Report provides tenant perception on ‘value for money’

The online survey allows participants to provide an opinion on new legislation and regulations.

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Following the release of a similar survey in 2017, assisting the Welsh Government’s Value for Money (VfM) Steering Group, tpas has released the findings of a second, gathering the views of social housing tenants across Wales.

Carried out last month, the consecutive survey set to find out if perceptions of VfM have changed.

In March, TPAS Cymru presented the results to the Regulatory Board for Wales (RBW) and the Welsh Government Regulation Team.

As part of tpas’ ‘Tenant Pulse’ members, a total of 301 tenants completed the survey, a total response rate of 43% out of the 693 tenants who were signed up to the scheme at the time.

Like that set out in 2017’s survey in conjunction with the Steering Group, a number of questions were outlined:

1. Do you think that your rent provides value for money?
2. Which aspects do you think about when considering if your rent provides value for money?
3. What should landlords focus on in the future to provide better value for money?
4. Will you use/have you used the Welsh Government’s Landlord Comparison tool to compare value for money between landlords?

According to reports, from the 301 tenants who completed the survey, the majority (238) were living in housing associations.

Findings from the survey included 69% of tenants feeling as though their rent was value for money, said to be consistent of the evidence gathered from the previous survey.

However, reports showed there has been an increase in those tenants who feel as though they don’t get value for money, making up almost a third of the data.

According to tpas, this perception could be a direct result of the recent changes in rent policy, resulting in increased rents.

The survey also asked respondents to list three issues or aspects of their landlord’s service that they consider when asked whether they received value for money.

In line with the previous survey, respondents felt the most important factor of VfM was quality of service from landlords.

The quality and standard of your home followed closely, which was significantly different to the last survey where only 28 people felt that the quality and standard of your home was an important element of VfM compared with 169.

tpas further highlighted that when looking at PRS tenant perception compared to social housing tenants, the quality and standard of their home was significantly more important than the service received from landlords, said to clearly highlight the difference in perception between the two tenant groups.

Value for money is said to be influenced by various factors, with the most significant highlighted as keeping rents and service charges affordable and maintaining homes to a good standard.

While these factors remained consistent over the two surveys, there was a slight change in the perceptions of the building of affordable housing in the future.

2% of people felt their landlords should focus on building new affordable housing, whereas 9% (89 respondents) felt this was important in this survey.

tpas have concluded this may be related to the current media emphasis on homelessness in Wales, highlighting the need for more affordable homes.

In October 2018, Welsh Government launched a comparison tool which allows users to compare information from different housing associations in Wales.

When asked if tenants have used this tool, results show that only 15% had, while the remaining 85% haven’t heard of it, let alone used it.

Because of this, tpas have highlighted this may be due to the tool still being new, suggesting a need for landlords to promote the tool to tenants.

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