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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

BTL latest, tenant info and selling from home - Conquering Corona

Hello - we hope you had as good an Easter as possible in these unusual circumstances, and welcome back to work.

Now in its fourth week, Conquering Corona continues to share information across the industry: if you have any appropriate advice, please let us know on press@lettingagenttoday.co.uk and we’ll do the rest.

First today, Rightmove’s webinar series continues to help agents; over the past three weeks there have been over 8,000 attendees.

Agents can now watch replays of the most recent sessions on the Rightmove hub at hub.rightmove.co.uk/support while today the series continues with David Cox from ARLA.

These webinars are part of a wider content series on Rightmove that centres around making sure homeowners and tenants know how agents are keeping deals together and helping clients in such challenges circumstances.

Miles Shipside, the portal’s commercial director, says: "We’ve had some great feedback saying how valuable and motivating agents are finding these webinars. I know it’s a massively challenging time, but some agents are telling me they’re coming up with new ways to keep current deals moving, and importantly communicating to their vendors and landlords that they are working hard to do so.”

The schedule is:

April 14: Coronavirus: Legal & Compliance Update – Sales, with NAEA Propertymark;

April 15: Scottish lettings legislation update – with Propertymark’s Daryl McIntosh;

April 15: Staying energised, focused and productive when working from home – with Justin Leigh;

April 16: Teach your customers how to take great photos – with Elements’ Alex Stretton;

April 17: Selling from home (for negotiators / sales advisors) – with Tony Morris

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The consumer organisation Which? has a very good summary of how the virus and new legislation apply to the rental sector - it’s useful for agents, landlords and tenants alike.

If you want an upsum of the current situation, check it out here

And finally today, a lengthy post but an important one - and it’s for letting agents and landlords who want to inform tenants with prepaid electric and gas meters who perhaps cannot get out to top up prepaid keys and cards.

Jennifer Markham, managing director of The Letting Partnership, has kindly supplied this information for readers:

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By supplier, here are details of what they are able to do and how your tenants can contact them:

British Gas

Hasn't yet committed to sending out top-up cards or keys loaded with credit.

If your tenant is in isolation and think they will use up their balance and emergency credit, they can contact British Gas who’ve said they will find a solution on a case-by-case basis. 

See its FAQs.

Call British Gas on:  0333 202 9802

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EDF

EDF says it can post top-up cards or keys loaded with credit to your tenant’s home.

EDF has advised people who self-isolate to ask friends and family to help them top up. Where this is not possible, it says it can deliver 'preloaded' cards and keys if the tenant needs to self-isolate – this balance will then be collected back at a ‘suitable rate’ later.

Call EDF on: 0333 200 5100

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E.on

E.on says it can post top-up cards or keys loaded with credit to tenants at  home or send an engineer to top up their meter.

It says that if the electricity meter falls below 50p of emergency credit, or the tenant is off supply for gas, it can either send a card or key in the post, or it will send an engineer round to top up. However, it advises to top up a little extra or asking a trusted person to help in order to prepare for self-isolation. 

See its FAQs.

Call E.on on:  0345 052 0000

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Npower

Hasn't yet committed to sending out top-up cards or keys loaded with credit.

Npower has said it is taking steps to maintain essential services and support for customers. However, it says details are still being developed and urges anyone in self-isolation who is struggling to top up to get in contact with it as soon as possible.

Call Npower on:  0800 073 3000

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Scottish Power 

Scottish Power has published guidance on its website.

Scottish Power has advised people who need to self-isolate to ask a friend, neighbour or family member to top up for them, and to add more credit to your meter than normal. 

Call Scottish Power on:  0800 027 0072

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SSE 

SSE has said it is working through its guidance now and will update ASAP.

Call SSE on:  0345 026 2658

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Bulb 

Bulb says it can post top-up cards or keys loaded with credit to your tenant’s home.

Bulb has advised people who self-isolate to ask friends and family to help top up. Where this is not possible, it says tenants can pay online and a preloaded card will be delivered. See its FAQs.

Call Bulb on:  0300 303 0635

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Co-op Energy 

Co-op is now run by Octopus Energy, which has said it is working through its guidance and will update asap.

Call Co-op Energy on:  0800 093 7547

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E Energy

No statement as yet from E Energy.

Call E Energy on:  0333 103 9575

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Green Network Energy

Green Network Energy has said it is currently working through its guidance to customers and will update ASAP.

Call Green Network Energy on:  0800 520 0202

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Green Star Energy 

No statement yet from Green Star Energy.

Call Green Star Energy on:  0800 012 4510

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Omni Energy

Omni Energy has said it doesn't have the facility to send out top-up cards or keys loaded with credit.

However, it says it's not needed. It advises those who can top up in advance to build up credit on the meter, or ask a family member or friend to take their key or card to the shop for you. It also says it has emergency credit to maintain supply.

Call Omni Energy on:  0113 457 3219

[Since publication Omni has been in touch and says: "At Omni we have the facility to send out Gascards or Electric keys preloaded with credit."]

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Ovo 

Ovo has said it is currently working through its guidance to customers and will update ASAP 

Call Ovo on:  0330 102 7517 

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Robin Hood Energy 

Hasn't yet committed to sending out top-up cards or keys loaded with credit.

It's advising customers to top up meters more than usual if you are able to, and has said that it will always provide an "emergency support function" for prepay users. It also said it's working up a number of plans to help anyone struggling to pay or top up, which will be confirmed shortly. 

Call Robin Hood Energy on:  0800 030 4567 

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Utilita 

Hasn't yet committed to sending out top-up cards or keys loaded with credit.

However, Utilita's main focus is smart prepayment, which allows people to top up remotely. If you've a non-smart meter, it advises to top up more than usual or ask a friend or family member to help. It also says it has called all of its customers over the age of 80 and has advised them of how to top up. 

Call Utilita on:  0345 207 2000 

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The Utility Warehouse

The Utility Warehouse has said it is currently working through its guidance to customers and will update asap

Call The Utility Warehouse on:  0333 777 0777

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And Jennifer from The Letting Partnership adds: “Whether it’s a standard credit meter or a prepayment meter, energy suppliers are urging people to contact them via email or live chat first, where possible, with any non-urgent queries, to keep phone lines free for those with serious issues or in vulnerable situations. 

“And please… remember to advise your tenants to be extra cautious about who they let into the property. Impress upon them the need to always ask to see I.D. – either through a window or letterbox. If they are in any doubt whatsoever, ask them to call the supplier to verify the identity of the engineer. They really can’t be too careful – whether the Coronavirus is with us or not.”

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    Hi, the above information is incorrect.
    At Omni we have the facility to send out Gascards or Electric keys preloaded with credit.

    All the best.
    Omni

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