Coronavirus (COVID-19) tenant information

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues and the Government's restrictions on the nation remain in place, we want to reassure our tenants, residents, customers, partners and suppliers that we are continuing to deliver essential services.

The welfare of our tenants, customers, partners, suppliers and employees is our number one priority. In line with guidance from the Government, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), we’ve implemented a range of measures and procedures to both protect people and minimise the threat of the disease.

Office based staff have been working remotely or from home where possible and we have stopped non-essential travel and home visits. If you wish to discuss a tenancy related matter, or pay your rent, you can contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator and you find their contact details on the sidebar menu to the left.

We are taking emergency repairs to properties only, as well as continuing with our annual gas safety check programme.

Detailed information is listed under the headers below:

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March 2020, we have taken the decision to close all Gentoo offices to the public until further notice.

Gentoo staff are working from home where possible and emergency telephone calls will continue to be answered as quickly as possible. Please understand that given the circumstances, waiting times may be longer than normal.

We will review this decision as the situation progresses.

If you have Coronavirus, are self-isolating or showing symptoms of the virus, it’s important to note:

  • You should follow guidance from the Government and Public Health England
  • Please do not attend a Gentoo office or depot
  • If you have a repair or home visit scheduled, that you contact us to inform us of your circumstances

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March 2020, we have taken the decision to close all Gentoo offices to the public until further notice. 

Tenants must therefore either make rent payments using one of the alternative payment methods listed below:

  • You can make a rent payment at a Post Office or PayPoint (many supermarkets have this facility) with your Allpay card

If you’re having difficulty paying your rent or suffering a loss of income as a result of Coronavirus, we would advise you to follow the Government guidance around claiming the relevant support. You can find out more by visiting: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Following the Government’s announcement on Wednesday 18 March 2020 about protection for tenants whilst this national emergency is taking place, we will ensure that no Gentoo tenant will lose their home during this time. If you are struggling to pay your rent, please make your Neighbourhood Coordinator aware of your circumstances.

From Monday 23 March 2020, we will be taking emergency responsive repairs only. 

In the current situation, an emergency repair is classed as:

  • Total loss of power (not including power cuts in the area or loss due to pre-payment meter credit running out)
  • Total loss of heating or hot water
  • Excessive water leaks that cannot be contained
  • Water on electrics
  • No power to medical equipment e.g. stair lifts.
  • External communal doors not opening or closing
  • Full sounding fire alarms
  • Blocked toilet (if only one toilet in the house)   
  • Exit door or ground floor window not secure
  • Suspected Gas Leaks/Escapes
  • Suspected exposure to carbon monoxide

To report a repair please call 0191 525 5000 and select option 2. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance to housing associations across the UK, that states gas safety checks are essential legislative requirements and should not be suspended under the Government’s COVID-19 restrictions.

With the nation being asked to stay at home to save lives, gas safety within our properties is of greater importance now more than ever.

In order to keep you safe, it is essential that we carry out the annual gas safety check for the property. We want to let you know that we are committed to both the safety of you and your neighbours, as well as our legal obligations as your landlord.

The welfare of you and our employees is our number one priority.

Our gas engineers will take every precaution when working in your home to ensure you are protected. In line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England, this will include following social distancing guidelines and wearing the necessary PPE, including using face masks and hand sanitiser.

Please help us with applying social distancing by ensuring that you or anyone in the property waits in another room while our engineer carries out your gas safety check.

As an added precaution we will not ask you to sign your certificate.

In line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England, some of our planned maintenance work has now restarted. If you are waiting for planned works to commence to your home or communal area then the contractor for the works will be in touch prior to starting to give you a new start date.

The welfare of you and our employees is our number one priority. All employees and sub-contractors will follow strict social distancing measures and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when completing work.

Tenants across Lower Oxclose, Albany and Fatfield on the District Heating scheme can top up their heating on G3 and G4 Pay as You Go meters in the following locations across Washington:

G3 and G4 sales

  • Gentoo Galleries Office, Unit 7, Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington, NE38 7SD. Closed until further notice.
  • Nicholson’s Garage, Blue House Lane, Concord, Washington, NE37 2TD. Tel No: 0191 4162041. (Open 24 hours/7 days per week).

G3 sales only

  • Biddick Londis Store, 48 Biddick Village Centre, Biddick, Washington, NE38 8AF. Tel No: 0191 4168820. Open 6am – 9pm

G4 sales only

  • Singh’s Food Market, Oxclose Village Centre, Oxclose, Washington. NE38 OLZ. Tel No: 0191 4175249. Open, check with store.

Key contact details:

  • Residents experiencing problems with the meter or top-up card should contact Switch 2 directly on 0333 321 2010
  • Residents who have a repair issue with the district heating or hot water system (such as a leak, no heating or hot water etc), should contact Richard Irvin Energy Solutions on 0191 7042501  

As part of the Government’s plans to restart the housing market and services following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, we will be resuming our allocations service with a number of new procedures and safety measures, which includes strict social distancing rules.

The re-opening of our allocations service will take place in phases, as follows:

  • We will complete tenancy sign ups and property moves that were due to take place immediately prior to COVID-19 restrictions being introduced in March 2020.
  • We will re-open the bidding window for available properties via Home Hunt, initially on a two weekly cycle, starting Wednesday 20 May 2020.
  • The bidding window cycle will then revert back to its normal weekly occurrence from Wednesday 3 June 2020.
  • Re-starting property viewings where possible, including, specific timeslots and restrictions on the number of people attending a viewing.
  • We will also be exploring new ways to promote our homes, including using video footage and additional photography.

In line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England, we have implemented a number of measures and procedures that are aimed at protecting everyone involved. Social distancing must be adhered to at all times.

Full details of the new rules and procedures are available here.

We manage a significant number of residential buildings across Sunderland and would like to reassure residents living in these buildings that we are carrying out various measures to reduce the threat of the virus. This includes carrying out intensive cleaning of high contact communal areas that remain open within the buildings e.g. lifts and bannisters, closing communal rooms, guest rooms and cancelling all social gatherings.

This is a challenging time for us all and it is important we all work together to support each other and our communities. We will continue to deliver our support services for customers in need during this time. If you require any support around your tenancy, you can contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator and they will do their best to help you.

We are also working with key city partners, such as Sunderland City Council, to ensure we are supporting the most vulnerable people living in our communities.

 

If you wish to contact us during these times, you should contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator directly. We have published names and contact details here:

North Sunderland

Central Sunderland

South Sunderland

Washington 

Houghton, Hetton and Lumely 

Northumberland

If you are a leaseholder, or need to contact someone in Residential Management, please click here.

To report an emergency repair, please call 0191 525 5000 and select option 2. 

 

We appreciate this is a difficult period and we may not be able to respond to your requests.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation.

Please take care of yourself and others.