Coronavirus – how our services are operating

Posted on Tuesday 24th March 2020

 (last updated 6 April)

 

So that we can protect our staff and provide the best possible service to our resident who may both be affected by Coronavirus symptoms, caring responsibilities and travel restrictions, we now need to operate a limited service.

Customers may experience longer waiting times than usual so we encourage everyone to access our online services through MyTHH wherever possible.

The situation is changing rapidly and we will continue to update you.   The list below contains information about most of our services.

Rent accounts questions

We know this is a time of huge uncertainty some of you will no doubt be worried about being able to manage to pay your rent and bills during this time.

The government has announced that they will protect renters, but this does not specifically allow a ‘rent holiday’. Rent will continue to be charged and you will still be liable for paying this as a tenant, but we will be working even more closely with you now to fully understand your individual circumstances, provide specialist advice and support to maximise your income during this time. If  you do fall into arrears because of the situation we will work with you to put in place realistic and affordable future payment arrangements.

We urge you to contact the rents team as soon as possible if you experience or expect to experience difficulties in meeting your rent payments or other financial commitments. The government have put measures in place to protect jobs and income so we will explore all of this with you and ensure that you are not missing out.

We are committed that we will not take any legal action because of rent arrears against any customers affected by Coronavirus during the next three months and again urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

We will be able to take calls for urgent questions only and would appreciate it if questions about things like rent balances could be done online at my.thh.org.uk.

Repairs

We are now operating a repairs service for emergency repairs only.

To be treated as an emergency the fault must carry the risk of immediate injury to people. Examples of emergency repairs are:

  • A gas leak or dangerous electrical fault
  • Major damage to the structure of your home
  • A serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked
  • The loss of essential services, such as water or electricity.

All non-essential repairs are suspended until further notice.  As soon as our normal service resumes, we will let you know.  You can log repairs online at my.thh.org.uk

Services for leaseholders

At the beginning of April leaseholders will receive their service charge estimates and we understand that may mean that customers need to get in touch.  Again it would be appreciated if this could be done online.  You can email contactus@thh.org.uk.  You can view your account details at my.thh.org.uk and more information for leaseholders is available here.

Housing management

We will be providing an emergency service to residents. 

Caretaking

Caretakers will be changing their duties to focus on key tasks, such as ensuring fire safety.   We will assess the needs of each block and estate weekly according to staff availability and service requirements.

 

Financial Health Centre

Our office at Massingham St is closed, however we recognise that residents will be facing urgent and difficult issues relating to their financial health more than before so we will continue to provide a telephone service.

If residents need urgent help or advice on benefits, universal credit, debt or other financial issues please contact us Mon-Fri between 10am-4pm 0207 364 2200 or email us at fhc@thh.org.uk

Anti-social behaviour

A service dealing with urgent work is operating.

We are reviewing our services every day, so please check this page for the latest updates of follow us on Twitter, @THHomes.

 In the meantime please help us by following  our Coronavirus adviceThe latest health updates are available from Barts Health Trust and contains information on community languages.

Complaints

We are working hard to prioritise emergencies and the needs of our most vulnerable residents.  Please help us protect the residents who most need us the most.  Whilst recognising the importance of our complaints procedure and the need for it, we encourage you to only make a complaint if it is of an urgent nature. 

If your complaint is a non-emergency, we will log your complaint but will politely explain to you that it will take us longer than usual to respond.  We ask for your understanding and patience at this busy and difficult time. Where there is a significant delay we will do our best to let you know what to expect.

If you do formalise your complaint we strongly encourage you to make an online submission using the e-form on the THH website - www@towerhamletshomes.org.uk or email us atcontactus@thh.org.uk.  As  we are working remotely, our ability to receive and send post is very limited so there will be delays.  In order for us to respond to your complaint please provide an email address and an up to date telephone number.

When making a complaint please be aware that non-emergency repairs are suspended until further notice and we are currently operating an emergency service only.  We will not accept any complaints that relate to a non-emergency repair whilst the country is in lockdown. We will keep the situation under review and if anything changes we will update our website. 

Examples of emergency repairs are:

  • Dangerous electrical fault
  • Complete loss of heating (in “winter” period Sept to May)
  • Complete loss of hot water
  • Blocked soil stack or toilet pan (where there is no other working toilet in the property) where the blockage has not been caused by the resident.  Resident needs to have tried to unblock the toilet first.
  • Leak from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern
  • Major damage to the structure of your home
  • A serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked
  • Complete loss of essential services, such as water or electricity.

Better Neighbourhood works

 We are continuing to carry out our major repair works to housing blocks and estates where it is safe to do so in line with government guidelines during the Coronavirus epidemic.

The Government has advised that essential works can continue and we are making sure that the safety of our residents and workforce is our highest priority. We will ensure that we make any changes to our work practices if government guidelines change. 

We will ensure that we follow government guidelines around travel, social-distancing and hygiene. We are following the latest guidance and advice from the construction industry and from Public Health England. 

What we are doing to minimise risk

We have put in place the following measures to managed risks associated with Covid 19:

  • reviewing all building works on site with the aim of suspending any non-essential works which involve direct contact with residents
  • suspending any capital works which are not essential and involve direct contact with residents 
  • ensuring contractors have suitably revised their work practices to take into account the 2m social distancing rule
  • ensuring contractors are continuing to take suitable precautions in terms of Personal Protective Equipment; (both in relation to COVID-19 and other risks, for example dust)
  • carrying out additional checks on the security arrangements around sites to prevent unauthorised access
  • ensuring contractors carry out additional cleaning around blocks where they are working.

Access into your home

We will only ask for access into your home if it is absolutely necessary and will always talk to you first whilst observing the recommended social distancing measures.

If we do need enter your home we will ensure all staff is wearing the correct personal protective clothing required.

More information

Residents Liaison Officers (RLOs) operate at all of our sites and the contactor will have provided you these details. The RLOs are the first point of contact for residents who would like help or have questions about the work.

If you require any further information, please contact THH resident liaison coordinator.   

If you need to find out the details of your RLO or the THH RLC you can do so on our website here

You can also contact us on Property Services (THH) PropertyServicesTHH@towerhamlets.gov.uk

 



Posted on Tuesday 24th March 2020