Hard times transforming landlord and tenant relationships
Wednesday 12th of October 2016
Tpas consultancy manager, Kate Newbolt shares her thoughts on the tough challenge tenants and landlords are going through right now.
As one of the Tpas tenant engagement experts I get around a bit in fact I’m hardly ever in the office!
Times are tough and that’s not breaking news, in social housing landlords are finding themselves stretched to the brink managing on less income whilst they are also forced to step up delivery of advice and support to help keep residents in quality homes and financially afloat. What is really interesting is the transformation of relationships taking place and the clear quality of joint tenant-landlord focus out there. Who could have predicted the level of effort, determination and focus on, identifying households in need, impacts for the most vulnerable and the drive to invest in communities through health and well-being, employability initiatives and priority-led local intervention partnerships?
I am really struck by the seriousness of discussions currently taking place for example, in Rotherham a few weeks ago I was party to an informal discussion between staff, tenant volunteers and young residents about the need to keep youth homeless schemes going whilst also making sure that these young residents get the encouragement and support they need to establish better futures. Real and practical ideas for partnerships were coming forward from residents with positive responses from staff and even the Lead Member for Housing Cllr. Dominic Beck. This is not a solitary example, through Tpas member Regional Forums we are seeing a significant increase in attendance of tenants and landlord officers getting together to share experiences, ideas and solutions.
Strangely I still hear people saying “it’s so hard to get people involved”, this may be true to some extent but it certainly isn’t impossible. It is changing, it is different and the motivations for participation and engagement are developing around priorities to achieve more for less, secure futures for existing and growing communities. Practical methods are also changing to accommodate those who are time pressured through digital engagement and alternative options for influence offering recognition of engagement input and landlord validation of efforts. Some are improving their own life chances through their engagement whilst others are skilling up to step up their volunteering to benefit others or their future studies.
Enthusiasm coming from landlord leadership is growing stronger, benefits align more closely to examples of mutual benefit, real impact, better social value return on investment and improvements in the value for money of service delivery.
From Braintree through Peterborough to Rotherham I am seeing tenant and landlord relationships rapidly growing stronger. We are in tough times but we are seeing some positive outcomes achieved quite simply as a result of landlords and tenants working better together, with stronger focus and collaboration, it’s not all bad news thankfully.