COVID-19: Housing and homelessness

Information about critical housing needs and repairs, hardship support and homelessness advice

Service disruption
Closure of Kensington Town Hall – Homelessness and Housing Needs Services.


Following the latest Government advice, the Council has had to take the difficult decision to close the Town Hall to residents. We are now delivering only critical housing needs and homelessness advice and support by telephone and email. Do not come to the Town Hall even if you think your situation is urgent.

Housing Needs and Homelessness

Our Housing Needs and Homelessness Department is targeting services at residents in the most urgent need. In order to protect our residents and our staff, we are asking that you please do not come to the Town Hall, even if you think your situation is urgent. Instead, please call the HousingLine number 020 7361 3008 if the following applies:

  • if you believe you are about to be made homeless
  • if you are in temporary accommodation and you need an urgent repair

If you have any other enquiry, please email us at: housing@rbkc.gov.uk.

If you think you are about to be made homelessThe Government has announced that no-one can be evicted from their home until further notice, whether you are a private sector tenant, council tenant or housing association tenant.

We strongly urge our residents not to ask family or friends to leave their homes. These are extremely difficult times, and we know that life is becoming very hard for many of our residents. We will try to offer advice and support in your current homes – it may become far more difficult to do this if residents are made homeless and have to move elsewhere.

If you still need homelessness advice email: HHAT@rbkc.gov.uk (Homelessness and Advice Team), or call us on tel: 020 7361 3008 (HousingLine).

Rough sleepingWe are working closely with the Mayor of London to help and house rough sleepers.

If you wish to report someone sleeping rough you can email us at: streetoutreach@rbkc.gov.uk.

Alternatively you can contact StreetLink by telephone on: 0300 500 0914 or via www.streetlink.org.uk

If you are living in temporary accommodation and have an urgent repairThe Government has brought in clear advice to restrict contact with others due to Coronavirus. Therefore we have had to suspend normal and repair maintenance until further notice.

Maintenance Contractors will only attend for repairs in emergency situations including:

  • Boiler issues rendering you without heating or hot water
  • Emergency situations such as fire, flood or gas leak
  • Securing the property where there has been an incident Please contact your letting agent or housing provider in the usual way if you have any emergency repairs. You will be asked whether you or anyone in your household is in isolation or ill. A risk assessment will be carried out and further advice be given.
  • If your agent or landlord cannot fix an urgent repair please email TArepairs@rbkc.gov.uk or call 020 7361 3008 (HousingLine)

If you are living in temporary accommodation and experiencing hardshipFor example, you have been advised to self-isolate for a long time or have fallen ill and cannot get food or necessary medicines for yourself.

If you live in Kensington and Chelsea and have been contacted by the NHS about receiving support please visit the COVID-19 Hub and support for vulnerable residents webage.

If you live in another Borough you will receive support from the Council where you live, not from Kensington and Chelsea Council. Please contact the Council where you live or visit their website for further information. Find your local Council on GOV.UK website.

If you are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 we can offer support and advice on welfare benefits and financial help for those who have lost employment or are struggling to make ends meet. Please contact the Housing and Employment Team by email at: housingandemployment@rbkc.gov.uk or call us on tel: 020 7361 2070.

Living in a hostel sharing facilitiesIf you are not at high risk the NHS and the Government advise that you can stay in a hostel with shared facilities. It is unlikely that you will be offered somewhere else to live unless you are considered by the NHS to be at high risk of getting seriously ill.

View the latest Government advice on sharing facilities on the GOV.UK website.

Our Housing Register and housing medical assessmentsUntil further notice, we have suspended all new applications to the Housing Register and to options for moving home while we direct resources to our most urgent priorities.

Housing reviewsResidents who are unhappy with a decision on their case or on the suitability of their temporary accommodation can still request a review – we continue to work on these. However, it may take longer to reply to enquiries and to complete a review as we direct resources to our most urgent priorities.

If you have difficulty finding the information provided above, or have any housing enquiries, you can email us at: housing@rbkc.gov.uk or call us on tel: HousingLine on 020 7361 3008.

 

Advice for tenants and leaseholders

Housing Management services

Our priority is to keep you as safe and healthy as possible. We are working hard to keep services running and will continue following the advice of Public Health England. You can help by only contacting us if it is absolutely necessary so that we can focus our efforts on helping those most in need.

It is likely that some further changes to the way we deliver housing management services will be needed, to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading. We will keep you fully informed of these.

Reception areas and Customer Service Centre

As a result of the latest Government advice, all Kensington and Chelsea Council reception areas across the borough have been closed with immediate effect.

This includes the Customer Service Centre at Kensington Town Hall, which will remain shut until further notice and we urge all residents not to attend in person.

