Housing providers and local authorities have been invited by the housing team in Capita’s property business to participate in a six-month research programme to test how behavioural science can improve rent collection and reduce rent arrears.
The research will investigate how intervention techniques affect the decisions tenants make. Several organisations will each try a different approach to income collection and managing rent arrears, such as changing the language used in text messages and letters to tenants. This will be measured against a control group in each organisation that will not change the way it currently engages with its tenants.
Each participating organisation will benefit from detailed intelligence on the effectiveness of each approach, allowing them to better manage risk as well as providing a much greater understanding of what type of intervention works best for each tenant. In addition, the overall results of the research will be analysed and practical recommendations that have demonstrated the most impact on tenants’ behaviour will be offered to the housing sector.
Anna O’Halloran, associate director of housing, Capita, said, “There are plenty of examples of behaviour change initiatives making a difference. These include increasing the number of people who register for organ donation through to reducing council tax fraud.
“With this new project, Capita is building on its existing experience in behaviour change campaigns such as improving teachers’ engagement in their pensions, and ‘nudging’ gas consumers to get their gas appliances checked regularly.”