The study team has published its second emerging insights briefing which presents emerging insights into how landlords engage with their tenants to sustain their tenancies. It draws on data generated from 32 in-depth interviews with officers from the ‘Holding on to home’ study’s four case study landlords. The key learning for social housing landlords, who are the principal audience for the briefing, is:
- Landlords should employ engagement methods that are tailored to the needs of all tenant population groups. Landlords reported that providing a varied range of methods and offering the tenant choice over their interaction with the landlord were key.
- Interaction, communication, and conversation between tenant and landlord does not, in itself, constitute meaningful ‘engagement’ from which positive outcomes will necessarily flow. Recognising this fact, case study landlords – in different ways, and at different stages of their journey – were all engaged in efforts to maximise the ‘quality and impact of their engagement with tenants’.
- A range of approaches may be used to support quality interactions. Across the case study landlords, some common approaches were employed, including: targeting engagement; developing detailed knowledge and understanding of tenants’ needs and circumstances; utilising third sector partner organisations and community based teams; changing the nature of the conversation; and, making every conversation count.
- Having a local presence within communities can help foster relationships between landlord and tenant, and make landlords more accessible. To this end, the case studies had put in place a range of initiatives including: estate walkabouts; community drop-in sessions; and multi-agency community events. However, developing a strong local presence comes with challenges: it is relatively resource intensive; difficult for landlords whose stock is dispersed; and, tenants may be reluctant to share their stories with officers working in the community. Engaging with tenants in proactive and preventative ways involves landlords having more contact with tenants and, potentially, initiating conversations about their financial situations (and, potentially, personal circumstances). As such, this brings ethical considerations to which landlords will need to give due regard as they progress their efforts to engage more effectively with tenants.
The key learning for central government and the Regulator of Social Housing is that social housing landlords’ ability to effectively engage with their tenants is being undermined by the significant financial challenges they face.
Engaging with tenants to sustain their tenancies: insights from interviews with case study stakeholders >
Engaging with tenants to sustain their tenancies: insights from interviews with case study stakeholders – Summary >