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07 April 2015

Housing sector is delivering quality homes and services, but room for future improvement

The Welsh housing sector is delivering high quality, safe, good value homes and services - but there is room for future improvement, according to its tenants.

The findings of the first national survey of Welsh housing associations revealed that 81% of tenants who participated were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their landlord and their home. Overall, more than 70% of tenants are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the quality of their home, its repairs and maintenance and the community they live in, and thought the rent they paid their landlord represented value for money.

Commissioned by Community Housing Cymru (CHC) with support from the Welsh Government, the tenant satisfaction survey was designed to help landlords with business planning, identify areas for improvement and allow them to develop stronger communication and relationships with their tenants.

The findings are a stark contrast to those from the UK-wide Big Tenant Survey, which demonstrated low satisfaction levels from tenants. Less than a third of the 61,000 participants felt that their landlord listened to their concerns. However, 70% of those polled for the Welsh tenant survey felt that their landlord did listen to their views and act upon them.

A combined total of 83.7% of respondents were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the services provided by their landlord. Just over 82% of tenants were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the overall quality of their home and 83% felt ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied living in their neighbourhood.

Findings showed that just over 80% of tenants felt ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied by the amount of rent they pay and thought it represented value for money. A combined figure of 77% of people felt ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the way their landlord dealt with repairs and maintenance in their home.

Completed by 6,017 people, the Welsh tenant survey demonstrated that key issues for tenants/residents were around the quality of their homes and associated work and repairs, as well as being kept informed by their landlord.

85% of people surveyed felt safe and proud of their home. 83% believe that their landlord is open and fair with the information they publish, and 76% are satisfied that their landlord is open about what it does.

Welsh landlords were generally positively viewed by tenants, but the survey results have also shown room for improvement around transparency, communication, and complaints procedures. The survey suggests that landlords should look to work with tenants regarding these issues. Comments showed that some are not informed regularly of home improvements, complaints (general or anti-social behaviour) and neighbourhood issues.

This is an area where landlords could increase their level of communication. Two thirds of residents (65%) said they were aware of a complaints procedure. However, the findings show that there is strong level of dissatisfaction with the outcomes of complaints to landlords. Almost half (46%) of those surveyed were satisfied to some degree with the way their landlord handled their complaint, but a further 38% were dissatisfied.

In addition, the speed of how complaints are dealt with is an area for concern amongst residents, as well as the level of communication given throughout the complaints process.

Prior to moving into their property, residents are provided with an explanation of their tenant rights as well as a description of the allocations scheme. Over four fifths of residents are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the ‘explanation of rights’ (85%), and 86% felt the same regarding the ‘ease of understanding and access to allocation schemes’.

70% of residents found it easy to get hold of the right person when contacting their landlord, but 15% found it difficult to get through to the correct person.36% of those who participated in the survey were aged 65 years or over, 21% were aged 55-64 with 32% aged 35-54. Just 10 % of people aged 34 and under undertook the survey. The average age of the main residents of the house who completed the survey was 58, and six in ten were female (61 %).

The survey found that the majority of people are happy with the services they provide to older people. A total of 91% were satisfied with how easy it is to access all areas of their home and housing scheme, and 90% were satisfied with the safety and security of their home. Similarly, those in ‘supported housing’ polled 95% in favour of the service provided by their landlord.

Commenting on the findings, CHC Group Chief Executive Stuart Ropke said: “Overall the findings from the tenant survey are positive. We are a sector that works hard to ensure that our homes and services are of the highest quality. The survey results have also highlighted areas for improvements, and our members will continue to work hard to drive up standards for their tenants.”

Lesley Griffiths Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty said: “I welcome the publication of this report and its findings. The national satisfaction survey provides a valuable picture of tenants’ views, not only on the services their landlord provides but on other matters important to them, such as anti-social behaviour and their local neighbourhood. The findings will help drive forward further improvements to ensure that the Welsh housing sector continues to provide high quality homes and services.”

Executive Summary

Full Report