First Choice Homes Oldham reduce arrears through supporting tenants

The last twelve months have been some of the most challenging faced by social landlords, yet despite this First Choice Homes Oldham have reduced their arrears by over £70,000 and exceeded their collection rate of 99.7% by focusing on supporting tenants and developing greater customer relationships.

First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) have used RentSense and its automation solution to help free up time for officers to have in depth conversations.

RentSense delivers an accurate arrears caseload and means we are speaking to tenants at the earliest opportunity. The automation element identifies where every arrears case is within our process, and it helps automate the cases that need a text or letter in the background, without officer intervention. This has helped the team to have over 55,000 phone calls with tenants over the last 12 months, and these (calls) have been focused on building stronger relationships with our customers.” Explains Sarah Aldred, Head of Income at FCHO.

As a result their customers have become more self-reliant, but also discuss any potential issues with FCHO.

One officer called a customer last week just to ask how a job interview had gone, as it had come up in a previous conversation. Another customer called us about an upcoming operation, which meant they would not be working and would struggle to cover their rent in the short term. She told us about it beforehand and proposed her own re-payment plan, which has since covered the arrears.”

Sarah Aldred, First Choice Homes Oldham
First Choices Homes Oldham development
First Choices Homes Oldham, recent development

Sarah explains that the team credit this approach with helping improve relationships and performance:

“It is key and it has helped us change our approach, we are not chasing arrears, we are building relationships, and that is what RentSense has enabled. We have had compliments from customers in the past year about the support we have offered.”

“Despite all the challenges we have reduced arrears by over £70,000 and our cash collection was 100.49% which exceeded our target of 99.7% and automation is delivering the equivalent of 2 FTE each week as well. However, I think the real standout statistic, is that the income team contacted 55,000 in the last year, this is just 10,000 less than our service centre. And those calls have made all the difference.”

Sarah Aldred, First Choice Homes Oldham

“This is phenomenal performance from everyone at FCHO, especially given the difficult nature of the last year. It really highlights the importance of having the time to develop relationships and support tenants.” Commented Paul Evans, Director at Mobysoft.

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