East Suffolk Council has introduced MRI Software’s Digital Tenants Portal to enable its tenants to manage their tenancies digitally, in line with the government’s ‘Charter for social housing residents’ guidance.
The council chose MRI Software’s portal because of its existing use of MRI’s Housing Enterprise (formerly Orchard Housing) HMS.
The portal enables tenants to access their tenancy agreements, repairs history, payment information and account balance. It also allows them to send messages direct to the council’s customer service team on their own terms, without the need to find time within work hours.
With the new portal, called ‘myhome East Suffolk’, East Suffolk Council is now working on increasing registrations from existing tenants, while new tenants are automatically signed up to the service at the start of their tenancies.
Lynne Thomas-Mead, housing transformation programme manager, East Suffolk Council, said, “We wanted to achieve transparency for our tenants, including full visibility of their rent account balances. This is their data so we wanted them to be able to own their data.”
Tenants now have more control over their tenancies, including managing their own accounts and spotting any discrepancies; one tenant identified overpayments of £400 on their account and received a refund. Giving tenants control over their own information not only means that they’re more engaged in their tenancies but also call volumes to the council’s customer service centre have been reduced because answers to common questions can be accessed through the portal.
The council reported that its previous telephone-led repair reporting process was cumbersome for tenants; in common with many other housing providers and councils, multiple repairs were often called in at once, suggesting that tenants found the process difficult and preferred to wait until it was absolutely unavoidable.