Giving tenants financial skills training not only benefits them but their landlords too
It all adds up
Everyone’s budgets are under pressure. At Citizens Advice we’ve noticed a worrying rise in the number of debt problems we see for basic essential services such as fuel, rent and council tax. Social housing tenants in particular are at the sharp end of this, facing added pressures as welfare reforms take effect. Support to help people get financially savvy now will pay dividends when reforms like universal credit really dig in.
New research published by Citizens Advice last week shows tenants could be £10 a week better off as a result of one-to-one financial skills training from their landlords.
More than 70 per cent of tenants surveyed reported feeling more confident with money and budgeting as a result of the training. Each tenant saved an average of £11 per week, meaning they had more for essentials - we know that expensive winter fuel bills are at the forefront of people’s minds - but also that they could start saving and looking forward to spending their money on things that might not have been an option before, like a holiday.
Janet is a tenant who took part in the research and used to dread what she called her ‘skint weeks’. Since the training she avoids getting so broke and even manages to save around £20 a week into a high interest savings account.
This approach works because it’s in both landlords’ and tenants’ interests. It means tenants not only avoid the perils of rent arrears and debt but that landlords benefit from a tenant who always pays rent on time.
At Citizens Advice we want to see housing providers work more closely with each other - and with us - to help tenants improve their financial skills and confidence. One-to-one financial skills training will be key as the economic squeeze tightens its grip in 2013 - and it can benefit both tenants and landlords.
Gillian Guy is chief executive of Citizens Advice