Sustainable Tenancies: Tenant Debt
Tenant debt write-off is an ongoing issue for most housing providers that can cause a double whammy of both the lost revenue and additional resource being spent on retrieving. It can have a real impact on tightly managed resources and overall tenancy sustainability. Read how Merthyr Valley Housing is achieving success in this area.
MRI Debt Payback has achieved an impressive 70%+ match rate of addresses together with a propensity to pay score
Established in 2009, Merthyr Valleys Homes (MVH) owns and manages over 4,000 homes across Merthyr Tydfil. As a tenant focused Community Mutual Housing Association, it is committed to working with its tenants in the running of the housing service and the improvement of its communities. In line with this, MVH has developed a governance model through which they aim to empower tenants and employees alike by opening up the option of becoming Members, giving it a real say in setting the direction for the housing association. It is the first in Wales to offer this level of responsibility to its tenants.
In its quest to empower tenants, MVH began using HomeSwapper, MRI’s mutual exchange platform, which enables tenants to source their own home swap. In 2017, this was followed by implementation of our tenancy and income management solution, Tenancy Analytics. The software supports housing providers to create and maintain sustainable tenancies, ensuring that tenants have the support that they need and income for the housing association is protected.
Merthyr Valleys Homes then began using MRI Safestart, our pre-tenancy solution, which validates data and performs pre-tenancy checks before a tenancy commences to make sure that support can be implemented from the beginning of a tenancy. In addition to this, MVH have been using MRI Debt Payback, our former tenant debt solution, to successfully recover lost income.
The process of working with MRI has been smooth and I’m really impressed with the results.
Lyn Moore, Rent Income Manager, Merthyr Valleys Homes
Payback works by automatically tracing former tenants, along with their propensity to repay, allowing housing associations to prioritise where to expend their expertise and focus their resources.
In the case of MVH, the Payback solution initially traced 207 of 338 individuals highlighted by the housing association; an impressive 70%+ match rate of addresses together with a propensity to pay score. This enabled them to prioritise who they were to contact first for the recovery of income.
Merthyr Valleys Homes wrote to all tenants using a ‘nudge theory’ letter, following this up with a visit to those who didn’t respond. Within one month they secured £8,000 in arrangements on previously lost income, equating to an impressive 10% increase in the recovery of former tenant debt.
On the experience with MRI Payback, Lyn Moore, Rent Income Manager at Merthyr Valleys Homes told us: “The process of working with MRI has been smooth and I’m really impressed with the results.”
Moving forwards, MRI is continuing to trace former tenants for MVH through the Payback solution, which supplies updated traces on a monthly basis.
MRI builds a number of solutions for the social housing sector including Tenancy Analytics, Payback and Safestart. If you would like to know more about what we do, please visit our solutions page here