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Arrears reduction (Apr 2019 – Apr 2020)
Arrears Reduction in Lockdown (Apr 20 – Sept 20)
How were you manging your arrears caseload before RentSense?
Prior to RentSense our income team were spending time looking at cases that required no action. We needed a system that could present an accurate caseload, but also identify cases at their earliest stages, as we knew we would need to be more efficient for when Universal Credit was deployed.
You invested in RentSense to help mitigate Universal Credit, maintain performance with your current resource level, what have been the results?
At Worthing we currently have around 850 of our tenancies claiming Universal Credit. With that number across three income officers we would have expected to see arrears rise but all our KPIs are improving. For example, arrears for non-UC residents have dropped to an all-time low of 1%. RentSense is at the heart of that, it is ensuring we get to the right cases at the right time, helping to nip any potential issues in the bud.
How has RentSense helped you improve performance
RentSense helped us reduce our arrears in 2019/20. But, it’s not just our arrears that are improving the average arrear is falling. There has been a 12% reduction in tenants that owe 3 months of rent or more. And again, this at a time when the Universal Credit roll out was being accelerated. RentSense helped our officers support the right tenants at the right time.
The pandemic forced you to stop visiting customers and you had to reshape your service, what have been the results?
Often you can get more from speaking to customers face to face than you can over the phone. Our approach was very much geared around visiting customers before March. But there has been some real positives from the changes we have made. Officers have been able to speak to and support more customers than before, and now they are completing all their cases every week in RentSense. As a result our arrears have dropped since April from 2.3% to 2.2% at the end of September (a reduction of £25,000). This is helping us protect our financial position, and in turn this supports our hardship fund and we are sustaining more tenancies.
As an organisation Worthing focused on speaking to all your vulnerable tenants when lockdown was imposed. You also set up a hardship fund can you tell us about that?
With the fund, if tenants are struggling or have specific issues we can help address it. If we know customers do not have money for food or heating we give them supermarket vouchers or put credit on their gas and electric from this fund.
How did RentSense help you manage the team when lockdown started and you were working from home?
RentSense gives us added insight to the arrears, so we have a granular level of what is going in, and from a management perspective it is easy to access so we can monitor performance.”Simon Anderson, Worthing Homes
Were you surprised performance improved in lockdown?
Yes, a little. RentSense has really helped with this, and of course huge credit goes to the income team who have been able to deliver.
Would you recommend RentSense to other landlords?
Absolutely, it has been invaluable in the success we have had in terms of keeping arrears low and driving them down. There’s no doubt we would not be where we are today if we did not have RentSense, our arrears, processes, team would look very different. We have kept a team of just three income officers which we’ve had for about five years now, despite Universal Credit. Without it the team would certainly be bigger, and without the early intervention, we would not be getting to support those tenants that fall into arrears or miss payments so we are able to maintain more tenancies.
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