Our office-based staff are working from home. The phone lines can be busy, but we will respond to your query as quickly as we can. Please bear with us.
We are only carrying out repair work and home moves that can be done in accordance with government’s social distancing guidelines. Some services remain on hold for the safety of customers and staff.
When will repairs to my home be carried out?
We are currently carrying out:
- Essential health and safety work such as emergency repairs, servicing and inspections
- Outstanding external work – for example fencing, work to boundary walls, paving, roofing, guttering etc
- Some outstanding routine internal repairs that were logged with us prior to lockdown.
Given the circumstances it may take longer than usual for us to deal with non-emergency repairs, but please be reassured that we will contact you when we are able to carry out an outstanding repair at your home – there is no need for you to get in touch, unless the repair you have already requested is no longer required.
At this time, we are unable to take any new routine requests and we will update this page when this changes.
Important – if you are due to have a repair or other home visit please:
- Let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel the appointment for any reason.
- Inform us in advance if anyone in your homes is experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating so that we can rearrange your appointment.
You can do this by:
Thanks for your understanding.
Find out more information about how we respond to repairs: Repairs and maintenance
How will you ensure that I am protected if you have to come in to my home?
Please be reassured that we are following the latest government guidance, which advises regular handwashing rather than wearing gloves.
Our staff will:
- Clean their hands regularly including before and after entering your home.
- Always try to abide by social distancing guidelines. If this is not possible, they will wear a face covering.
- Inform you when they have completed the work.
If we are coming to carry out a repair or gas service, you will be asked to leave the room until the work is complete.
If you are worried that you may have Coronavirus or the symptoms, please let us know so we can reschedule your appointment.
Am I able to move home?
Due to ongoing social distancing advice and to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, home moves are only taking place if the property you are moving to has previously been vacant.
If you have any specific concerns, please contact us
The local choice-based letting systems are now all open and taking bids. For more information about bidding and current arrangements, please visit your local scheme’s website:
- Homeseeker Plus (West Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire)
- HomeBid (Swindon)
- Homes4Wiltshire (Wiltshire)
- Home Choice Plus (Wychavon District)
Confirmed offers of accommodation
We have contacted everyone who had a confirmed offer of accommodation before the lockdown commenced to make arrangements for moving. This will need to be done in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
If you have requested a mutual exchange (property swap), we will contact you at the start of July to process your application with you.
You can still express an interest in our shared ownership properties. We will then contact you to arrange a viewing, in accordance with social distancing guidelines, and let you know how the purchase can proceed.
To view our available properties, see I want to buy
I'm moving out - how do I hand my keys in?
If you are moving home during this time, please contact us and we will arrange to fit a key safe outside your home. Please put your keys in that when you vacate your home and let us know when you have done so.
What’s happening with your new build developments?
Work on many of our development sites has restarted. The developers will be ensuring that the work on site is done in accordance with government guidance, adhering the latest social distancing rules and /or wearing the necessary PPE to ensure the virus is not spread between workers.
If you have already registered an interest in one of our properties, we will be in touch as soon as possible.
Our latest available properties are available on:
Will Cottsway be using the NHS test and trace service?
Yes. If our staff or contractors have had close contact with you and they develop symptoms associated with coronavirus, they may pass on your details in accordance with the NHS test and trace service.
Close contact is currently defined as:
- Having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
- Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
- Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
This new NHS service:
- provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus;
- gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
- alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.
For more information see: NHS test and trace: how it works
I can’t pay my rent - can I get help?
We have a team of advisors who can offer telephone / email support to help with financial and benefits advice.
If you are having problems paying your rent, either because you are having financial difficulties or you cannot pay by your usual method, please contact us
For the latest government guidance on what you may be eligible to claim see:
Can I get a rent holiday or reduction?
We will still be charging and collecting rent during the Coronavirus emergency, but we can provide you with some guidance and support on the options that are available to you.
Please complete our online form and someone from our Financial Inclusion team will be in contact.
Alternatively, you can call 01993 890000 but please be aware our phone lines are very busy at the moment.
I am self-employed and cannot work, what should I do about my rent?
