Coronavirus: advice for customers

Following the latest Government announcement of the new measures that have been introduced around self-isolation, stopping non-essential travel and working from home where possible, Longhurst Group is making some changes to the way we deliver services to our customers.

Coronavirus: advice for customers

  This page was updated: 4.25pm on 15/04/2020

Following the latest Government announcement of the new measures that have been introduced around self-isolation, stopping non-essential travel and working from home where possible, Longhurst Group is making some changes to the way we deliver services to our customers.  

The current situation is clearly going to be extremely difficult for our customers and colleagues. Wherever possible, we are looking to maintain the services we provide, focusing our efforts on continuing to deliver essential care and support and emergency repairs.

More information about what this means for you is detailed on this page.


Coping financially

We understand that the current situation is extremely worrying. You are likely to be concerned about your health and safety and the wellbeing of your family and friends, while also wondering how you will cope financially.

Many of you will be experiencing increased uncertainty around your income and what the future might hold.

As a responsible landlord, we want to provide you with as much reassurance and support as we possibly can, but it is really important that you continue to pay your rent.

 If you are having any difficulties with paying your rent, related to coronavirus or otherwise, then we are here to help.

Our dedicated team of income and money advice experts are on hand to listen to your concerns and provide clear and compassionate guidance.

They will assess all of your options and ensure that you’re accessing any support you are entitled to.

Please do not suffer in silence. There are options available to you, and we are here to help.

If you are worrying about your finances, pick up the phone and speak to us today - call 0300 123 1745 and press 2 to speak to the Income Team.

  Coronavirus - money advice for our customers

Read our Money Advice Team's useful tips and advice on how to manage your finances during the Coronavirus outbreak


Contacting us

 We have now closed all of our offices. They will remain closed until the latest government restrictions are lifted.

We still want to stay connected with our customers and that means you are likely to receive more phone calls and emails from us as we communicate with you in a different way.

  We are also carrying out wellbeing calls to customers to check how you are doing and see if we can be of assistance.

When we phone, we will identify ourselves as Longhurst Group but if you have any concerns, please call us on 0300 123 1745 to check that it’s a legitimate call.

  Alternatives to postal services

Postal services are likely to be disrupted during this time so please contact us in another way, whether it’s picking up the phone or using our online contact us form


Services provided by our contractors

Following the latest government guidance around social distancing, we are only providing a minimum emergency frontline service and limiting our face-to-face contact with customers to emergency contact only.

 During the current government restrictions and for the foreseeable future, our contractors will only carry out essential works and health and safety compliance works.

We are also committed to completing any ongoing or planned work where it needs to be completed, to keep customers safe and secure.

Please be assured that all of our contractors are following the government’s health and safety guidance and have the necessary risk assessments in place.

 If accessing your property, contractors should be taking the appropriate action to keep you safe and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

 Before agreeing to schedule an appointment, contractors will check whether you or anybody living in your home has coronavirus or is displaying any of its associated symptoms.

 When contractors access your property, they will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

 If our contractors are not wearing this clothing, do not allow them access to your property and please call us straight away to make us aware.


Our repairs service

 We will only be providing emergency repairs for the foreseeable future. This means that when you raise an emergency repair, we will attend your property and complete the repair within 24 hours.

All non-emergency repairs will be booked in and completed within 120 days, unless it becomes clear they cannot be delayed for that length of time. However, we will not be making any appointments for non-emergency repairs in the next 90 days.


Gas safety checks

 To help keep you safe and following guidance from the Social Housing Regulator, we will continue to carry out gas safety checks.

These checks are really important and we would like to reassure you that our contractors will be wearing PPE when they visit your home.

 If our contractors are not wearing this clothing, do not allow them access to your property and please call us straight away to make us aware.


Grounds maintenance

 Following a further review of our approach, we are pleased to confirm that we are resuming our grounds maintenance services.

This decision follows discussions with our contractors to ensure that safe social distancing practices can be observed while operatives carry out this necessary work.

In the short term, this means there will be some changes to how our contractors work and the frequency of their visits, as we continue to do all we can to protect both our customers and those providing these services.

Over the coming weeks, operatives will spend more time on site to ensure the grounds are brought back up to standard as soon as practical.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this challenging time. 


Communal areas

Where you live, if there are areas where you come into close contact with other residents, including communal areas inside and outside, please follow the government’s social distancing guidelines and remain at least two metres apart. Please also avoid congregating in groups, also in line with the government guidance.

We have already taken the decision to close communal areas at some of our schemes, including laundries and communal lounges, where we feel social distancing cannot be achieved.


Cleaning

 We have stopped all window cleaning contract activities until further notice.

Cleaning is still being carried out in key communal areas at our properties. Cleaners are using stronger products as part of an upgraded cleaning service in these areas.  


All of these measures are subject to further and ongoing review and if and when government advice changes.

 Remain vigilant

During these uncertain times, some people will try to prey on people’s concerns and vulnerabilities. We’ve already had reports of people contacting customers about hoax insulation work.

 Please be extra vigilant when answering your door to anybody, taking any calls and reading emails, to ensure they are genuine.

Our contractors should always be wearing identification. If they do not have identification or are not wearing PPE, do not let them into your property.

  Any concerns you may have

Although the way in which we deliver services is changing, we are still here to support you and would encourage you to get in touch on the phone and online to access all of our services. 

We know that many customers will be concerned about job security and potential changes to their income and we would advise you to contact us to talk through these concerns.

  Here to help

As well as our Money Advice Service, we are currently looking at what more can do to help people who may be struggling financially over the coming weeks and months.

If you are looking to find work, want to brush up on your skills or learn new ones, we can help you - we also offer employment and skills support.

More information about this will be released when we have it. 


  Spotting the signs of Coronavirus

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus please visit the NHS webpage

We would urge customers to continue to follow the Government’s advice to avoid catching and spreading germs.

 Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.

 Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

 Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

 Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

The symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to a flu:

 Cough

 High temperature

 Shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms, or you have recently returned from travelling to an affected area, you should call the NHS helpline on 111.

Please do not visit your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

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