Hafod is a not-for-profit social landlord established in 1968 and is a member of the Hendre Group; one of the largest providers of affordable housing in South East Wales who manage more than 4,000 homes. After a change of approach to rent collection, from enforcement to tenancy sustainability, the Hafod team realised that much of the data it held on its tenants was incorrect and that sourcing accurate data was crucial to putting support networks in place, for the
In the context of unprecedented Welfare Reform, including Universal Credit (UC) rollout, it is more important than ever to identify customers and support them proactively to stop them falling into arrears.
Richard McQuillan, Head of Housing Services at Hafod Housing Association said: “A few years ago we had a change in our philosophical approach to rent collection. We moved away from tenancy enforcement to tenancy sustainability. What this means in practice is that whilst we want to collect rent and reduce arrears, our main aim is to keep people in their homes and out of debt. In order to achieve this we needed a more pragmatic approach; looking at the issues faced by our tenants, the root causes, and how we could help them.” This change in philosophy has seen huge benefits for Hafod’s business, significantly reducing evictions and abandonments. However, Hafod knew that with the right support more could be done.
“Historically identifying financially vulnerable tenants has been a real struggle because we were completely reliant on them telling us when they were having problems, something they’re reluctant to do because they fear it may jeopardise their tenancy. Without correct information on our systems we can’t put support networks into place for the vulnerable.”
Head of Housing Services
“We didn’t know where to begin with trying to educate our tenants about Universal Credit, so we began knocking on doors to speak to people. This was a mammoth task that only served to highlight our issues with incorrect information. My team recognised that in order to focus resources correctly to secure rent, they needed better and more accurate data, and to be able to start predictive and preventative profiling exercises to build a better picture of our tenants.”
“Then I heard about Tenancy Analytics by MRI Software which exactly fits with our new philosophy of tenant sustainability and seemed to tick most of the boxes in terms of helping us to learn more about our tenants.”
How did Tenancy Analytics provide the solution?
Servicing & inspection of any appliance/location, such as gas appliances, water systems (legionella), electrical testing, FRAs, etc. Comprehensive details are stored including servicing frequency requirements, service history and service contract. Includes MOT style servicing automatic job creation through the repairs. Jay Dudley, Principal Partner Manager at MRI Software, said: “Hafod got in touch with us to help them in a number of areas where they could see that having more information on its tenants would be beneficial. Tenancy Analytics gathers data from a number of areas in a secure way, and the intuitive visual segmentation allows our customers to quickly and easily understand which of their tenants need extra support.
Jay continued: “Hafod’s Income, Financial Inclusion and Neighbourhood Housing teams have all been set up to use Insight as part of their jobs. They are able to use Tenancy Analytics to run Pre-Tenancy Financial Assessments on all new tenants and assess tenants who are at risk of going into arrears. The teams can also see which tenants are good candidates for Direct Debit payments, investigate tenancy fraud, track empty homes or non-occupation, trace former tenants and tackle tenancy discrepancy.”
Richard said: “Tenancy Analytics is being used by a number of our teams and it is already being embedded into their day jobs. We are now able to run Pre-Tenancy Financial Assessments on all new tenants, something which was almost impossible to do before; this allows us to work proactively in supporting people much earlier. Tenancy Analytics provides us with information that was virtually impossible for us to find, and now it’s available at the touch of a button.” “Further benefits for Hafod include using Tenancy Analytics before we meet with tenants to have a clearer picture of what their situation is, meaning teams are not reliant on tenants giving accurate information.
“We’ve put into place targets which with the help of Insight we hope to meet by the end of the year. Our aim is to use Tenancy Analytics on 100% of Pre-Tenancy Financial Assessments prior to offer and to reduce the number of those in rental risk, tackling at least thirty high risk cases per month. We are also using the system to reduce the number of tenants in high financial risk, tackling at least twenty cases per month. We shall also be reducing those at high risk because of Welfare Reform by at least eight per month.
“Although we don’t believe that Direct Debit is right for everyone, we want to use Tenancy Analytics to identify who is right for this payment option and increase the numbers of tenants paying via Direct Debit by six hundred by the end of the year”, explained Richard.
“We’ve already had a couple of cases where we’ve used Tenancy Analytics to check on tenants claiming to have no financial issues but who in reality were in financial distress. Insight allowed us to quickly access the correct information which meant we were able to reassure them that they wouldn’t lose their tenancies and we were able to help them to rectify the situation. Early intervention really is key in these situations.”