Key Stats

11.3K

Properties

£200K

Arrears reductions 20/21

A short interview with Wrexham County Borough Council’s Housing Service Manager, Julie Francis.

Mobysoft: “How has RentSense helped Wrexham and has it been important?”

Julie Francis (JF), Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“RentSense has proven to be extremely important to the council, it was deployed near the end of 2020, and at that time we were anticipating an increase in our rent arrears (due to the pandemic) and it was proving difficult to identify the tenants that needed support. RentSense helped us stabilise and reduce our arrears whilst enabling the team to support tenants at the right time.”

housing estate in wrexham north wales
Housing Estate in Wrexham, North Wales

Mobysoft: “How has RentSense helped manage Universal Credit for Wrexham and its customers?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“We saw an increase in UC claimants, but RentSense has helped us be more effective and more targeted. Thanks to RentSense we are now more in tune with the cycle of UC payments, and RentSense identifies those customers that actually need support at a specific time as a result our performance has stabilised as we are able to help those struggling tenants.”

Managing Resources More Effectively

Mobysoft: “What has been the key difference for Wrexham with RentSense?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“RentSense helps you manage your resources much more effectively. Officers can now complete their caseload, and we have visibility of workload and progress throughout each week. Now we are identifying cases that need action and as a result we are improving our performance and helping our tenants.”

Mobysoft: “How has the pandemic impacted your approach to collections?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“It has changed due to the pandemic, and we are taking a more holistic approach. We look at the way tenants do, or do not, pay their rent and targeting specific resources to them. So, for example families are receiving advice about benefit claims from our financial inclusion officers, and with RentSense we have more time to offer support. The team have made over 22,000 welfare calls in the last year and tenants have been telling us how they appreciated the support and in turn this helped to prevent debts from increasing.”

More Time to Support Tenants

Mobysoft: “Have customer relationships changed over the last year?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“The relationship has changed, and you can see the improvements right across the council and our range of services. A lot of people have complimented the council on its approach. In housing too, it has improved. If you offer someone support at the right time and help them out of a difficult situation or just have time to listen and support them it can make a real difference to them, and that is what RentSense is enabling.”

Mobysoft: “Would you say it was important for your tenants that you have invested and use RentSense?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“Yes, I think so. We were in a position where our arrears were spiralling and tenants getting into financial difficulties. We have implemented a range of interventions, including RentSense, sustainability and financial inclusion officers, and this was to help us sustain tenancies, but also meet the new no evictions policy introduced by the Senedd. All this is helping reduce our arrears and our customers’ debt.

From our perspective there is a renewed focus on sustainability through the restructured teams and RentSense, how we can sustain customers in their tenancy rather than evict.”

Mobysoft: “Is RentSense helping in any other ways?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“We have a business plan which is focused on investing heavily in stock and rent is critical for that. We are completely refurbishing voids, and this is costly and RentSense is helping contribute towards this by helping improve rent collection.”

Mobysoft: “Has RentSense impacted housing officers?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

The staff have done a remarkable job over the last year or so, working remotely and getting used to a new way of working. Despite that, at the end of March arrears were much better than anticipated and that rightly made the staff very proud. With RentSense it has freed up their time, so they are not fire-fighting but focusing their time and it is getting results as arrears have fallen by about £200,000.”

Mobysoft: “Would you recommend RentSense to others?”

Julie Francis, Housing Service Manager, Wrexham County Borough Council:

“Yes, of course. Another landlord recommended RentSense to us and told us about the dramatic change in their rent arrears, but I was sceptical. But now, having used it, I can see why so many people recommend RentSense. But, also the service and support we receive is fantastic. The all round package is great.”

Wrexham Council on RentSense

Wrexham Council – Julie Francis

Wrexham Council – Julie Francis

Wrexham Council – Julie Francis

Wrexham Council – Julie Francis

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