Tenant Satisfaction Measures Pilot
Wednesday 1st of March 2023
When the government decided that landlords need to start listening to their tenants there was a sense of here we go again, more tick boxing and shouts of “tenants need to have their say”. As someone who has been involved in Tenant Participation for almost 20 years this felt like nothing new.
Any way, with a positive outlook that maybe this time tenants will have their voices heard we decided to pilot the draft questions. Why bother you ask? As a supported landlord where many of our tenants are not able to live their lives independently, they have never been approached to have their say in such depth. So, where do you begin when a tenant has no way of communicating and they rely on support for everything? Would staff or family have time to send a questionnaire back? Would they be truly honest and answer on behalf of our tenant? Faced with this dilemma we decided to do the survey in person. Not a major inconvenience as we only have 216 eligible properties between Lincoln and Dumfries! Throughout 2022 we managed to get through the door of them all. 21 tenants didn’t want to take part so that gave us a 90% overall return rate.
During the visit we also weighed up whether our tenants were able to complete the survey themselves:
- Almost 34% would be able to complete their own survey alone, 26% with support.
- Slightly over 40% could take part in an activity alone, compared to 38% supported.
- 33% of our tenants could have a meaningful discussion about services.
We quickly realised that it is very difficult to re-phrase the questions into simple language so it is understood without turning it into a leading question with bias.
Last week we reported to board that 93% of our tenants are satisfied with the service we provide. 91% were satisfied with our repairs service with 92% satisfied that we listen to our tenants views and act upon them. 90% of those who took part knew how to make a complaint if they are not happy with the service they receive. Of all the data collected this is the one area where we felt like we needed to do a bit of work so we included an article in our Christmas newsletter and all properties will be given our complaints procedure at their Tenant Support Visit in 2023. Overall, we was obviously delighted with these figures, although a little bit nervous as they are high, with little wriggle room.
This pilot proved to be a vital exercise as we are now prepared for when this becomes legislation. Going forward, to avoid bias a couple of people will be carrying out the surveys to ensure that there is consistency and can stand up to scrutiny. We need to have clear data on who has completed the survey; either tenant on their own, tenant with support, by family member or their care provider. This is critical as people should be answering on behalf of the tenant, rather than expressing their own opinion. When we analyse the data we will be able to see who has provided the answers.
We also need to collect qualitative data so after every question, whoever is completing the form will be given the opportunity to tell us why they have given the answer they did. This will allow us to change our procedures, if necessary and show that we take feedback on board, whether positive or negative.
When the final questions were published, we were disappointed that the government decided to run with the question about landlords making a positive contribution to their neighbourhood. We have no estate management function and have no say or influence on the estates where we have houses so we will approach this question with a bit of trepidation, but generally it will be onwards and upwards.