Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about how we’re maintaining our services, providing support and keeping you and our staff safe during this time.

Customer service

  • Our receptions  are currently closed as we  try to reduce the spread of the virus. Please contact us on 0808 168 4555 if you need to get in touch.

  • Yes. However, we are having to manage an increase in calls, so it is possible you may experience a longer wait than usual, please be patient and we will answer as soon as we possibly can. You can still pay your rent by calling us on 0808 168 4555 and using our automated telephone service or online here.

  • Yes, you can report a routine repair. In line with Government guidelines, we are relaxing our temporary suspension of non-emergency repairs, and where safe to do so, in addition to emergency repairs, we can now complete some non-essential repairs to your home.

    However, as we hope you can appreciate, we are currently working through a significant backlog and any new reports may take us longer to attend to.

    We ask that you provide accurate information when answering the health screening questions which will ensure we keep all members of your household, our staff and contractors safe.

    To report a repair call 0808 168 4555, lines are open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

     

  • Yes, our call centre and housing teams are set up to work from home and can assist you on these enquiries in the normal way just call us on 0808 168 4555.

  • Yes, we’ve written to customers without mobile or internet.

  • We are aware some customers may need some extra help right now. We are making welfare calls to those we understand may be vulnerable to see if there is anything we can do to help with supplies, signposting or simply someone to speak to. We will be sure to update you if anything has changed also. If you need something before we call, please call us.

Safety

  • You don’t need to let us know if we’re not due to come to your home. However, if you book a repair and you and/or your family members have symptoms of Coronavirus or are self-isolating for this reason, it is important to let us know before we attend. Gas servicing remains a legal obligation and we will work with you as safely as possible in order to carry this out at an appropriate time.

  • We would urge you to follow the Government advice to reduce the spread of this virus https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and that of NHS to stop the spread of infection https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Repairs

  • For some time we’ve only been able to carry out emergency repairs, limited maintenance work and essential gas and electrical safety checks.

    However, in line with Government guidelines, we are relaxing our temporary suspension of non-emergency repairs, and where safe to do so, in addition to emergency repairs, we can now complete some non-essential repairs to your home.

    As we hope you can appreciate, we are currently working through a significant backlog and any new reports may take us longer to attend to.

    We apologise for any inconvenience; we aim to return to a full service as soon as it is possible.

  • Yes, you can report a routine repair.

    However, as we hope you can appreciate, we are currently working through a significant backlog and any new reports may take us longer to attend to.

    We ask that you provide accurate information when answering the health screening questions which will ensure we keep all members of your household, our staff and contractors safe.

    To report a repair call 0808 168 4555, lines are open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

     

  • If you've booked a repair, we’ll contact you to schedule the job and appointment as soon as we can. 

    As we hope you can appreciate, we are currently working through a significant backlog and any new reports may take us longer to attend to.

  • Our priority is the safety of our customers, staff and contractors. If we do need to visit your home, we will ensure we do it as safely as possible. 

    Please see the latest video, on our home page, to know what to expect from any Flagship Group staff member visiting your home. 

  • It is important to tell us if you or your family are symptomatic of Covid-19, or being shielded, when reporting repairs. 

    For further details please see the latest video on our home page on what to expect from any Flagship Group staff visiting your home. 

  •  

    We have temporarily suspended all our planned improvement work to customer’s homes to install things like new kitchens, bathrooms and boilers. We will reschedule this work once normal service delivery resumes.

  • We are continuing to try to maintain our cleaning and grounds maintenance services. However, we may have to provide a reduced service due to staff availability, the provision of Personal Protective Equipment and the assessed risks.

     

Rent and income

  • Yes, you should continue to pay your rent on time and abide by all other terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability. The government has a strong package of financial support available and if your ability to pay rent is not affected, please continue to make payments in the usual way.

    Pay rent online here

  • If you are unable to pay your rent, please contact us at the earliest opportunity. We are here to help and provide advice to those whose finances are impacted as a result of COVID-19. We are taking an understanding and realistic approach to ensure we don’t create unnecessary pressure on our customers whose incomes are affected.

  • Our Housing Teams are available to provide support and advice and we will work with you to find a way forward that we can both achieve and stick to. We commit to not taking unreasonable action with those struggling to pay rent as a result of COVID-19.

  • Unfortunately, not. Your rent will still need to be paid. However, if you're experiencing difficulties in meeting your rent payments, just get in touch and we can talk it through together.

  • You can find more information on Government support for employers and employees here and talk to us if you are worried about what this may mean.

  • If you are worried about being unable to pay your rent, or if you are in financial difficulty, advice is available from specialist providers https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/ and https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. You can also talk to your Local Authority who may be able to help if you are suffering financial hardship with things like Council tax reductions.

  • If you fall into financial difficulties due to a change in your employment or earnings, for example, you may qualify for Universal Credit. Find more information about Universal Credit at https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit.

    If you are self-employed or are a member of a partnership who are affected by COVID-19 the Government had announced an income support scheme, more details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

  • We commit to not taking unreasonable action during this difficult time and we are here to provide advice and support. A three month delay on eviction proceedings has been put in place by the Government and any notices issued will be suspended for three months.

