Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Majority of housing association staff say their tenants in arrears

Nearly three quarters of housing association staff say their tenants are falling behind on rent this year, with over a third reporting the bedroom tax as the main cause.

In a Unison survey published today, Community and Voluntary Services in the Age of Austerity, 73 per cent of housing association staff report their tenants were in rent arrears this year.

Thirty-five per cent reported the top reason was the bedroom tax, with the next common reasons being complex benefit changes, the rising cost of living and lack of employment.

The poll of 756 housing association workers between July and August showed half of staff had seen an increase in tenants being evicted or forced to move out due to financial pressures.

Thirty-seven per cent had seen a reduction in non-statutory services such as play schemes and community centres, with 43 per cent reporting a rise in anti-social behaviour from tenants.

Nearly 60 per cent of staff said they had seen more debt management advisors employed by their housing associations.

Unison’s report, to highlight the impact of the government’s austerity measures, said: ‘Austerity has reduced house building with a 63 per cent cut in capital financing available for new social housing. It has also affected many housing associations by reducing funding for the Supporting People programme for social care.

‘But the biggest impact has been the raft of welfare benefit changes, reducing rental income. The human side of this is an increase in problems facing vulnerable social housing tenants.

‘“Extra” facilities that make life decent – such as play schemes and community centres – are being cut, and partly as a result social problems are rising. Tenants are facing unemployment and underemployment, rising debts, and confusing and punitive welfare changes.

‘These all make it harder to keep up with the rent – often resulting in people being forced to leave their homes. And pressure on hard-pressed housing workers continues to build.’

 

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Related

Articles

  • Action stations

    25/07/2014

    Unions are stepping up action on behalf of their members who work in social housing. Heather Spurr gauges how it will affect landlords

  • Expert opinion

    13/12/2013

    There is a lot social landlords can do now to prepare for changes to anti-social behaviour legislation

  • The legal year ahead

    10/10/2014

    Experts in housing law flag up legislative changes that will affect the sector in 2015

  • One in five housing staff has a second job

    08/11/2013

    One in five housing association employees has taken on a second job to make ends meet, a new survey has revealed.

  • Build smaller homes

    22/11/2013

    Developers have not been building enough one-bedroom properties - it’s time for this to change, says Lord David Freud

Resources

  • Fighting back

    01//11/2013

    As the private rented sector continues to grow, so does the number of problematic landlords. Michael Pooler finds out how tenants are taking matters into their own hands to fight for better conditions

  • Reaching crisis point

    02/05/2014

    Tenants on the verge of eviction are being helped to remain in their homes by a recently formed social enterprise that is saving their landlords significant sums in the process. Daniel Douglas finds out how

  • Precision thinking

    15 January 2014

    Analysis of its lets, voids and tenancy lengths has allowed Adactus Housing Group to cut its planned maintenance bill by millions of pounds a year and plough the savings into developing new homes. Kate Youde finds out how

  • Room for dignity

    14/02/2014

    A new toolkit aims to help smaller housing associations address the needs of residents suffering from dementia. Caroline Thorpe reports

  • Housing lessons to learn

    07/02/2014

    With a week left to enter the Into Africa competition, Erick Kabendera reports from Dar es Salaam on the rise of affordable housing

IH Subscription

- IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

You will soon need to sign into www.insidehousing.co.uk using your email address rather than your username.

If you are unsure which email address is linked to your account, please Click Here. Your password will remain the same.

If you have a print subscription we need to ensure that we have the correct details in order to link your subscription to your online account, for more information Click Here.

Click here to close window