COVID-19 Update 20th May
Latest advice & FAQs

Covid-19 FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

Tenant FAQs

  • When will your offices be reopening? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following Government's announcement confirming the re-opening of the English Housing Market on May 13th we are finalising plans on the reopening of our English offices whist ensuring the protection of colleagues and customers alike.   Restrictions in Wales and Scotland remain in place.         

    In the meantime you can email us using the branch email address on our website.

     

  • Can you help find a property to rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes - You can access details of available properties on our website. For further information it's best to email us using the branch email address on our website.

  • What about viewing property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Government has lifted restrictions so that applicants from the same household can now view property in England. Restrictions in Wales and Scotland remain in place.

  • How will viewing be conducted safely? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The safety of our clients, applicants, colleagues and the wier community remains our primary consideration. At the time of requestions an appointment you will be provided with details around safety measures that will be taken to help minimise the risk of infection. 

  • What measures have been put in place for viewing properties? (Excl. Scotland & Wales) Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Booking your appointment

    • Prior to requesting an appointment you should, where possible, have already undertaken a virtual viewing in order to help avoid unnecessary appointments.
    • When making an appointment you will be asked if you or any of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive in the last 14 days. If yes then we will not be able to proceed with the appointment.
    • A maximum of 2 people from the same household will be able to view the property at any one time. Please do not bring children with you.
    • We are unable to provide transport to and from appointments.  

     

    The Appointment 

    • If anyone is presenting Covid-19 symptoms when we arrive at the property we will be unable to proceed.
    • You are requested to bring hand sanitiser with you and to use it before entering the property and again when you leave.
    • From arrival at the property, we would ask that the 2m distancing rule is adhered to at all times.
    • We will seek to minimise the number of people in the same room at the same time.
    • Please avoid touching door handles, light switches and other surfaces wherever possible.
    • We will aim to limit our time in the property and will answer any questions either outside of the property or over the telephone when we return to the office.
    • The wearing of protective Face Masks and Gloves (PPE) is not a mandatory requirement when viewing a property. However, please feel free to bring it with you to wear it if you prefer.  We are unable to provide PPE for you or to dispose of any that you have used on the appointment.       

     

    We may appear different

    • Our colleague will use hand sanitiser or will request to wash their hands upon arrival at the property; they will do the same before leaving.
    • Our colleague may be wearing protective Face Masks, Gloves or Shoe Covers.
    • They will carry disinfectant spray with them and may need to use this for keys, their kit or even in some areas of the house if they feel they need to.
  • Do I need to continue paying my rent during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – Rent remains payable. There is no automatic suspension of rental payments during the crisis.

  • What if I can’t afford to pay my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you usually pay rent to us please click "Chat with Us" on the right-hand side, choose "Existing Tenant" and "Discuss Rental Payments" from the menu. A member of our team will take some details about your circumstances and pass the information onto your landlord. If you usually pay rent direct to your landlord, please contact them directly to discuss your situation.

  • Can my landlord help me if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Government has an expectation that landlords will, where reasonably possible, support tenants in difficulty. There is currently no legal obligation on landlords to support tenants during the crisis. Any support they can offer may well be dictated by their own personal circumstances.

  • What help might a landlord be able to provide if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    This will depend on your landlords personal circumstances but might include allowing you to make reduced/ deferred payments by way of a payment plan. If this happens it is important that you don’t breach the terms of the plan.

  • Can you help me if I’m having trouble paying my rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Where we manage the property and collect rent we can speak with your landlord on your behalf. We are unable to agree payment terms on your landlord’s behalf and we need their consent to change any rental payments. When contacting us in relation to rental payments please do so by email to creditcontrol@countrywide.co.uk or via the "Chat with Us" link on the right-hand side, then choose the option “Existing Tenant”

  • Can I pay my rent by card? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – As a result of the temporary closure of our high street branches, we have created a dedicated payment line in order for you to make card payments for rent and any renewal fees that are lawfully due.

