Presentation on theme: "Housing management – current challenges for housing associations and their customers John Giesen, CEO of B3living Karen Wilson,CEO of Origin Housing."— Presentation transcript:
Housing management – current challenges for housing associations and their customers John Giesen, CEO of B3living Karen Wilson,CEO of Origin Housing
Challenges Fixed term tenancies Affordable rents Welfare reform Benefit caps HB and under - occupation Universal credit
Fixed Term tenancies-the current picture what is our policy on using them, including renewal? There is a mixed reaction to this: from some not using them; to some using on all tenancies; to some using different lengths of term dependent on the household composition how have tenants and prospective tenants reacted? It is perhaps early days, but so far it isn’t affecting demand.
Fixed Term tenancies how has it affected your ability to let the property? Where they are being used it hasn’t as yet. how have local authorities reacted to our policies? Some local authorities have yet to respond but where they have they have generally been in favour of what the associations are doing. Question: Is this to do with the authorities themselves developing their own strategies?
Fixed Term tenancies when do you use probationary tenancies? A mixed approach with some using and some not; and also different approaches as to when they are used. Question: What are the local authorities doing?
Affordable rents –what has happened in a year the rent levels we are charging in Herts? Not all Associations are using them but where they are there is a range (from £107 for one bedroom properties to £158 - £200 for 2 and 3 bedroom properties) how are affordable rents affecting who is moving into our homes?. There has been no reduction in interest where they are being used but one association reports that the majority of its tenants are on benefit. Also the experience in London has been different and we wonder whether that will spill over here?
Affordable rents cont’d what has been the local authority(s) response to your policy? The response has been mixed to date. Question: we wonder what the authorities in the room would have to say? how have those viewing and accepting the properties responded to the rents? There has been no real evidence through lack of interest but one association reports that some prospective tenants are worried about the high rent.
Affordable Rents cont’d what housing management problems have you had, if any? There haven’t been any to date but the worry is what follows the implementation of welfare reform are you providing any extra services to these tenants? No association is providing extra services
Welfare reform- benefit caps Impact £26k cap from April 2012 Large families receive insufficient to pay rent, council tax etc Homeless HA action Identifying affected families Visiting to raise awareness Discuss options Help Identifying families Discretionary housing fund Joint working
Welfare reform – HB cuts to under occupiers Impact 14% - 25% loss of benefit from April, 5-15% of tenants affected Debt and homelessness HA action Information campaigns – tenants unaware Identifying affected families, visiting, provide advice Transfer opportunities to be secured Changes to lettings policies Liaison with LA Help Information on who is affected Raise awareness with constituents Allocation policies to prioritise down- sizers Discretionary housing fund payments
Welfare reform – universal credit Impact Direct payments to tenants’ bank accounts threaten income streams HA action Awareness raising New rent collection approaches - eg: direct debits Jam jar bank accounts – Herts credit union Help with managing finances Help Support credit unions Support to debt and benefit advice agencies Designation of vulnerable households Partnership working to avoid evictions Advice and training for waiting list applicants
Welfare reform- summary Impact hardship and homelessness HA action welfare benefit and money management services Additional staff on visiting and advice Focus on supporting people into work Tackling digital exclusion Intrusive and proactive tenancy and income management Help Information sharing early Advice and support to families Partnership working to avoid debt and homelessness Support us– including tough decisions