One of the biggest surveys ever carried out with socially housed tenants, those housed by council and housing association landlords, shows high levels of dissatisfaction among their social sector tenants.
The survey shows that only 22% of the 61,000 tenants surveyed felt that their landlords “cared about them or their family”. More than two-thirds thought that their landlords failed to listen to their concerns.
The survey was conducted by Housing Partners, a software business with a mission to improve the lives of people in the social housing sector – both the landlords and the tenants they support.
Their Big Tenant Survey 2014, which they claim is the largest ever investigation into the views and opinions of social housing tenants, highlights the plight of socially housed tenants as they face big changes with the introduction of the Universal Credit system.
Socially housed tenants over the coming months face having to budget for rent payments out of a lump sum of all benefits to which they are entitled, to be paid to them monthly. Rents will no longer be paid direct to their council or housing association landlords, but will need to be allocated and paid out of the tenants’ household budgets.
It is a concern from all sides then that strained relations, indicated by the fact that more than half those surveyed could not recommend their landlords to a friend or relative, will jeopardise a system involving billions of pounds of housing benefit payments.
Also of deep concern to Government is that only 25% of the 61,000 people surveyed fully understood the planned welfare changes, and nearly half (42%) of those currently receiving full housing benefit are very anxious about managing their household budgets when their rent is paid directly to them instead of straight to their landlords.
These are just a sample of the results from the first ever “Big Tenant Survey”. Conducted by Housing Partners, which provides technology solutions for housing associations and local authorities and runs the HomeSwapper, Who’s Home and HomeHunt web services, it shows that private sector landlords have little to fear in the complaints department when compared to the social sector.
In fact, survey after survey reveals that the private rented sector (PRS) as a whole comes out ahead when it comes to tenant satisfaction.
Richard Blundell CEO of Housing Partners comments:
“This is the biggest survey of tenant opinion in social housing history and it shows that landlords may need to get to know their tenants better and start thinking of them as customers.”
“With housing benefits changes now on the horizon, good levels of trust, communication and pro-activity between landlords and tenants are critical. We know that in the past it has been hard to hear tenants’ voices from across the country but our first Big Tenant Survey gives our sector valuable insight.”
“It provides a more comprehensive picture of what tenants think about their landlords, their homes and the Government’s welfare reforms.
The survey also provides vital information that can help Landlords avoid the business risks presented with tenants falling into arrears and we look forward to sharing the deeper findings with our landlord partners.”
Housing Partners, which holds the UK’s largest database of social housing tenants, intends to conduct “The Big Tenant Survey” as an annual event, providing they claim, “a window into the world of social housing tenants, whose views have until now being largely ignored in the ongoing UK debate about housing benefits, Universal Credit, and housing shortages.”
Housing Partners “Big Tenant Survey 2014” – Main Findings:
– Communications between social housing landlords and their tenants need a lot of improvement especially on repairs and customer services.
– The Government and landlords need to communicate more clearly with tenants about current welfare reforms and payment of housing benefit to tenants.
– The survey shows unmet demand for larger properties in the social housing sector.
– Tenants agree that people in larger homes they no longer need should move to allow families to move in.
See the results of the full survey here: http://bigtenantsurvey.housingpartners.co.uk
Majority of Social Housing Tenants Dissatisfied – One of the biggest surveys ever carried out with socially ho… http://t.co/aZJwP8GuT5
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) September 2, 2014