Frequently Asked Questions

To help you find information quickly, here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we are asked.

To help you find what you need, the FAQs have been organised by category and include links to more information on this website.

The easiest way to report a non-emergency repair is to use our online form and we will get in touch with you.

If your repair is an emergency, you should always call us on 0800 916 1525 or 0330 123 3561. Our Customer Service Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so whatever time you call, we can help. 

Alternatively, you can:

Text: 07800 006781

Typetalk / minicom: 07800 006781

Call charges

The '0800' number above is free if you call from a landline. The ‘01’ and '03' numbers are charged at the normal national rate by all providers, including mobile, and are included in ‘free minutes’ if you have them. For exact charges from your mobile phone, check with your provider.

For more information:

  • Please visit our Report a repair page for more information on repairs including our self-help repair guides.

We offer a variety of ways for you to pay your rent:

  • By Direct Debit
  • By Standing Order
  • By payment card
  • Online
  • By telephone
  • By post to our offices

For more information:

What should I do if I can’t pay my rent?

Contact us straight away. If you do, it is easier for us to help. We can help you by:

  • Listening to what you have to tell us.
  • Agreeing on a suitable payment plan with you.
  • Informing you of other agencies that may be able to assist you.
  • Helping to check if you are entitled to benefits.

For more information:

If I pay my rent by Direct Debit, who will amend my Direct Debit should my rent change?

We will advise your bank of any changes to your rent.

If I pay my rent by Standing Order, who will amend my Standing Order should my rent change?

You will need to contact your bank to make any changes to a Standing Order.

For more information:

Please visit our Rent, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit page.

Can I claim Housing Benefit?

If you are over 16 years of age and are living in a rented property, you may be able to claim for help with your rent.

More information about Housing costs and Universal Credit can be found on Gov.uk website. (Link opens in a new window)

How do I pay my rent with Housing Benefit?

If you claim Housing Benefit this can be paid directly to us, which will make things easier and give you the peace of mind that your rent has been paid. Do remember though, if your Housing Benefit does not cover the full rent, you will have to pay the remaining amount.

I receive Housing Benefit, what do I do about rent increases?

Please send a copy of the rent increase letter you receive to your Local Authority Housing Benefit section. We will also let the Housing Benefit department know about any changes.

For more information:

Please visit our Rent, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit page.

How do I rent a home with Sanctuary?

We are one of the largest social landlords in the country providing general rented homes. There are many different ways for people to rent a property from us, including:

  • Through your local authority

    Most of our homes are let through local authorities. The best way to rent a Sanctuary home through your local authority is to join their housing list.
  • Directly from us through our needs-based housing allocations system

    We hold our own waiting lists for properties in some areas of the country.

To join our housing list and be considered for these properties, you must meet our criteria for rehousing. Our criteria and application process is detailed in our Guide to applying for housing (PDF 414KB). You can enquire about applying for housing with Sanctuary via our online form or by calling us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511.

How do I buy or part-buy a home with Sanctuary?

We have home ownership properties of various types, including shared ownership, homes bought under various right-to-buy legislation and retirement schemes.

We can help you find the home you need and the home ownership scheme that's right for you.

For further information:

Please visit our home ownership website (this link will open in a new window) or call 0800 916 1444 or 0300 123 3516.

Services for existing homeowners

As your landlord, we aim to provide you with an excellent, customer-friendly service. We also want you to be involved in making decisions that affect your home and your community.

As a home owner, you have an individual agreement with us, unique to your property, called a ‘lease’ or ‘transfer document’.

It is important you know the type of agreement you have with us, so you understand the services we will provide and your rights and responsibilities.

For further information:

Please view our Homeowners' Handbook (PDF 1MB).

How do I get involved?

We value the opinions of all our residents and want to involve you in the work we do, so if you would like to get involved, please visit our Resident Involvement page.

What is the Grand Ideas Fund?

Sanctuary’s Grand Ideas Fund offers up to £1,000 to groups who need financial support to help deliver activities within their local community.

Who can apply for the Grand Ideas Fund?

The fund is designed to support as wide a variety of projects as possible and it is open to applications from charities, community groups and voluntary organisations.

For further information:

What is Maureen’s Gift?

Maureen's Gift gives community groups across Rochford the opportunity to benefit from a share of £5,000.

How do I apply for Maureen’s Gift?

To apply, please complete our Maureen's Gift application form (PDF 233KB).

For further information:

What is Chester Community Chest?

Sanctuary’s Chester Community Chest Fund offers up to £1,000 to groups needing financial support to help deliver activities within their local community.

If you have an idea for a project that will make a positive and lasting impact in the Chester neighbourhoods, please download and complete our Chester Community Chest application form (PDF 166KB) and email it to: ChesterCommunity.ChestFund@sanctuary-housing.co.uk .

For further information:

  • Follow @hellosanctuary (this link will open in a new window) on Twitter for news and information about our services.
  • Like our Sanctuary Housing Facebook (this link will open in a new window) page to receive useful tips and advice about your home and information about your community.
  • Follow Sanctuary Housing on LinkedIn (this link will open in a new window) for the latest news, jobs and updates.

Our documents can be translated into other languages, large print and braille, or recorded on to audio CD/tape. Contact your local office or email contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Feedback and complaints

Anyone using, receiving or affected by our service – this can include both residents and non-residents, as well as people who have applied to us for housing, support or other services.

If you are unhappy or dissatisfied with any aspect of our service, you should let us know as soon as possible.

Feedback, comments and complaints are an important way of telling us how we are performing and help us to improve the quality of the service we provide to you.

  • You can make a complaint by filling out the dedicated online complaints form
  • In person or by letter at your local office
  • If your complaint is about the housing service you have received, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm.
  • Emailing: contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

If your complaint is about our repairs service, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 0800 916 1525 or 0300 123 3561. The centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays.

Fixed Term Tenancies

Following a consultation with our National Residents Scrutiny Panel, Sanctuary Housing announced in March 2019 that we will phase out issuing fixed term tenancies from 1 April 2019.

We currently have nearly 9,000 households on fixed term arrangements that will be offered a lifetime tenancy when their existing agreement comes up for renewal, provided that they comply with the terms of their tenancy agreement:

  • The rent account is clear
  • The property has been maintained in an acceptable condition
  • There are no valid Notices or Court Orders against the tenant or the property.

Frequently Asked Questions about our fixed term tenancies:

We will contact you nearer the tenancy renewal date. It’s standard procedure that we’ll then review the conduct of your tenancy and if there are no outstanding issues, you will be offered a lifetime tenancy.

No, not at the moment. If this applies to you, we will contact you nearer to your tenancy renewal date.

You will need to clear any arrears before we can offer you a new tenancy, but we can discuss your individual situation with you when we visit.

Your new assured tenancy will not have an end date and you can choose to live there as long as you wish, unless you give four weeks’ notice to us that you wish to end your agreement.  However, if you breach your tenancy agreement for any reason, we may take action against you to recover the property.

Changing from a fixed term tenancy to an assured tenancy will not affect the rent and service charges you pay. However, you will still be subject to the annual rent and service charge change.  

No, we are no longer issuing fixed term tenancies. You will be offered an assured tenancy which has no end date (subject to the tenancy conduct conditions mentioned above).

No, you will already be on a lifetime tenancy.

No, this means there is already no end date to your tenancy until you or we issue notice.

This will depend on the start date and type of tenancy but if you are unsure, you can contact us to check.

If you are an existing resident and have any questions or concerns about your tenancy, please call us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511 or email contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk