Queens Cross Housing Association, based in the North of Glasgow with around 4,300 properties, successfully reduced arrears by over £100,000 in 2019/20 and at the same did not carry out any evictions as they focused on early intervention and personal contact which was enabled by using RentSense software.
At the beginning of 2019/20 Queens Cross Housing Association remodelled how their income collection process would operate and shifted away from traditional operations to a more proactive approach.
“We moved away from the standard letter-based approach to personal contact and all housing officers work in the same consistent way,” explains Elizabeth Hood, Depute Director at Queens Cross.
The focus was about early intervention and taking a consistent and preventative approach to arrears through personal contact. To do this Queens Cross needed the technology in place to flag all arrears and potential arrears cases at their very earliest stage.
Elizabeth added: “We have found that RentSense is highly accurate, it monitors all rent accounts and alerts us at the very first stages of debt; it also highlights tenants who may be in credit but at risk of falling behind with their rent. It is this technology that has enabled us to take this approach.
This approach will underpin how we work with tenants over the impact of Covid-19 and our service challenges ahead.”
Before this transition, like most social landlords, Queens Cross would send letters when tenants fell into rent arrears. However, the effectiveness of this method had eroded over time.
“To make a difference we felt that speaking to tenants and working with them would be more effective. It also meant that all tenants would receive the same consistent service. This is key in getting messages across, but also tenants then know what to expect from us and all our housing officers,” comments James Knox, Income Maximisation Manager at Queens Cross.
“RentSense enables early intervention and prioritises our cases for us, this enables the team to speak with the right tenants at the right time.”
RentSense software, developed around predictive analytics, also gives James oversight of the housing team and he can assess everyone’s caseload and work with them ensuring completion of cases remains high.
This new approach has seen a fall in net arrears from £501,158 to £396,700, which means current tenants’ arrears are now tracking at 2%, falling from 2.6%. Queens Cross also did not evict anyone in the last year, highlighting how they are sustaining tenancies, despite on-going welfare reform, but perhaps most importantly helping keep their tenants out of debt.
There have been other benefits from this approach as Elizabeth explains:
“We didn’t carry out any evictions last year and only issued eight notices of seeking possession. This transition was enabled by using RentSense flagging the right cases, and this success is down to how we changed our focus on rent to early intervention and prevention and the officers’ hard work and dedication.”