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New research has found only 62% of people living in social housing are satisfied with the overall service provided by their landlord, highlighting that there is work to be done to meet the standards of the Social Housing White Paper.
A study of 500 tenants living in England by social housing technology provider, Voicescape, shows that affordability of rent, landlord communication and tenant perception of the landlord-tenant relationship are the key factors that have the most impact on overall satisfaction and subsequent engagement.
‘The Connected Tenancy’ report also found 32% of social housing residents believe they cannot easily afford their rent, further affecting their satisfaction with landlords.
However, for those tenants who have struggled to pay rent on time, more than half (52%) are happy with how landlords have dealt with arrears.
The research also revealed that almost a quarter (23%) are dissatisfied with the maintenance and repair works carried out on their homes.
John Doyle, CEO of Voicescape, commented: “Several pieces of data from our study suggest a considerable gap in the overall satisfaction of tenants living in social housing and an opportunity for landlords to convert the dissatisfied and disengaged.
"Whilst physical services and standards such as living conditions and maintenance are underlying factors here, overall tenant perceptions and attitudes are heavily influenced by how valued they feel.
“Tenants want to be treated with respect, which requires clear and timely lines of communication and engagement from landlord organisations. Achieving this can drive better levels of satisfaction and encourage greater resident ownership and care of homes.”
‘Respect’ features prominently in the new Charter for Social Housing Residents. In the White Paper’s foreword, the Prime Minister states his ambition for social housing tenants to be treated with the respect they deserve, while the Charter further outlines that residents should expect ‘to be treated with respect’, ‘to have their voice heard by their landlords’ and ‘to have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly’.
John Doyle added: “The Charter, as well as the Housing Ombudsman’s new Complaint Handling Code, are striving to improve levels of tenant satisfaction. In meeting these new standards, it’s important that landlord organisations prioritise building trust, security and a sense of control among residents.
"This will complement the effectiveness of improving practical service elements and truly address resident dissatisfaction. It will also give a more accurate read on how satisfied residents actually are.
“By better engaging residents, landlords will be able to also drive satisfaction by tackling tenant issues that may be beyond their direct control. Perceived affordability of rent, for example, will change according to a tenant’s employment status. Having a positive relationship with residents can help manage how this would otherwise create dissatisfaction with the landlord.”