29 March, 2021

Paid In Full: Putting residents in control

In March 2021, Moody’s estimated that rent arrears will rise by 1-2% next year with a resulting drop of 5-6% in housing association income. At the same time, housing associations are facing increasing demands on their expenditure, from the impact of building safety to environmental retrofit.

We also know that residents are more likely to have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, are facing increasing economic hardship and are less likely to have savings
to fall back on. Without recourse to benefits, many more will struggle to pay their rent every month.

Since March 2020, the relationship between residents and social housing organisations has changed. Staff have been redeployed to make resident welfare calls, while income teams have worked alongside their community investment colleagues to support residents to manage their finances. Tenancy sustainment has become a core part of social housing’s day-to-day business, simultaneously fulfilling social housing’s social purpose.

What if tenancy sustainment could also be used to empower residents, putting them in control of their finances? What if social housing organisations were able to personalise rent repayment schedules to reflect their unique circumstances, rather than impose uniform requirements?

In this White Paper we look at rent-flex (now called FlexMy Rent), a platform that enables residents to develop and agree their preferred, individual, schedules of rent payments for the year ahead. Developed by the Centre for Responsible Credit and WellThought Ltd, and with funding from the Money and Pensions Service, rent-flex has previously been tested in a manual proof of concept pilot with Optivo residents.

Key benefits included:

The evidence from the proof of concept pilot indicated that rent-flex could therefore help housing providers reduce the costs of rent collection, improve cash flow forecasting increase visibility of rental income and target tenancy sustainment initiatives at those most in need.

It could also transform the landlord-tenant relationship by creating a joint planning approach to the management of rent payments, whilst simultaneously improving residents’ financial resilience, health and wellbeing, and giving them greater control of their finances and lives.

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Paid In Full: Putting residents in control

PUBLISHED: March 2021

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