COVID-19: Housing and homelessness

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

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

The Customer Services Centre at Kensington Town Hall is open for pre-booked appointments only. Read more about booking an appointment.

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 homeless

Current eviction rules - the Courts are open but the legal process could take several months.

For most tenants there are three stages to final eviction: notice from your landlord, court action, and then eviction from the bailiffs. You should let us know as soon as you think you might be evicted.

Your landlord can still give you notice or start court action during national lockdown but the whole process will take much longer. Some court hearings will go ahead. You should get a letter from the court with the date. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out evictions where local lockdown restrictions are in place. This is likely to apply during national lockdown.

The government has also said that there will be a temporary pause on evictions between 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021.

If you are a private sector tenant and think you might be evicted please call the HousingLine number on 020 7361 3008. The Council and housing associations should be supporting their tenants to avoid the need to evict as far as possible.

If you are struggling financially and think you cannot afford to keep your current home please call the HousingLine on 020 7361 3008.

We strongly urge our residents not to ask family or friends to leave their homes. These remain extremely difficult times, and we know that life is 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 offer support 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 020 7361 3008.

If you already have a named housing advisor you can contact them on their direct telephone number (usually their mobile number), or email them directly copying in HHAT@rbkc.gov.uk.

Rough sleeping

We continue to work alongside partners to support and accommodate rough sleepers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you wish to report someone sleeping rough please contact StreetLink by calling 0300 500 0914 or visit the StreetLink website.

Alternatively you can email us at streetoutreach@rbkc.gov.uk.

If you are living in temporary accommodation and have an urgent repair

Repairs and maintenance of temporary accommodation is operating as normal. However, the Council together with temporary accommodation providers continue to prioritise urgent repairs such as:

  • 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 need financial support

If you are struggling financially, for example due to the impact of COVID-19, the loss of work or the end of furloughing, we can offer support and advice. Please contact the Temporary Accommodation Income Team by emailing TAincome@rbkc.gov.uk or calling us on 020 7361 3986 as soon as possible.

If you are worried your mental health or the mental health of family or friends

You can contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) for mental health services by calling 0800 023 4650.

Living in a hostel sharing facilities

If you are worried about living in a hostel with shared facilities due to COVID-19, or you are feeling ill, please speak to your support worker or landlord as soon possible. The NHS and the Government continue to advise that you can stay in a hostel with shared facilities. It is unlikely that you will be offered somewhere else to stay unless you have COVID-19 or are considered by the NHS to be at high risk of getting seriously ill.

Social housing lettings

We will continue to advertise and offer Council and housing association homes that are available to let. Landlords plan to continue to offer viewings to shortlisted residents, though they may do this by video link or pre-recorded video if it is not possible to offer a physical viewing due to COVID-19 restrictions. Landlords also plan to continue to offer homes to residents accepting an offer where it is possible and safe to do so in line with Government guidance. If you have accepted an offer of a new home, your move-in date might be delayed. Your new landlord will advise you what to do.

Our Housing Register and housing medical assessments

If you are not at risk of homelessness but feel you need a more suitable home, please ask to speak to a Housing Opportunities Advisor by emailing housingopportunities@rbkc.gov.uk or calling 020 7361 3008 (HousingLine).

Applications to the Housing Register and housing medical assessments may take longer than usual at the present time due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on available resources.

Housing reviews

Residents 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 due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on available resources.

If you have any enquiries about your review please email housingreviews@rbkc.gov.uk or call 020 7361 3008 (HousingLine).

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 020 7361 3008.

 


Advice for tenants and leaseholders

Housing Management services

Our priority is to keep you as safe and healthy as possible. 

The Government’s announcement of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions means that Housing Management can begin a return to a more normal service. 

Reception areas 

No earlier than 12 April we will open up reception areas for appointments with housing staff. Until then access to public receptions at:

  • The Hub, Unit A, 292 Kensal Road W10 5BE
  • 12 Blantyre Street, World’s End Estate SW10 0DS

Visits are strictly by appointment and only to resolve complex matters that cannot be dealt with by phone or email. However, we are still here if you need our support.

Please contact us by phone on 0800 137 111 or email hm-customerservices@rbkc.gov.uk.

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

Will remain closed until further notice.

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 will continue as normal.

Repairs
From 29 March we will carry out routine repairs if residents wish us to.

Our staff will wear personal protective equipment including face masks and will take all possible precautions to ensure your safety

Please contact us by telephone on 0800 137 111 or email HM-CustomerServices@rbkc.gov.uk  

Vulnerable and isolating residents

From 31 March, shielding is due to end officially and we will carry out essential gas and electric checks where these are outstanding.

The Housing Management service is contacting elderly and known vulnerable residents to ensure that they are managing well in their homes during this difficult time.


Financial support 

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.

We can also make direct referrals to specialist advisors at Citizens Advice Kensington and Chelsea, who will:

  • Check that the correct benefits and/or government assistance has been applied for
  • Support tenants with making benefit applications and registering appeals
  • Negotiate repayment plans with other creditors
  • Carry out income and expenditure reviews 
  • Advise on household budget management

Advice will be available by phone or online until social distancing rules are lifted.

Paying for your gas and electricity

The 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 rent

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.

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.