Wednesday 1st of March 2023
It’s always a sticky subject when you open the Pandora’s Box of how much data should we hold on our tenants. Even though everyone in the sector is aware that knowing your tenants is key to best tenant engagement practices. Apart from date of birth, we generally hold no personal data on our tenants, and it could be argued that we don’t need to know anything else. But, extreme hurt and offence can be caused by misgendering a person and we cannot hide behind ignorance is bliss as the excuse that we didn’t know.
We decided that we wanted to build up a profile to get to know our tenants better. Over the coming years we will ask a different set of questions to complete the picture.
The first phase was to ask our tenants the questions based on the protected characteristics of the 2010 Equality Act. Within every section they had the opportunity to self-describe. As this information is personal and intrusive, some of our tenants declined to answer some questions, which is their right. Also, the nature of our tenants means that some are not able to answer and the person answering on their behalf felt unable to answer.
As this whole subject is a bit heavy, we ended the visit by asking about their interests and hobbies. This completely changed the mood and some became quite animated when telling us what they like doing and some have active lives and varied interests.
The issue of GDPR plays havoc with collecting data of this sort as we have to delete information if a tenant moves out, which means that the data is fluid and constantly changing.
The information collected will be used to ensure that we do not unconsciously discriminate against our tenants and also that we address them as they wish without causing offence.
The additional qualitative information will be used to create activities that our tenants are genuinely interested in.