Author: Chris McLaughlin, MIS Active Management Systems
As a provider of housing management systems, we’ve seen at first-hand how resilient and adaptable our housing customers have been. Many have been turning to their housing management systems to respond rapidly to change, enabling them to do the same tasks in a different way, and in some cases to do something completely new.
Arrears and financial impacts
According to media reports, more than one million people have applied for universal credit since the start of lockdown. It’s therefore no surprise that many of our customers have experienced a spike in enquiries regarding rent deferrals. In alignment with best practice guidance released by the Chartered Institute of Housing, many providers are keen to work flexibly with residents experiencing new financial pressures. However, that comes with financial implications which must be measured and managed.
We have worked with customers to adapt their ActiveH system to track and manage agreed coronavirus-related rental arrears. For some, this has included: introducing a new rent account system which shows the values of rent paid and deferred by individual households; and automatic payment reallocations customised according to individual agreements made with residents.
As well as helping residents to manage their rent arrears and finances, these adaptations are helping housing providers to proactively measure and manage financial implications of the lockdown by automatically tracking and forecasting the total value of deferred payments in their finance systems.
Most housing providers usually rely on paper documents for at least some of their correspondence with their residents, particularly regarding tenancy agreements. But with their teams now working from home, many don’t have access to printers.
We’ve therefore helped some customers to go paperless. Using the outbound communications feature of ActiveH, they’ve been able to simplify the process of issuing tenancy correspondence via email, SMS or portal-based secure messaging.
Health and wellbeing
We’ve worked with customers to enable the visual identification of vulnerable and self-isolating households within their housing management systems. Some have chosen to have codes added which create icons identifying households which present coronavirus-related risk across their CRM and rent modules, as well as pushing them out through dashboards and mobile devices.
This creative solution enables housing providers to identify those needing additional support and to protect staff, contractors and residents while continuing to provide essential face-to-face services.