Arrears reduction


Arrears Reduction in 2 years

A short conversation with East Suffolk Council’s Tenant Services Manager, Samantha Shimmon, about why they invested in RentSense the benefits it has helped deliver.

What was income collection like prior to RentSense?

Samantha Shimmon:

Arrears were increasing, and morale was low amongst the team, when I joined in 2017 (at the time the two councils were sharing services). The first question officers asked was ‘when are we getting to get more rent officers?’


So why did you decide to invest in RentSense rather than more staff?

Samantha Shimmon:

Investing in more staff was not the solution. We needed to find a more efficient and effective way of working. We spoke to Mobysoft about RentSense. They gave a really clear business case for East Suffolk that provided capacity savings to the team that we really needed. They explained RentSense would only present those cases that needed contact.

Preventing tenants from falling into arrears

What was the impact when you implemented RentSense?

Samantha Shimmon:

Straight away the team could get through their caseload. In turn that has reduced our arrears and importantly it has improved our team morale. We have the reporting suite as well and we give officers access to that so they can see how they are performing, and we get detailed insight.


You were one of the first areas in the country to go live with full-service Universal Credit. I understand this impacted arrears and increased caseload has RentSense helped to mitigate this?

Samantha Shimmon:

RentSense has helped us manage Universal Credit. It flags tenants very early in the process, for example when housing benefit is stopped. It also presents where payments failed, so all those that transfer across and pay as normal we don’t need to contact them. As a result, officers get more time to support those vulnerable tenants who need assistance when they transfer across to UC.


What has been the team’s reaction to early intervention cases being flagged by RentSense, where the tenant is not necessarily in arrears?

Samantha Shimmon:

The team love the early intervention cases, where accounts are in credit but Housing Benefit has stopped or been reduced, for example. They are able to be proactive and prevent the tenants falling into arrears and get remedies in before it’s too late and the arrears become unmanageable. Historically the team worked from highest arrears figures down, so the early cases would never have been picked up before, until they were a few hundred pounds in arrears.


You mentioned the council have spoken at tenant group meetings on how their investment in RentSense has helped the council and the HRA, how have tenants responded?

Samantha Shimmon:

The tenants’ feedback has been really positive. Rent is our only form of income, so the maximisation of our rental collection is in all of our tenants’ interests. It is how we pay for our repairs and replacement programmes. So Rentsense reducing our arrears profile provides additional resources for that and for our new build programme


Since first using RentSense what has been the impact on performance?

RentSense has been instrumental in improving our performance, we have seen a consistent arrears reduction, and they have fallen by £250,000, which is a quarter of our arrears profile is, even when we have experienced a year of a pandemic as well. We have also seen fewer court actions and evictions, as RentSense gives us the ability to contact tenants sooner preventing arrears.”

Samantha Shimmon, East Suffolk Council

And would you recommend RentSense to other landlords?

Samantha Shimmon:

Absolutely, I would. The customer service is second to none, they have also provided best practice webinars which have been really informative and given us new ideas. RentSense more than delivers on the business case in terms of capacity release, but also it has helped reduce arrears and keep more tenants out of debt.

See more from East Suffolk Council

Clear business case & ROI – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Early intervention – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Great Service – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Importance of RentSense for tenants – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Instrumental in reducing arrears – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Mitigating covid with RentSense – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Mitigating UC with RentSense – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Value of reporting – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

Recommend RentSense – East Suffolk Council – Samantha Shimmon

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