Help for residents during coronavirus

Council Tax and Financial support

The Government has announced a Hardship Fund to help residents whose income has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic to pay their Council Tax. This is in addition to local funds to help residents in Bassetlaw with their rent and Council Tax.

Payment of Council Tax

Council Tax bills for 2020/21 have already been sent out to residents and while the timing of this is unfortunate, we have a statutory responsibility to collect Council Tax, which is used to fund essential services provided by Nottinghamshire County Council and their Adult Social Care service, Bassetlaw District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

You must continue to pay your Council Tax if you are able to.

If you previously paid by Direct Debit, this payment will be taken from April onwards and your payments will continue to be collected automatically.

If your income has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, we will be helping residents to access this Hardship Fund in the following ways: 

Council Tax Reduction

If you are having trouble paying your Council Tax bill and you are of working age, you can apply for Council Tax Reduction.

You can do this online and if your claim is successful, you will automatically receive £150 further reduction and a new Council Tax bill will be sent to you.

If you already receive Council Tax Reduction and you currently pay less than £150 per year, your bill will be reduced to zero and you will automatically receive a new Council Tax Bill to reflect this.

Apply for Council Tax Reduction

Further hardship

If you are still not able to pay your Council Tax, please contact us and we are able to put together a personalised payment plan for you while you are in financial difficulties.

This can be done at any time over the next few weeks by contacting the Council Tax Team on 01909 533 234.

You can also speak to our Money Advisors about additional help. You can contact them on 01909 533 744 or by emailing customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk

We are currently experiencing a high number of calls and encourage people to use our online services before calling.

Ways to pay

Following the Government’s instructions on limiting the spread or Coronavirus, your safety and well-being is a priority.

There are many ways that you can pay your Council Tax. For full details visit our ‘How to pay your council tax’ page.

If you are not able to leave your home and you prefer to pay your Council Tax in person at the Post Office, at a PayPoint outlet or by cheque at one of our offices, please use our 24 Hr Payment Line 020 7000 2215 where you can pay by debit or credit card.

Please quote your 12 digit Council Tax reference number shown at the top of your bill.

We will also be suspending all legal action to recover any unpaid Council Tax until further notice.

You can find more general information about Council Tax and Council Tax Reduction on our dedicated Council Tax pages.

Benefits

If you are out of work due to the restrictions that have been put in place to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, including if you are self-employed, you can Apply for Universal Credit.

Help to Claim Service by Citizens Advice.  Offices have changed the way they offer support to clients during the ongoing Coronavirus (COVD-19) situation. They are unable to offer face to face advice until further notice, however, they are available to offer support by telephone (Mon - Fri 10am - 2pm).

You can also find more information about the benefits you may be entitled to by visiting Gov.uk.

If you receive any of these benefits and your income or circumstances change, please notify the Council’s Benefits Team online or by emailing customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk

Housing

Council Housing

If you are having trouble paying your rent as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, please contact our Rents Team on 0800 590 542 and we can put together a personalised Rent Payment Plan for you while you are in financial difficulties.

Private rent and homeowners

Renters in private or social accommodation should contact their landlord as soon as possible to discuss their individual circumstances.

The Government has announced that landlords will not be able to start eviction proceedings for at least a three-month period. In addition no new possession proceedings going through the courts.

Further information can be found at:

Landlords may also apply to their lenders for a three-month payment holiday on Buy-To-Let mortgages, which may ease the pressure on landlords and tenants.

Dealing with COVID-19 in HMOs

As we move into the recovery stages of COVID-19, the Government guidance has been updated and we want landlords and tenants to have the latest updates and answer a few questions that they may have.

Guidance for Landlords

Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated and is available here COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities (Updated 23 July 2020)

Working Safely During COVID 19 in your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

It’s important that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards and landlords should take appropriate action during COVID 19. Government guidance on working safely in people’s homes has been published and updated on 23 July 2020, which sets out in what circumstances it’s advised landlords or contractors can safely visit properties to carry out inspections and repairs.

What to do if in your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) one of your tenants thinks they may have the virus.

If one of your tenants contacts you to advise you they may have the virus you should advise them to get tested and you could send them the visit COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection (available in a range of languages)

Testing Advice

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID-19 (or lives with someone with symptoms) can and should get a test. Essential workers have priority access to testing.

There are different approaches to testing:

  • Home testing - any individual with COVID-19 symptoms for 4 days or less is eligible for a home test. More information is available on the NHS website or by phoning 119.
  • Drive-through/walk-through testing – these are the testing sites in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire:
    • Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham City Centre
    • Bulwell
    • Mansfield
    • Worksop and Retford (for those living in Broxtowe)

Testing slots should be booked through the NHS Website.

What to do if your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has one or more tenants who have the virus

  • Undertake a risk assessment before visiting and follow the Government guidance to keep yourself and your team or workers safe
  • Remember nobody can be asked to leave the HMO because of COVID-19
  • Landlords are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation for tenants if others in the property contract the virus
  • You could help by, for example, closing non-essential communal space where it would not be possible to maintain social distancing (e.g. small shared spaces for use by more than one household)
  • You could provide extra cleaning materials
  • The Government has issued specific guidance on what to do if someone in your household has contracted the virus, including self-isolating the whole household for 14 days. This guidance sets out information for tenants living in shared accommodation.
  • You may also wish to direct your tenants to Government guidance on cleanliness and hygiene for non-medical locations

What to do if your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is vacant or has a vacant room to let

The guidance on moving home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period in England.

What to do if your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) needs to be cleaned and decontaminated

You can also find Government guidance on cleaning your home to minimise the risk of infection.

General COVID 19 Information

Everyone’s actions help to reduce the transmission of coronavirus in our communities and you may want to share more information with your tenants or just have a read for your own information and safety.

View the full series of Government guidance on coronavirus.

 

Housing Benefit for Private Tenants

The Council’s Benefits Team will be reassessing and amending payments to current recipients and you will automatically receive a letter outlining your new benefit.

Mortgages

Homeowners should contact their mortgage lender to enquire about a payment holiday.

Money Advice

The Council has three money advisors who may be able to help with your current financial situation, including helping residents to access Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Council Tax Reduction and Discretionary Housing Payments.

You can contact them by emailing customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk or by calling 01909 533 774.

You can find more information about money advice.


Last Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020