Housing and Tenancy advice for Torbay residents

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(Last Updated On: April 6, 2020)

Torbay Council’s housing team are continuing to work throughout the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic to provide residents and landlords with tenancy and housing advice.

Threatened with eviction: If during this time you are threatened with homelessness, or you cannot access your home because the locks have been changed you can contact the Housing Options team on 01803 208723 or via housing.advice@torbay.gov.uk

Occupiers of park homes who have no other home to return to, (as you occupy the property as your only residence and have exclusive use of the dwelling) the government has determined that is it appropriate for you to remain in the property. Park home occupiers who have a home elsewhere, should consider returning home taking into account the latest government advice regarding necessity of travel.

Electrical supplies: Emergency measures with energy providers have been agreed by the government to protect energy supplies of those most in need. Customers with pre-payment meters who are unable to add credit are advised to speak with their energy provider to discuss options to keep them supplied. Some of the options available include; nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so their supply is not interrupted.

Any energy customers in financial distress are also advised to contact their energy provider, who have a range of support options available which could include debt repayment plans, bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

Tenants who purchase electricity directly from their landlord via prepayment meters, but do not have sufficient stock to last for 12 weeks should contact their landlord immediately to organise sufficient, ongoing access to the electrical provision. In addition, landlords will also need to consider how their tenants can still obtain credit now and in the immediate future. Landlords will be required to have measures in place to ensure their tenants have the ability to top-up their meters if they, or their landlord is self-isolating or if the landlord is unable to access the property.

If your landlord is refusing to provide you with access to electricity you can contact us for assistance through our website https://www.torbay.gov.uk/housing/renting/housing-repairs/

Housing conditions: Your health and safety is important to us, that is why we have made some changes to our housing procedures to help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. If you have any safety concerns about the property you live in, or if your landlord isn’t making appropriate repairs you can let us know via our website https://www.torbay.gov.uk/housing/renting/housing-repairs/.

On receipt of your complaint we will assess the need and decide on the next course of action. Visits will only be made where a serious health concern is identified, and no visits will be made to households that are self-isolating.

House in multiple occupation (HMO) If you are residing in an HMO and need advice regarding social distancing, please see the latest advice and guidance from the government https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

During this time we will only be receiving HMO license applications online. If you are unable to provide supporting documents due to contractors being unable to undertake certification checks (such as fire safety and gas safety), you will still be able to submit your application without these documents and fulfil the outstanding requirement at a later date.

Tenants are still able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for Rent Repayment Order (due to failure to license), however you will need to seek guidance directly from the Tribunal on their working guidelines.

Visit to licensed HMO’s will be restricted during this time. We are still requesting and accepting annual certificates, if you are unable to provide them due to the unavailability of contractors it is important to let us know.

Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “Whilst some services have changed in light of government advice, Torbay Council staff are working hard to maintain as many as services as they can for as long as can, especially those that offer vital advice and support. Any resident worried about eviction, their housing conditions or paying their energy bills should contact our housing advice team or their energy provider directly to discuss the options available. In addition to housing advice, a range of help is available for individuals who need financial support during this difficult time. Full information can be found at www.torbay.gov.uk/financial-support-for-individuals/

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