Highlights

19K

Properties

12%

Arrears Reduction (2.9% reduced to 2.55%)

17

Reduction in eviction numbers

2.4 FTE

Capacity created

We have been able to sustain more tenancies and RentSense has helped the officers with this. By March 2020 we had reduced evictions by 17 compared to the same time in March 2019.”

Helena Pountney, bpha
A short conversation with Regional Manager at bpha, Helena Pountney, about how bpha have used and benefited from RentSense.
Mobysoft:

Why did you invest in RentSense?

Helena Pountney:

The main driver for investing in RentSense was not about reducing arrears but about creating capacity within our housing team. Our officers are generic and before RentSense they were reviewing their caseload in our HMS, the issue was the caseload was not accurate.

Mobysoft:

Were there any surprises you found with your RentSense caseload?

Helena Pountney:

RentSense is far more intelligent and highlights just the cases we need to action, so officers spend time addressing the right cases. The one big surprise initially was the number of missed cases that RentSense found. This really helped to focus the housing team. The investment for us was about additional resource or RentSense. But it is far more efficient to focus on the right cases and give officers more time, and that’s what RentSense enables us to do.

Mobysoft:

Your general needs stock has grown by 7% over the last two years, rising from 13,000 to 14,000 homes. How has this impacted the shape of your team?

Helena Pountney:

As an organisation we do focus on development. Since having RentSense the number of properties we manage has gone up by 1,000 and we have only recruited one additional housing officer to manage this capacity

Mobysoft:

Despite the rise in the number of homes, you have reduced your arrears, what do you feel the reason for that was?

Helena Pountney:

With the right cases the housing officers have been able to focus on the right tenants and offer the right support. As a result, arrears have fallen from 2.9% to 2.55% in the two years we have had RentSense.

Mobysoft:

In the same period Universal Credit roll out has accelerated, and you have 4,000 claimants. What has been the impact?

Helena Pountney:

We were impacted by the roll out of Universal Credit in the earlier stages. And over time our approach has changed. Initially we used RentSense to create separate UC patches for officers, but now we see UC as business as usual and our officers have their UC and non-UC cases amalgamated. The team are supported in their approach by the Money Advice Team, they help signpost and support tenants when they make their initial transition,

Mobysoft:

bpha operates a generic model as it believes this helps deliver better service, how does RentSense help this?

Helena Pountney:

RentSense really helps by providing an accurate workload that is prioritised. This really helps free up time for the officers so they can focus on other aspects of their role. The intelligence of the system also means when they have their arrears action days they can highlight specific types of cases to work through. Even the lower priority cases, such as cases in credit, it helps them prevent tenants from falling into arrears.

Mobysoft:

The approach seems to be working as you have reduced evictions?

Helena Pountney:

We have been able to sustain more tenancies and RentSense has helped the officers with this. By March 2020 we had reduced evictions by 17 compared to the same time in March 2019,

Mobysoft:

Covid has had a big impact on bpha and the housing team how do you maange visits etc now?

Helena Pountney:

We prefer to have a conversation face to face however we are limited in how we do this at the moment so communication is predominately by phone, and the focus has been on making agreements and not about enforcement.

Mobysoft:

How does the management reporting side assist you in your role?

Helena Pountney:

The management reporting enables me to see where the highest levels of risk are so that we can address them. The technology that sits behind RentSense is really sophisticated, as that delivers the accurate caseload, but the simplicity of ease of use really help the team and management get the most from it.

Mobysoft:

Would you recommend RentSense to other landlords?

Helena Pountney:

RentSense has played its part in creating around 2.4 FTE of capacity within the team, which is why we invested in the first place. But the accurate caseload has enabled the team to lower our arrears, even when we have added an additional 1,000 homes in that time. It has also helped the team have the right conversations with customers that has helped sustain more tenancies. I would recommend RentSense to other landlords, but it is more than the just the product, it is the service as well. The support and assistance we get from our account management team, where they help ensure we get the most from RentSense

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