Decorating vouchers from Homebase are replacing cheques for Community Based Housing Association’s tenants, giving CBHA more control and security, and making life easier for tenants.
CBHA usually issued a cheque to the tenants to let them redecorate and refurbish their properties themselves. The housing association, which looks after 1650 properties around Waltham Forest, needed more control over how the decorating money was spent, such as only on paint, wallpaper and tools, as well as more security to prevent theft or misuse.
Paul Brown, housing director, Community Based Housing Association, said “We found cheques were inefficient as there was no control on where the money was spent. We realised that a different solution was needed and studied a range of schemes offered by home improvement retailers. The problem was the majority of schemes were paper-based and did not offer spending control.”
CBHA chose Homebase’s decorating voucher scheme for its simplicity and security, and the large number of Homebase stores. Once CBHA has calculated a decorating allowance for a property, it can issue a value to the electronic voucher on the same day, compared with the two weeks it took to issue a cheque.
Brown said, “After receiving a supply of blank electronic decorating vouchers from Homebase, we send them a schedule of how much needs to be allocated to each electronic voucher and they load the value straight away. The administrative effort is just an email.”
Using the voucher, CBHA’s tenants can move into empty properties straightaway and immediately make improvements themselves using decorating materials from any Homebase store, while CBHA has confidence that the vouchers, unlike cheques, can only be used for particular types of products.
Homebase’s decorating vouchers were created specifically for housing associations, local councils and RSLs, and gives them up-to-date reporting of what has been issued and spent, as well as discounts against Homebase’s standard prices.
Brown added, “We have been using the decorating vouchers since last year and have found that, as well as for us as a housing association, tenants also find it easier to use. For example, if there has been a leak in a property and the tenant would prefer to repair the damage themselves, they can have a voucher.”