We’ve covered the government’s pay-to-stay programme in three separate pieces in this issue of Housing Technology, including how Canada’s version of pay-to-stay is being handled in Ottawa. In short, the pay-to-stay programme will mean higher rents for higher-earning tenants (£40,000+ in London and £31,000+ outside London) living in social housing.
While the underlying reasons behind the planned introduction of pay-to-stay are sensible, collecting the data necessary to implement the programme is likely to tax most housing providers. This is for three reasons.
The first is that while most housing providers have reasonably accurate records of their tenants and are used to communicating with them (and vice versa) about a variety of topics, very few will have ever needed to track the other members of those tenants’ households, much less those other members’ incomes.
The second is that many tenants and other members of their households may have very variable earning, making it harder to place an exact figure on the household’s income for the purposes of assessing them for pay-to-stay.
And finally, enforcing the disclosure of household income (which few households, as opposed to just the named tenants, will have had to do before) will add yet another administrative burden for housing providers, and that’s before they’ve even started to consider the effect of the pay-to-stay appeals process.
So, unlike other areas of housing providers’ operations that can be streamlined through process automation (such as booking repairs appointments or reporting ASB incidents), the main burden of pay-to-stay will be collecting the fundamental data in the first place.
Therefore, it’s vitally important that housing providers start thinking now about how they can use technology to automate as much of the earnings data collection process as possible, and preferably using their existing channels to avoid both ‘siloing’ pay-to-stay as well as reducing data duplication.