Majority of social tenants happy with their homes but bedroom tax causing anxiety
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Standard housing pictureImage: Housing via Shutterstock
Two thirds of social housing tenants say they are happy or very happy with the condition of their properties and a third believe the standard of social housing is on the up, new research has revealed.
And there’s further good news for social housing landlords – over half of those surveyed (54%) believe any issues or complaints are dealt with quickly, and repairs and refurbishment works are completed to a high standard (53%).
The national survey - conducted by building, maintenance and refurbishment specialist, FT Finley - paints a positive image of life in social housing with many saying they live in a ‘lovely area’ (32%) where they feel safe (48%), and one in five reporting they’re part of a tight-knit community that looks out for one another.
Jay Finley, MD of FT Finley, said: “Our survey should be welcome relief for social housing landlords across the country. The majority of tenants have many positive things to say – not just about their homes but of the wider communities that the landlords support too.
“While it’s great to see that most tenants are happy in their current homes, social housing providers and local authorities need to be mindful that given the recent introduction of bedroom tax and the planned changes to rent structures, this is a difficult time for many who may be feeling vulnerable and uncertain about their future.”
And according to the survey, the bedroom tax is causing anxiety for tenants, with one in ten worried they may have to move away from their neighbourhoods in order to get smaller properties, or that they may lose their homes entirely.
For the 11% who are determined to stay in their current properties despite the bedroom tax, experts believe they may end up being around £832 worse off every year.
As well as worries about the implications of the bedroom tax, two thirds reported they are waiting for repairs to their properties, with almost a quarter of their homes suffering from mould (23%) or having outdated kitchens or bathrooms (23%), and a fifth (21%) having outdoor fencing and gates in need of repair.
A further 15% have external walls or roofs requiring improvement.
Of those surveyed, nearly a third (30%) felt they weren’t consulted by their landlord when it came to making decisions about improvement works, and a another 30% believed general maintenance and refurbishment wasn’t carried out on a regular basis.
Nearly half (46%) stated they have to chase their landlords before any building or refurbishment work will be done.
Mr Finley added: “While almost half of tenants (48%) feel their landlords struggle to complete works quickly, seven in ten of those who have had repairs to their properties are pleased with the contractors who carried out the work, with more than half saying it was completed to a high standard (53%) with minimal disruption (58%).
“This suggests that the real issue here is communication. It’s possible that tenants need a greater understanding of the different priorities that landlords have to place on repairs. As long as tenants are confident that the work will be done within the appropriate timescales and to a high standard then this could lead to greater customer satisfaction levels.
“Now, more than ever, it is vital that landlords are not only providing exemplary, high quality repairs and maintenance services in an acceptable timeframe, but that they are in regular communication with their tenants – both to reassure them and to consult them on their needs.”
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