Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, based in the West Midlands, has invested in RentSense to help support their tenants’ transition to Universal Credit and mitigate rising arrears.
“We decided to invest in RentSense as we are seeing an increase in rent arrears due to the impact of welfare reform with more and more tenants moving across to Universal Credit and falling into arrears as a consequence,” explains Manjit Rai, Business Manager of Income and Money Advice Services at Sandwell Council.
“Furthermore, RentSense will be crucial in identifying our most vulnerable tenants who are adversely impacted by the current situation brought on by Covid-19. This will enable officers to provide the correct level of support and assistance without delay.”
Sandwell Council is keen to provide their housing officers with an accurate arrears caseload, and also help identify tenants at the earliest stages of debt, so they can take a supportive approach and minimise the effects of long term debt on those customers whilst protecting the council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
“As a result of this (welfare reform), our officers are experiencing increases in their workloads so it’s becoming more of a challenge to provide preventative support to those tenants who need it. The system provides accurate and prioritised caseloads so we can identify tenants who are vulnerable and/or struggling financially earlier on reducing the impact debt has on tenants’ health and wellbeing.” Comments Manjit.
“We are looking forward to working with Sandwell Council and the team, and providing more time for housing officers so they can make a real difference to their tenants’ lives,” comments Paul Evans, Executive Director at Mobysoft.
Sandwell has become the 50th local authority to invest in RentSense and they hope to recoup the well proven benefits of the system, as Manjit explains:
“The impact of the efficiencies will free up officer time to support those tenants with more complex needs hopefully leading to tenancies being sustained, improved collection rates and reduced costs in court actions and evictions.”