Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 20.01.2021

We are here to help. We have put together a list of frequently asked questions that may be able to answer your query. If you do need to call us, you can contact the Plumlife Team on 0161 447 5158

To assist you with your query, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions.

What services are now running for Plumlife customers?

We have now reviewed the latest Government guidance and will be making some temporary changes to the services we deliver for customers, to support the national advice and help to reduce the spread of infection. The safety of our customers and colleagues remains of utmost importance and we are working tirelessly to make sure that the health and wellbeing of everyone in our communities is protected.

Please click here for Repairs and Maintenance information.

We have now reviewed the latest Government guidance and will be making some temporary changes to the services we deliver for customers, to support the national advice and help to reduce the spread of infection.

We are now making changes to our Repairs Services and will now be providing an Emergency and Essential Repairs service only.

An emergency repair is anything causing immediate risk to the health, safety and security of any occupants and/or visitors to your home, or causing immediate damage to a property’s structure, fixtures and/or fittings.

An essential repair is a repair that could cause serious discomfort, inconvenience or cause long term deterioration of the building if not completed in a timely manner.

Visit the emergency and essential repairs information page to understand what is deemed an emergency or essential repair.

Emergency and essential repairs information

Non-essential repairs in your home will not be carried out a this time. This includes things like faulty cupboard doors, plastering repairs or broken tiling.

If you have a non-essential repair appointment already booked with us, this will now be cancelled and we will let you know when you will be able to contact us again to rearrange the appointment.

If you need to book a non-essential repair, please do not call us now to make an appointment, we will let customers know when they can contact us again to log their non-essential repairs. 

Our colleagues who are working to deliver services in your home will ensure they follow all of the most current Government guidance to keep you safe.

This means you must make sure that you keep a 2 metre distance from our colleagues at all times, stay in a different room from where our colleague is working and if possible wear a face covering.

Mixing with other households is now against the law unless the person is part of your support bubble, therefore if we are due to attend your home and the safety of our colleagues is at any risk due to social mixing then our colleagues will not enter your property and your visit will be cancelled. 

To find out more about what we will do to protect you when we visit your home and what part you can play to prevent the spread of infection, visit the Coronavirus Important Information for our customers page and select the Repairs and Maintenance Service drop down by clicking here.

When we carry out any repairs in your property the repairs operative will advise you to:

  • Make sure that you keep a 2 metres distance whilst a repairs operative is in your home
  • Make sure the area where the repair is being carried out is well ventilated – open windows and doors
  • Make sure that all internal doors in your home remain open, to minimise contact with door handles
  • Make sure all residents in your home move to another room, as far away as possible from the room where the repair is being carried out.

If you’re unwell but your repair is an emergency, we’ll put special measures in place to get your repair done. If for any reason this isn’t possible, we’ll talk to you about whether there’s another way we might be able to gain access and resolve the issue.

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that in accordance with Public Health England guidance, our obligation to carry out an annual gas safety check at all of our properties has not been relaxed and we are still required to complete this essential work.

Therefore if you are due to have your annual gas safety check, we will be writing to you shortly to inform you of our plans to carry out this essential work.

We want to reassure you that any work carried out in your home, either by ourselves or by our contractor, will be done following government guidelines. This means they will implement social distancing keeping 2 meters apart and will also wear personal protective equipment where required. All engineers that visit your property will be taking all the necessary precautions whilst working in your home in order to keep you and them safe.

Our planned investment programme of works to customer homes has recommenced. We have reviewed all of the guidelines issued by the Government and Public Health England and we want to reassure customers that all work undertaken will be carried out safely.

If you are due to receive investment works in the near future we will contact you to inform you of our plans and the safety measure we will be putting in place.

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’ Jobseeker’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. If you require further assistance or advice about any of these issues please do not hesitate to contact your NSM.

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 your charges 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 three month payment break. If you had a three 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 arrears. If you cannot 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.