Council tenants

If you are having difficulty paying your rent to the council, please get in touch. 

  • You can email 
  • You can also chat live with an adviser via our live chat, available on all pages of our website. 
  • If you are elderly or vulnerable please do contact us by telephone if you prefer on 01273 471600 (Lewes) or 01323 410000 (Eastbourne).

You can also keep updated on news and advice with our Homes First newsletter

The government has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect the ability of many tenants, owner-occupiers and buy-to-rent landlords to pay their housing costs. We have provided a Housing Bulletin with information on the support currently available.

COVID-19 update 

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, you can now report all repairs. 

There remains a shortage of some materials and trades. Some requests may have specific issues that need additional safety measures to be put in place during the pandemic. Mears staff receiving your request will be able to advise you if your repair is something they are ready and able to undertake, or whether it will take a little while longer.

Report a repair - Lewes district tenants | Report a repair - Eastbourne Homes tenants

Once a repair has been reported, you may be asked to send in a photograph in order to avoid a pre-inspection visit.

Should an operative need to access your home they will ask you to adhere to some precautions to minimise contact, such as retiring to another room whilst they work.

We are taking the following steps to help keep tenants in our retirement and sheltered schemes safe and well:

  • Restricting the number of people accessing the scheme to reduce the spread of coronavirus to our residents.

  • Only permitting entry to the scheme for residents and those providing essential services such as personal care, health care, maintenance, food and prescription medicine deliveries.

  • Ensuring our contractors are working in safe ways.  
  • Cleaning our schemes more frequently.
  • Careful and frequent cleaning ‘touch points’ such as door handles.
  • Providing up-to-date advice and guidance to all staff.
  • Sharing the latest NHS and government information and advice posters with tenants in our schemes.
  • Postponing communal activities at our schemes.
  • Only undertaking essential visits and offering additional telephone call checks.
  • Updating contact and next of kin information we have for all our retirement housing tenants.
  • Postponing our refurbishments at Reed Court and Riverbourne House.
  • Postponing the stock condition surveys.
  • We will be asking other colleagues to support the service to undertake health and safety checks.

Some of our staff will now be working from home due to personal health concerns so we will be asking the remaining team to help support the essential elements of our service. This will impact our visible presence on site but please be assured the team will be available over the phone

Please let the team know if you have been asked to self-isolate or been diagnosed with or have any symptoms relating to Coronavirus. The team will then cease all visits and undertake contact via the lifeline system or over the phone.

As part of our service contingency plans we will continue to provide a neighbourhood housing service. The service has already been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 situation and we anticipate this will impact will increase. 

We will update the information on our website as the situation develops and please check our scheme noticeboards and speak to members of the Homes First team.

For the safety of residents and staff we will be minimising personal contact and will only visit tenants in their properties when essential. All other support will carried out by telephone. If a visit is essential our staff will ask you the following questions prior to attending an appointment:

  • Are you or anyone in the household suffering from flu like symptoms?
  • Have you or anyone in your household been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Coronavirus?
  • Have you or anyone in your household been to, or been in contact with, anyone who has returned from any of the countries who are known to have a serious outbreak?
  • Do you have anyone in the household that would be more vulnerable to a case of Coronavirus? 

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, we will not be able to visit you in person and alternative support arrangements will be made with you over the telephone. If your situation is an emergency please contact the appropriate emergency service.

Whilst there is a cleaning contract in place for the communal areas within our blocks of flats we have suggested that residents also undertake additional cleaning of ‘touch points’ such as door handles or railings near their property. More information will be displayed within the blocks. 

There are many organisations and individuals looking to support those who are more vulnerable. Please follow guidance on this and be extra vigilant for any opportunists who would look to take advantage of those in need.

We have launched a new way of managing your mutual exchange requests to minimise the risks for tenants and staff. Please refer to our FAQ document below to guide you through our news ways of working.