Merthyr Housing Services Update – COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic your Merthyr Housing team have focused on keeping our residents, staff, contractors and community members safe and help control the spread of the virus through our carefully considered service delivery.

Our staff are helping support our residents and communities wherever we can.  Over the past few months we have provided assistance with food provisions for the most vulnerable in our society including free school meal recipients and those isolating and shielding.

MTHA staff are working hard to ensure we can deliver the best service we can to our residents and communities.  If you have any questions please continue to call the main office phone number 01685 352800 where you will still be able to speak to the reception team.  As we are no longer working in the same building if the reception team are not able to deal with your query your message will be passed on to the team members who will respond as soon as possible.  We do ask that at this time you are patient with staff members as due to the nature of remote working things may take longer than normal to resolve and be assured that staff are working hard behind the scenes to respond to you.

With restrictions and rules changing on a fairly regular basis at the moment we realise that it can be difficult to understand what you are allowed to do at the moment so please click here to see what the current restrictions are in the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council area.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’s)
PAYING YOUR RENT
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Repairs & Maintenance
WHAT TO EXPECT IF WE DO NEED TO VISIT YOUR HOME!
LETTING HOUSES
MERTHYR HOUSING OFFICE AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):

As soon as we are safely able to do so we will return to a full service but with restrictions still in place we thought we would provide this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) section which will hopefully answer your questions regarding which services we are currently able to offer.  

Repairs and Maintenance:

  • Question 1 – Are you still carrying out repairs?
  • Answer – Yes, we will continue to undertake emergency repairs, essential services inside homes and external works.
  • Question 2 – How do I know if I have an emergency repair?
  • Answer – Emergency repairs are the kind of things that require action quickly or which may result in danger to an individual, affects security to your home or  lots of damage to the home.  These kind of things may include water leaks/burst pipes, replacing broken windows or sewerage overflowing into your home.  If you are not sure if it is an emergency repair then call Merthyr Housing on 01685 352800 who will advise you, please remember we would prefer you to call if you are not sure.
  • Question 3 – What if I have a different type of repair, should I report it?
  • Answer – We class other repairs as routine repairs and these may include things such as adjusting cupboard doors, minor kitchen repairs, wall tiling repairs or vinyl flooring repairs.  Please report all repairs but be aware that our usual timescales for completing works are very different during the pandemic and there is a large backlog of repairs which may take many months to get through once we are able to start undertaking these works.  We are not carrying out these works currently to reduce the amount of visitors inside homes in line with government advice to keep staff members, contractors and residents living in their homes as safe as possible during this period.
  • Question 4 – Do I still need to contact liberty gas if I have an issue with my boiler or hot water supply?
  • Answer – Yes, Liberty gas are still operating a full service.
  • Question 5 – Are gas safety inspections and other safety inspections still being done?
  • Answer – Gas and other safety checks to your home are still being carried in line with the latest guidance from the Welsh Government.
  • Question 6 – Are you carrying out upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms?
  • Answer – We will not be undertaking any planned upgrades to kitchens, bathrooms or any other inside areas until further notice.  This is again to protect our staff, contractors and tenants in their homes and to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • Question 7 – What about work outside such as roof repairs and grass cutting?
  • Answer – We will be able to undertake outside work where it is safe to do so and we are able to maintain social distancing.  Again we would ask that you are patient with us as due to many factors related to the pandemic it is taking us longer to carry out all work.

What to expect if we do need to visit your home!

Any works undertaken will be following strict health and safety protocols in line with the latest advice, including the use of face coverings, to protect both you and our staff. Please follow all health and safety guidance given to you by our teams and respect our operatives. Our staff will follow the guidance on physical distancing in the workplace and we ask that you also follow coronavirus social distancing guidance while they are working.

If you or anyone in your household are shielding or showing symptoms of the virus please ensure you inform us when you are reporting your repair.  We will not be able to carry out any inspections or undertake any works at your home until you have completed the appropriate isolation/recovery periods.  If you or any  member of your household develops symptoms or is tested positive for coronvirus after you have logged your repair please ensure you inform Merthyr Housing and our staff member or contractor prior to them entering your home.  To ensure the safety of our staff and contractors, we will not undertake any inspections or works at your property until you have completed an appropriate isolation/recovery period.

