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A new report by the Scottish Housing Regulator has found that an overwhelming percentage of tenants have been significantly and negatively impacted from the pandemic.
83% felt that they had been negatively impacted in terms of quality of life, with 44% experiencing a ‘significant negative impact’. Impacts on mental and physical health, and access to health and social care were most common.
Only 17% of respondents reported a positive impact or no real impact from the pandemic.
In full, the impact on tenants looked like this:
- Employment and income - 5% positive impact, 52% no real impact, 44% negative impact
- Access to health and social care services - 12% positive impact, 24% no real impact, 64% negative impact
- Access to education services - 14% positive impact, 31% no real impact, 55% negative impact
- Access to other essential services - 9% positive impact, 34% no real impact, 57% negative impact
- Your/your household's physical health - 10% positive impact, 29% no real impact, 61% negative impact
- Your/your household's mental health and well being - 10% positive impact, 23% no real impact, 67% negative impact
Nearly a third (29%) had seen a decrease in their income during the pandemic, and more than half (56%) of all respondents had taken some cost-saving action.
A fifth (20%) are not managing well financially at present, and a similar proportion (21%) are not managing well with their housing costs.
Most struggle with unexpected expenses, a fifth often have to delay/miss paying a bill, and more than a third say that money worries have a bad effect on their relationships.
40% have experienced difficulties affording their rent and 64% were concerned about future affordability. These concerns most commonly related to future rent increases.
In terms of how they rated their landlord, the picture was fairly mixed.
Overall, just over half (54%) of respondents rated their landlord’s response as very or fairly good. However, there remained more than a quarter of respondents (27%) who rated their landlord’s response as very or fairly poor.
A large majority (81%) felt that their landlord’s services had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and nearly half felt services had been ‘significantly’ affected.
The most common impacts seen by respondents were the temporary stopping of some services and longer timescales for responding to requests or queries. Most also reported having found it more difficult to request a service from their landlord.
A large majority (82%) felt that their landlord had continued to provide at least some key services and 48% felt their landlord had kept them well informed about services.
Broken down by area, tenants view on how their landlord performed look like this:
- Requesting a repair - 25% much more difficult, 34% a little more difficult, 41% no real change
- Requesting another service - 38% much more difficult, 31% a little more difficult, 32% no real change
- Making a query about rent or benefits - 26% much more difficult, 25% a little more difficult, 50% no real change.
- Making another query - 30% much more difficult, 30% a little more difficult, 39% no real change
Iain Muirhead, the Regulator’s Director of Digital and Business Support, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of our lives. The feedback in this report underlines just how difficult the last year has been for tenants and landlords alike.
“Landlords have faced significant challenges to adapt their services with the restrictions in place. They will be working locally with their tenants to understand their experiences and to help learn and plan for the future.
“I’d urge social landlords to consider this report, including the suggestions for potential improvements, alongside those discussions.
“The report gives us a valuable insight into the impact of the pandemic. It provides context for our annual regulatory risk assessment of social landlords and our dialogue with both tenants and landlords.”
You can read the full report here.