Rental income is the main form of income coming into the business. Therefore, it is vital that all rent and other charges that are due are collected to ensure we remain a sustainable business for future generations. We are aligning our processes and have asked Jigsaw reward members to share their views on the types of support they feel should be offered to both new and existing tenants to help minimise arrears and ‘if’ and ‘when’ we should take legal action against those who do not engage with us to clear their debt.
The responses to this survey will help us to align our processes and deliver a tenant focused Group Policy for the recovery of income. 161 tenants took part in this survey from across Jigsaw Group.
What we learned from the results (findings):
- Almost all who responded thought we should offer some form of support to new tenants to help prevent them falling into arrears. In ranked order from highest to lowest our tenants thought we should offer: Welfare/benefits advice, rent to be paid in advance and prior to tenancy start date, and to carry out pre-tenancy financial checks. Additional feedback supplied veered towards having easy and convenient payment options available and for HB to be paid directly to us as much as possible from the onset.
- Similar results were seen in how we should support our excising tenants who fall into arrears. Again, ranked from highest to lowest respondents felt that we should offer affordable repayment options which are based on individual needs/circumstances, we should speak to external agencies such as HB or DWP on the tenant’s behalf, and we should provide a wide range of payment options, lastly to provide Money/Benefits advice. Additional feedback highlights that a softer approach would be preferred when dealing with people who initially go in to arrears rather than sending “threatening letters and texts”.
- 96% of respondents felt that we should make contact as soon as possible when an account goes into arrears and the majority agreed this should be directly after the first missed payment to reduce further build-up of debt and the likelihood of eviction further down the line.
- 6 out of 10 respondents felt that we should take swift legal action against tenants who failed to engage with us to reduce their arrears, whereas 1 in 10 said we shouldn’t.
- 8 out of 10 respondents felt that swift legal action against former tenants who had outstanding debt on their account was the right thing to do.
What we will do with the results (outcomes):
- Our systems have been reviewed and tenants receive a contact as soon as the account falls into arrears. This may be by letter or by automated phone call.
- The automation of systems ensures that failing to engage in a productive manner will result in swift legal action. We do of course have consideration for any vulnerability of support issues the tenant may have.
- These results will help shape the new Group Income Management Policy and the Processes that run alongside it.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the survey. If you would like to take part in surveys like this, join Jigsaw Rewards today!