The Government has announced support for self-employed people during the Coronavirus pandemic.
For further information see GOV.UK
Will I lose my home if I cannot afford to pay my rent?
We do not want anyone to lose their tenancy as a result of the virus and, in line with Government guidance, we will not be taking legal or eviction action during the Coronavirus emergency. We will return to business as usual after it has ended.
I already have a court payment plan in place, however I have now lost my job / am not getting paid. What will happen if I don’t pay my rent?
We can provide advice. Please contact us immediately on 01993 890000.
Will you continue to send me letters about arrears during this period?
We encourage you to contact us in the first instance if you are struggling with your rent payments in any way. We will continue to send out letters if your account is in arrears and we have not been able to contact you.
- The Job Centres are closed – what can I do?
Who else can help me with money advice?
We work in partnership with Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire and all Cottsway customers, regardless of where you live, can contact this branch for help and advice.
Citizens Advice offers free, independent and confidential advice on:
- Managing debt
- Managing your money and budgeting
- Welfare benefits and whether you qualify
- Applying for benefits
- Completing benefit applications
- Challenging a decision on benefits
- Understanding changes to benefits and how they affect you
- Dealing with change caused my moving in and out of work
- Increasing your working hours
I usually pay with an allpay swipe card but can’t go out
Setting up a direct debit for regular payments like rent or service charges is the easiest and most efficient way to pay. For more information, including how to pay online or by phone, see: Make a payment
If you have a allpay swipecard and don’t have a bank account, and you are worried about how to pay, please contact us on 01993 890000
- Can I still pay by cheque?
Is it safe for me to make a payment over the phone?
The security of your data is of the utmost importance to us.
Whilst our staff are working from home, we continue to practice safe standards at this time and this includes taking payments over the phone.
My parents are elderly and are in self-isolation what support is being offered to them?
We have been calling all our customers who are aged 70+ to:
- Check on their wellbeing and to see how they are.
- Help signpost them to support services.
Where we do not have their up to date phone number, we have written to them instead.
It is very important during the ongoing situation with Coronavirus that the contact details we hold for all our customers are up to date. Please help your parents to update their details online:
- Where is my nearest food bank?
Where can I get extra support and help?
For more information about community Coronavirus support groups in your area, and how to get involved, visit your local council’s website:
- West Oxfordshire District Council
- Cheltenham Borough Council
- Cotswold District Council
- Gloucester City Council
- Stroud District Council
- Swindon Borough Council
- Tewksbury Borough Council
- Wiltshire Council
- Wychavon District Council
Alternatively, many local community groups are being set up by volunteers in towns and villages, look out for information on this locally or visit:
You can volunteer to set one up if there is not already one in your area.
What are Cottsway doing to support local communities at this time?
We redirected our Cottsway Community Fund from end of March until beginning of July, offering grants of up to £2,500 to local projects and groups supporting vulnerable and shielding residents.
During this time we provided financial support to five local groups:
- Bridewell Gardens, near North Leigh
- Carterton & Brize Community Assistance Group
- Freeland Covid Mutual Aid
- St Mary’s coronavirus community response, Chipping Norton
- Witney Land Army
For more details about our funding opportunities see our: Community Fund webpage
We also supported fifty Cottsway customers with children aged 3-9 years old by offering free annual subscriptions to the Storytime magazine. For more about this offer, and to apply, see: Support for children with free Storytime magazines
I’m having issues with my housemate / neighbours - can I get help?
If you are experiencing difficulties living under the same roof as others, or if there are tensions with your street or community, please let us know.
We are working with independent specialists, Resolve Mediation and can refer you to their team of experts for additional, confidential support if required.
Resolve Mediation work with individuals and families to resolve conflict in the neighbourhood, family and workplace settings by helping people:
- come up with their own solutions to the problem(s)
- communicate in an open and positive way
- find a fair and practical solution
We are here to help. Please contact us
Is my local waste and recycling centre (council tip) open?
For latest information about waste and recycling centres (council tips), including open hours, what’s accepted and any changes to the service due to the Coronavirus pandemic, please see your local council’s website: