Ask Max (Summer 2019)

Answering questions from Derwent Living customers. 

Every issue our customer services expert Maxine, gets to the bottom of your questions and enquiries. If you have a question please email it to askmax@derwentliving.com or write to us at the usual address. Don’t forget to include your name and the name of the town you live in.

Why is there 53 weeks rent due this year? Why is this year different to other years?

Sarah, Lincoln

Every 5 or 6 years there are 53 weeks in a payment year rather than the standard 52. This is due to spare days in each year adding up and creating an extra week, as 7 doesn’t divide equally into 365.  It will happen in this financial year (April 2019 – March 2020).

If you pay your rent on a calendar monthly basis you can work out your monthly payment by multiplying your weekly rent by 53 and dividing the total amount by 12.

For example: If your rent is £92 per week £92 x 53 = £4876 / 12 = £406.34

Customers receiving the housing element of Universal Credit will need to save up an extra weeks rent as the Universal Credit regulations calculate housing costs based on 52 weeks a year. 

I have just submitted a claim for Universal Credit but I am aware that there may be a delay in when I start receiving payments. What do I need to do in the meantime?

John, Sheffield

If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance. The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment.

You can apply for an advance payment using your Universal Credit online account or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach. Remember you need to keep up to date with all your Universal Credit account work tasks so that your application is processed as soon as possible.

You will also need to keep in touch with the Derwent Living income team to discuss your rent payments – we are encouraging all customers to get into credit before they move onto Universal Credit to help during this time. We are encouraging customer to set up direct debits from the date of their first universal credit payment. You can contact the income team on 01332 614 900.

My wife is struggling to use the bathroom in our property and in particular getting in and out of the bath is becoming difficult. Is it possible to have a wet room installed, is this something Derwent Living would do or what permission do I need for this?

Anon, Nottingham

To get permission to install a wet room, your wife will need to have an Occupational Therapy Assessment carried out. You will need to get a referral from your GP or social care professional. The report should be sent to Derwent Living and will need to include specifications and drawings.

Derwent Living will carry out minor adaptations up to the value of £600. Installing a wet room would be classed as a major adaptation and cost over £600. Generally, we are unable to fund such works but we would usually give permission for you to do the works at your own cost or with funding if you are eligible.

If your home is not deemed suitable for a major adaptation, the adaptation may be declined. Reasons for refusal include layout, location and future lettability. If we cannot approve the adaptions we will try and help you find a more suitable property through our transfer policy or other housing providers. If someone living at the house is disabled you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Details are available from your local authority.