    Colleagues manning the payment line are unable to discuss rental arrears. If you are having trouble paying your rent please email us at creditcontrol@countrywide.co.uk.

    PAYMENT LINE: 01623 416 100

    PEASE NOTE: You must be the cardholder and provide the address to which the card is registered.

  • Is other help available for tenants who are experiencing trouble in paying their rent? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes – If you are having difficulties and need further help this is available from your local authority, Shelter, Citizens Advice and The Money Advice Service.

  • Can I be evicted from my home during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    No – For an initial 90 days from March 27th no tenant will be expected to move and no landlord can take possession. This 90 day period maybe extended.

  • Are there different rules for eviction in Scotland? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes - The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 increased notice periods to up to six months. A number of previously mandatory grounds for possession, including rent arrears, are now discretionary. This allows those hearing claims to take into consideration the tenants personal circumstances.

  • What if a repair is required at the property during the outbreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Your landlord is still required to repair the property. There is an expectation that landlords and tenants will be reasonable and sensible around any non-urgent maintenance. Please only report repairs that are essential. Emergency and urgent jobs will then be prioritised. Click this link to report your repair where you will also receive helpful guidance.

    https://countrywideresidentiallettings.fixflo.com

  • What if I’m notified that the Gas Safety Record needs to be renewed during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Renewal of the annual Gas Safety Record is an important part of keeping you safe in your home. It includes checks for carbon monoxide production. Carbon monoxide is a colourless odourless gas that can quickly kill, hence it often being referred to as the “Silent Killer”. Allowing access for the inspection to take place is therefore very important (see below). Remember to test any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted at the property on a weekly basis.

  • What about contractors accessing the property during the crisis? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Keys cannot be collected from our branches during the crisis. To ensure your safety and that of the contractor, they will call you directly to arrange access. Please advise them of any self-isolation or illness within the household. When providing access ensure that social distancing protocols are observed. If keys are transferred do so in a secure envelope ensuring they are sanitised before and after use.

  • Can I give notice to move out of my property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, email terminations@countrywide.co.uk so your notice is in writing and we’ll do the rest.

  • Useful Information Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Fire

    • If you smell smoke or see fire call 999 immediately.
    • If living in a development of flats ensure that you are familiar with building evacuation protocols in the event of a fire.

    Gas

    • If you smell gas or think there may be a leak, open windows and doors and leave the property immediately. Do not turn on lights or light a cigarette.
    • Call the National Grid straight away on 0800 111 999, nationlagrid.com.
    • If in doubt call 999 immediately.

    No Electricity/ Supply Tripping

    • Check there is sufficient credit on the meter if you have a pre-payment meter.
    • Check with your neighbours and/ or your energy provider to establish if there is a problem in your area.
    • If your electricity keeps tripping (going off) turn off/ unplug appliances gradually turning them back on until the supply trips. This should highlight the problem device.
    • If the problem persists report the problem to us where we manage the property.

    Burst Pips

    • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
    • Use containers to try and catch the water.
    • If the water is close to electricity supplies or appliances immediately switch off the electricity supply at the mains.

    Loss of Water Supply

    • Check if your neighbours have the same problem
    • Check if the water authority serving your area has turned off the supply.
    • Contact the supplier if the problem persists.

    Lack of heating/ hot water

    • The majority of problems can usually be rectified with reference to the manufacturer’s instructions. Copy instruction manuals are readily available online.
    • Check that thermostats and timers haven’t inadvertently been adjusted.
    • With gas boilers try re-setting the pilot and re-pressurising the system with reference to the instruction manual.
    • If you have a hot water cylinder check to see if it has an immersion heater that you can use until the boiler is repaired.
    • If the problem persists report the problem to us where we manage the property.
  • Guides and website advice Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Click here to read our tenant guide

    Government: Guidance for landlords and tenants during the Covid 19 outbreak

    Government: Guidance for home moving

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