For support, the Customer Contact Centre (our customer phone line) can be contacted between 8:30am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday:

  • Social Service Line: 0207 361 3013
  • Housing Line: 0207 361 3008
  • Housing Benefit Line: 0207 361 3006
  • Local Support Payments Line: 0207 745 6464
  • Resident Parking Line: 0207 361 4381
  • Council Tax Line: 0207 361 3005
  • Environmental Health Line: 020 7361 3002
  • Switchboard: 0207 361 3000

The following locations will remain shut until further notice and we urge all residents not to attend in person. Instead, please use the contact details listed to make any enquiries.

The Hub, Unit A, 292 Kensal Road W10 5BE

To discuss rent, repairs or neighbourhood queries, please call 0800 137 111 or email: hm-customerservices@rbkc.gov.uk.

12 Blantyre Street, World’s End Estate SW10 0DS

To discuss rent, repairs or neighbourhood queries, please call 0800 137 111 or email: hm-customerservices@rbkc.gov.uk.

Baseline Studios, Lancaster West Estate, Whitchurch Road W11 4AT

Phone 0800 389 2005 or email: lancasterwestoffice@rbkc.gov.uk

The Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team will be posting regular updates @lancasterwestneighbourhoodteam on Instagram, on the WeAreW11 App and through letters to residents.

Cleaning and caretaking

We will continue to thoroughly clean your blocks and estates. There will be more focus and additional cleaning in the busiest areas and higher risk ‘touch points’ such as door handles, stair rails, lifts and entryphone systems. 

Our caretaking services will also continue to keep your blocks and estates clean, tidy and free from litter, spillages and other hazards that could help spread the virus.

Please keep at least two metres (6.5ft) away from our caretaking staff.

Our quarterly estate inspections have been cancelled until further notice.

Repairs

Our repairs service will need to focus on urgent and emergency repairs for the foreseeable future. If your repair need is not urgent or an emergency, you may have to wait much longer than normal. We appreciate your patience.

We will need to know if you are self-isolating before attending your home. If your repair is not urgent or an emergency and you are self-isolating, we will not attend until the period of isolation is over.

If you are self-isolating and it is urgent or an emergency we will attend, however our staff will have to wear specialist personal protective equipment.

Any staff who test positive for Coronavirus will not be at work, and those who feel unwell will not visit you or carry out any appointments.

Vulnerable and isolating residents

Please check on your neighbours and let us know if there are vulnerable residents that you think may need our help, especially if they are self-isolating.

Please do not go into your neighbours’ homes. A phone call can be reassuring in what could be a lonely situation for some people, especially the elderly.

Support for residents isolating

Over the coming weeks the Council will be supporting ‘shielded’ residents who have been told to stay at home by the NHS. Shielding is a measure to protect people who are extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction with others.

In addition, the Housing Management service has started to contact elderly and known vulnerable residents to ensure that they are managing well in their homes during this difficult time.

Support for hardship or difficulties 

Financial difficulties

We know that many residents will be struggling financially as a result of the current crisis and worrying about how to make ends meet. We want to assure you that we will not be taking tenancy enforcement action for rent arrears at this time. We are here to help, so please call us if you are worried about finances or need additional support. 

Call us on tel: 0800 137 111 or 020 3617 7080 or email us at: HM-CustomerServices@rbkc.gov.uk.

Remember, you can still pay your rent by Direct Debit or Standing Order. You can also pay your rent online. Details of these payment methods are available on the Your rent page.

If you are unable to use these payment methods, or have worries about paying your rent, please call us on tel: 020 3617 7080.

Paying for your gas and electricityThe government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak. If you think you can’t afford to pay for extra gas or electricity used because you’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier. Your supplier must consider how much you can afford and will explain your options. No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak. Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home to top up their meter should contact their supplier straightaway to discuss options.

These may include:

  • someone being sent to top up your prepayment card or token/key. 
  • having funds added to your meter credit.
  • having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post.

Paying your rentWe know that many residents will be struggling financially as a result of the current crisis and worrying about how to make ends meet. We want to assure you that we will not be taking tenancy enforcement action for rent arrears at this time.

To help our residents who may be struggling to keep up with rent payments during the pandemic, we have set aside a fund to support you.
If you want to find out more about this, please email HM-Rentincome2@rbkc.gov.uk or call 0800 137 111. Staff will then advise you on how this works.

If you need help, you can contact:

  • The North Office (The Hub): 020 7605 6341
  • The South (Blantyre) office: 020 8206 7525
  • The Rent Income team: 0800 137 111

You can find the latest information and advice from the NHS website.

If you are concerned, you should contact the NHS 111 online.

There is information from the the Department for Work and Pensions about the support available for claimants during the COVID-19 pandemic on the GOV.UK website.