Two recent surveys have shown that there is a North-South divide over the effects of welfare reform and an East-West divide over tenants’ satisfaction with their housing provider.
Big Tenant Survey shows East-West divide in landlord satisfaction
Housing Partners’ ‘Big Tenant Survey’ has shown that there is an East-West divide in UK tenant satisfaction.
Using responses from over 61,000 tenants, Housing Partners has ranked each of the housing providers featured in the survey using a Net Promoter Score (NPS). While the NPS is among the harshest barometers for satisfaction available, it has given a clear idea of where housing providers rank against their peers both locally and nationally. In this instance housing providers in South Wales and the South West and North West of England performed the best according to their tenants’ scores.
Richard Blundell, chief executive, Housing Partners, said, “We often hear of the North-South divide in the UK when discussing political, social or cultural issues. But when it comes to social housing satisfaction there’s no such split; it seems our sector is split East and West. What our findings show is that tenants living in the West of the country are far more likely to recommend their housing provider to friends and family than those in the East. Only three of the top 20 housing providers fall outside this area.
“We know that the NPS is an exacting measurement of customer satisfaction, but we wanted to provide a starting benchmark for housing providers and the survey has given us this. Those Western housing providers who have excelled should be proud of this result and we can now show those further down the list what the top performing landlords have done to achieve these high scores.”
As well as providing an NPS score for over 250 housing providers, the Big Tenant Survey gathered more detailed opinions from tenants on topics such as repairs and maintenance, rent levels, pride in their homes and customer service, where housing providers in the West also generally outperformed their Eastern colleagues.
North-South divide over impact of welfare reforms
One year since the introduction of the government’s ‘bedroom tax’, a new survey by three national council housing organisations has discovered a North-South divide as residents in the North of England appear to be hit the hardest by welfare reforms.
The survey found that tenants in the North of England are more likely to be affected by the under-occupation penalty (13 per cent compared to 5 per cent in London) and also to be in arrears (7 per cent compared with 2 per cent in the capital).
The findings are the result of a research project from the National Federation of ALMOs, the Association of Retained Council Housing and the Councils with ALMOs Group (CWAG) into the effect of welfare reforms on tenants. The three housing bodies represent over 1.3m council properties.
The survey also found that during 2013/2014, the proportion of households affected by the under-occupation penalty and receiving discretionary housing payments has more than tripled in some areas. However, 45 per cent said that even this additional funding was insufficient and that the payments were being supplemented by other forms of local hardship funding. In most cases, this came from the council’s housing revenue account.
The survey also found that voids times have not been significantly affected by the introduction of the under occupation penalty and that most organisations have increased staff and resources to collect rent and to support tenants through financial and digital inclusion initiatives.