Coronavirus: Important information for our tenants and customers

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to develop rapidly, we wanted to update and reassure our tenants and residents that we are doing everything we can to continue delivering vital services, whilst at the same time minimising the threat and spread of the virus.

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

Our staff have been working remotely or from home where possible and we have stopped non-essential travel and home visits.

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 for a period of three weeks.

Gentoo staff will now work 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 for a period of three weeks.

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:

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

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  

Our allocations service is currently suspended.

New customers will still be able to register for Homehunt however no properties will be available to bid on and priority assessments will be on hold for a minimum of three weeks (as per current government guidelines).

If you have recently applied for a property, our Allocations Team will contact you if you were successful and arrange for checks and key handovers to be completed at the end of the suspension period. 

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


Houghton, Hetton and Lumely 


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


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.