  • The government is increasing the standard Universal Credit allowance by around £1,000 per year for 12 months from 6 April 2020.

    If you’re already claiming Universal Credit you do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020. People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

    Jobcentres remain open, but only to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.

    You can access your online journal or call the Universal Credit helpline (0800 328 5644).

    If your income reduces because you have coronavirus, you have to self-isolate, or are caring for someone in your household who is affected, your Universal Credit should change to take this into account. The Minimum Income Floor (which applies to the self-employed) will also be relaxed for those affected by coronavirus.

    Find out more click here

  • There will be no reviews or reassessments for Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for the next 3 months, whether for existing or new claims.

    For PIP claimants, if an assessment has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider to discuss how this will be taken forward.

    ESA and UC claimants whose cases have been referred to the provider will be contacted to take this forward.

  • Gas and electricity suppliers are making sure that people can get help with paying their bills and do not get cut off during the virus outbreak. If you're on a prepayment meter, you will receive help if you can't get out to top up. This may include credit being sent in the post or funds automatically added to your meter.

    Find more information here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19 and if you are struggling to get out to top up your meter or pay your energy bills of, talk to your supplier?

  • Shared owners should continue to meet their financial commitments where possible. The government has introduced a strong package of financial support, so where you can, you should still pay rent to us and your mortgage to your lender as normal.

  • Most shared owners will pay both rent and a mortgage. Like other mortgage holders, if you are a shared owner who is struggling to meet your mortgage payments as a result of Covid-19 you will be able to request a mortgage payment holiday from your lender.

    If you are unable to pay your rent, please contact us at the earliest opportunity. We are here to help and provide advice to those whose finances are impacted as a result of COVID-19. We are taking an understanding and realistic approach to ensure we don’t create unnecessary pressure on our customers whose incomes are affected.

Compliance

  • Government guidelines state that we must adhere to gas safety regulations. Gas servicing is an essential service which ensures the safety of our customers/residents. The guidance is clear and means that we must continue to carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required, if possible and where safe to do so. 

  • We will continue to carry out essential safety checks and servicing along with routine checks/testing where it is safe to do so, to protect you and our staff.

  • If there is an emergency and the fire alarm is triggered, please follow your building’s usual procedure. Where possible, please try to also follow social distancing guidelines for your own safety.

Lettings

  • To ensure your safety, we are conducting digital tenancy sign ups where possible. 

     

  • If you are due to move out, please contact us to finalise arrangements. We can arrange for you to post your keys on your final day of your tenancy.

    If you are unable to move out of your property at the end of your notice period please contact us to let us know. We will contact you to discuss how long you need to remain living at the property and make arrangements for you to return your keys at a later date. We will continue to charge you a weekly rent whilst you remain living there.

  • Unfortunately, we are unable to support mutual exchanges at this time. However, we are currently working out a process to hopefully be able to safely complete them soon. We will update you.

  • We are currently prioritising new lettings for emergencies. If you are in an emergency housing situation and at risk of homelessness, please contact your local authority to discuss. We will assist wherever it is safe for us to do so. 

Older persons living

  • Communal spaces will no longer be open for social activities and gatherings at this time to try and reduce the spread of the virus. This is particularly important as these spaces tend to be in areas where customers that should be shielded live. For health and safety reasons we are also temporarily closing your communal kitchen and bathroom facilities. Please don’t use the water supply or appliances, including communal sinks, toilets and handbasins. Laundry facilities will remain open. Please follow public health guidance when using these facilities; if someone else is using them, stay 2 metres away or use them later, wash your hands regularly and ensure surfaces are clean. 

  • All social events at your scheme, such as coffee mornings, should not continue. Whilst we understand this may be disappointing to hear, this is in line with Public Health England guidance to limit your risk of contracting the virus.

  • We would urge you not to invite visitors to your home unless it is absolutely necessary to provide care or support to a vulnerable person or deliver supplies to ensure your safety.

  • We’re making welfare calls to those we understand may be vulnerable to see if we can help with anything. We will try our best to support you – either ourselves, or try and find a support network that can. Please contact us about how we may be able to help you if you feel you are vulnerable. 0808 168 4555.

Neighbourhood

  • Yes, we will continue to investigate reports of ASB and support our customers and their communities in tackling this. If you're experiencing ASB, you can contact us and we will put you in touch with a member of staff who can help. We are working closely with our partner agencies such as the Police in trying to tackle and prevent issues as they arise. If you have been the victim of crime you can contact Victim Support on their freephone number 0808 1689 111 and information can also be found online at www.victimsupport.org.uk. They will be able to offer support to you to recover from the effects of crime and help to move forward from this.

  • Unfortunately, home for some of our customers may not be a place of safety, particularly at this time.  Please rest assured Flagship and our partner agencies remain committed to supporting you with this issue and help can be found.  If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police. Useful links can be found in the Support and Advice section here.

  • It’s really important to look out for each other. Please get in contact with us if you're concerned about the welfare of anyone living in our homes as our safeguarding team may be able to help. If you feel someone is at immediate risk of harm please or call 999.

  • In line with government policy to help avoid the spread of COVID-19. You must not enter playgrounds or play on any of the equipment until further notice.

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