you that you will not be evicted if you are negatively affected by Coronavirus.

If you are in receipt of benefits or still working, you will be expected to pay your rent and / or service charge as normal. We understand that each of our customers’ personal circumstances are different; so we have put together some frequently asked questions to assist you.

Remember, we are here to help. If you need advice or you are struggling and need help or support then please do get in touch with us as soon as you can, so we can assist you.

What should I do if I can’t work or I have lost my job / been forced to take unpaid leave?

The recent months have been a challenging time for many of our customers and we understand that everyone has been affected by the situation in some way.

If you are affected by Coronavirus and struggling financially as a result of losing your job or seeing a reduction in your earnings, you may be able to claim certain benefits.

Job Support Scheme

If your job has been affected by the new tier system introduced by the Government and you are unable to work due to the business being legally required to close temporarily, help is available through the Job Support Scheme.

Under the scheme, those unable to work will be paid 67% of their full monthly wage, up to a maximum of £2,100 per employee per month. If you are affected by this your company will arrange the payment for you.

If tier 3 restrictions affect your pay, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit.

To find out if you are entitled to Universal Credit or to check what other benefits you can access, click here.

The benefits you can claim will depend on your circumstances. You should make a claim for benefits (i.e. Universal Credit) immediately because you may be entitled to help towards your rent. Click here to make a claim.

Universal Credit is available for customers in rented accommodation and shared ownership properties. If you are already claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and your circumstances change during this period you must inform the relevant office immediately. Under the current circumstances we advise you to contact them by phone or visit their website for advice on how to contact them. If you claim Universal Credit you will be able to apply for an advance payment and you will be expected to pay your rent as normal from this.

Test and Trace Support Payment for Low-income Workers

The Government have recently introduced a legal requirement on people to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. This means that if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus and are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, you must stay at home for 14 days.

If you cannot work due to self-isolation, the Government has now introduced the self-isolation support scheme, which can be accessed through your Local Authority. The scheme will provide a payment of £500 for people on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating, to help them to ‘do the right thing’ and protect others.

To find out more about the self-isolation support scheme visit your Local Authority website. To find out which Local Authority area you live in, click here.

If you are self-employed and can not work (or are now out of work) you will be able to claim a grant through Coronavirus self employment income support scheme.

 You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • Have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • Traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • Having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • Having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return. You can find further information here.

If you have lost your job or seen a reduction in your earnings as a result of Coronavirus you may be entitled to claim Universal Credit. This will depend on your personal circumstances and you will need to apply for Universal Credit online.

If you have been working for at least 2 to 3 years and paid National Insurance contributions then you may be able to claim ‘New Style’ Job seekers Allowance. Click here to find out more

In addition, if you have been paying National Insurance for at least 2 years and are not fit to work then you may be able to claim ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance. Click here to find out more 

You can apply for Universal Credit online. The following links contain the relevant information about making a claim. It is essential that you do not delay any application for benefits as you may lose out on money you would have been entitled to.

Click here for Universal Credit

Click here for ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance

Click here for ‘New Style’ Job seeker’s Allowance 

It is important to time your application for Universal Credit carefully. If you are still waiting for any final wage / salary payment you might be best to wait till you have received that money before you apply for Universal Credit. Otherwise, you might find you have to re-apply again because your final wage / salary payment meant you were not entitled to UC and your claim was closed. In addition, this website has further advice on Universal Credit and Coronavirus:

https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/ Click link for more information about Coronavirus and claiming benefits. It will continue to be updated. Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by Coronavirus.

In each of the links you will see reference to the usual process of attending appointments and providing certain pieces of evidence. During this time the Department of Work and Pensions has relaxed its rules around these aspects of claiming the benefits. Therefore, you will not necessarily be required to attend appointments or provide evidence. Due to the current circumstances we advise you to contact them by telephone or via their website for more information.

It is vital that you contact a Property Income Manager in the Plumlife Team to discuss your present circumstances. You will need to advise us of any reasons why you cannot pay and discuss what you will be paying in the meantime. The Property Income Manager will discuss any existing payment arrangements with you and advise you of what information they need to support these arrangements. If you are still in work with no change to your income you will be expected to pay your charges on time. If you have been made redundant or are now out of work for other reasons you will need to claim Universal Credit. Once you have your benefit claim in place we can then set up a payment arrangement that’s realistic and affordable. If you claim Universal Credit you will be able to apply for an advance payment and you will be expected to pay your charges as normal from this.

Mortgage payers will still have to pay back mortgages for the initial three month payment break and any subsequent extension to this. If you had a three to six month rent or service charge period deferred you would still be required to pay it and it could be very difficult in the future when you are paying back any accumulated rent arrears. If you can not pay your charges due to reduced hours or loss of job due to Coronavirus, you need to claim benefits in order to ensure your rent and / or service charge is being paid.

If you are experiencing difficulty in paying your rent or your service charge, you need to talk to us, we are here to help you.

We appreciate that the Coronavirus situation is unusual and will hinder some customers from paying their charges in full and on time. By getting in touch with us we can discuss existing arrangements and make new agreements based on your individual circumstances.

Remember, do not stop making payments or choose to reduce payments without discussing this with us first . If you are in a position to pay your charges during this time and you choose not to pay we will have to take appropriate action. You risk losing your home if you do not pay your charges in full and on time. It is therefore essential to discuss your situation with the Plumlife team as early as possible, so we can work with you.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage you will need to contact your mortgage provider to find out what options are available to you. If you are a shared owner you may be entitled to some financial help through Universal Credit.

In some instances there are mortgage lenders who are offering customers a mortgage payment holiday by either extending your mortgage term or spreading those missed payments over the rest of your term, but you need to speak to your mortgage provider about this.