Letting Houses:

  • Question 8- Are Merthyr Housing letting properties to new tenants?
  • Answer – Yes!  We are letting properties but the new process is very different to how you may have viewed a property previously.  The tenancy management officer will arrive at the property and open up before you arrive.  We ask that as few people enter the property as possible to reduce the risk of infection and this includes children.  You will be required to wear a face mask or visor while viewing/inside the property! Friends and relatives will not be able to enter the property with you.  If you decide that you would like to rent the property you will be able to sign for the property during this visit.  Once you have discussed, socially distanced, any details with the tenancy management officer you can return the signed tenancy agreement and at that point you will have full access to the property.
  • Please speak to your tenancy management officer if you have any questions or concerns about starting your tenancy.
  • Question 9- Are Merthyr Housing offering mutual exchanges?
  • Answer – Unfortunately, due to the process for agreeing mutual exchanges we have taken a safety first approach and decided not to offer this service at this time.  We will continue to review the situation and will use our website, social media channels and other communication channels to update any changes to the mutual exchanges  process.

Paying your rent:

  • Question 10 –  Could I loose my home as I am not able to afford my rent due to Coronavirus?
  • Answer – NO! No-one will lose their home because they cannot pay their rent due to financial hardship caused by Coronavirus but you do need to contact us early and we are ready to help with advice and support. If you are affected by the Coronavirus and you are worried what this might mean financially, we are here to listen, advise and support you where we can.  Please call 01685 352800 as soon as possible and use option 2 to speak to a member of the rents team who will be happy to help you.

Letter to all social housing tenants in Wales from Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government

Welsh Government: Support available if you are a tenant living in Wales-COVID-19

Community Development:

  • Question 11 – Are there still things going on for tenants to get involved in?
  • Answer – Yes, Throughout the pandemic the community team have been busy supporting the community and have focussed on providing emergency food for those in the community isolated and in need of assistance.  It does not look likely that face to face meetings will be able to start again in the short term.  There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in online activities such as slow cooker classes, fitness sessions and interactive sessions.  We have managed to get some funding so that if you do not have access to the internet we can help and give you both a tablet and internet access.  For more information on upcoming activities please visit our Facebook page here If you would more information on how to get a tablet and internet access please call 01685 352800 and ask to leave a message for one of the community development team.
  • Question 12 – Can I still take part in groups about the services Merthyr Housing provide?
  • Answer – Yes, if you would like to take part in one of the groups which monitor the service of Merthyr Housing please call Lee Jones on 01685 352803.  All groups are meeting virtually at the moment but we can help you with a device and internet access to take part in the groups.

Merthyr housing office and contact information:

  • Question 13 – Is the office still closed?
  • Answer – Yes, In response to the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association (MTHA) has had to make the difficult decision to keep our office at 11/12 Lower High Street in Merthyr Tydfil, closed.

Our main telephone number (01685 352800) will still direct you to members of our team between 9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and outside this time, our usual out-of-hours service will be maintained by our partners.

Liberty Gas                0800 328 4322

Low rate for mobile users 0330 123 9622

Gas Emergencies    0800 111999 (if you smell gas)

MTHA Freephone    0800 731 4293

Central Control         01685 385231

For those wishing to contact us via email, the following email addresses should be used:

General enquires/reception: MTHA@mtha.org.uk

Rents team (for rent payments or queries): Rent.recovery@mtha.org.uk

General Maintenance & Development team: Maintenance@mtha.org.uk

Repairs team: Repairs@mtha.org.uk

Housing team: Housing@mtha.org.uk

Community Development team: CommDev@mtha.org.uk

Finance (invoicing & accounts) team: Finance@mtha.org.uk

We will provide an update on our website and via social media (Facebook and Twitter) on when the office is due to re-open in due course, but in the meantime, please be assured that we will do our utmost to maintain our high levels of service to all our tenants and other stakeholders at this difficult and ever changing time.

Your patience and understanding at this time is appreciated.

Karen Courts

Chief Executive