Spring 2024 Customer Newsletter

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Welcome to your Spring edition of our Customer Newsletter.

T his edition covers a number of topics, including an exciting new repairs tool where you will be able to raise a repair and book an appointment through our Customer Portal. You can find out how to sign up later on in the newsletter.

We share an update on a really important topic around Universal Credit Migration which we know is impacting a number of our residents this year. Read on for more information and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team if you need any further information on Universal Credit Migration.

In April, your rent and service charges will change. You should have received a letter setting out these changes by now and later in this newsletter we discuss how your rents are set and the support we have in place for you.

We also discuss the dedicated support we have set up for homeowners and shared owners as well as our complaints process and how you can get involved in shaping our services by joining our Resident Voice Panel.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and if you have any feedback on what you would like included in future editions, please get in touch. Our contact details are on the back page.

Thanks for reading,

Customer Newsletter | Spring 2024
3 Average Days to Respond to Stage 1 Complaint 13 Days 10 Days 10 Days Average Days to Respond to Stage 2 Complaint N/A 19 Days 18 Days 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 YTD Average Wait Time when you Call us 6 MINS 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 YTD Customers Supported in Accessing Additional Benefits and Grants 220 £330K 270 £505K 263 £875K Repairs Satisfaction Repairs Completed on Time 2021/22 75% 2022/23 77% 2023/24 YTD 83% 74% 76% 73% 5 MINS 3.5 MINS


Soon, you will be able to raise a repair with us when it suits you on our Customer Portal. Our new repairs portal will allow you to describe the repair you need, add photos of the issue you are facing and select preferred appointment dates and times (which are subject to availability).

We have worked with some of our residents to help design this and we hope you find it really easy to use. When you log into the Customer Portal, you will be able to select from a number of repairs options.

To begin with, only tenants will be able to raise repairs for inside the home. If you want to raise an emergency repair, you should call us on 020 8996 4200. If you need to report a communal repair, please use our online form. Homeowners should continue to raise communal repairs through our online form too.

We are hoping over the next six months, all communal repairs will be able to be raised on the portal as well.

We will email you, to let you know, once we have launched the new repairs platform.



By using our Customer Portal you will also be able to see your repairs history for the repairs that you have raised on this platform.

If you have not registered for our Customer Portal, you can register here . You will need to be the main account holder for your property, and you will also need your Account Reference Number, which you will be able to find on rent letters from us. If you can’t find your Account Reference Number please email customer.service@sbhg.co.uk or call 020 8996 4200 . Once you have registered you will receive an email asking you to validate your account. If you do not receive an email, please check your junk inbox or get in touch.



We wanted to let you know of some really important changes to various benefits that are occurring. The Government has decided that the following benefits are ending and are being replaced by Universal Credit:

• Child Tax Credit

• Working Tax Credit

• Housing Benefit

• Income Support

• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Other benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), will stay the same.


If you’re in receipt of any of the above you do not need to do anything yet, unless:

• You have a change of circumstances (such as changes to your personal details, work & money changes, health changes or household changes. More information on changes of circumstances can be found here .)

• You receive a letter called a ‘ Migration Notice’ from The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you that you must claim Universal Credit and you must move to Universal Credit within three months to keep getting financial support.

If you do get a ‘Migration Notice’ and need help understanding what to do next, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0208 996 8900.



• If you have received a application to keep receiving financial support. Failure to apply for Universal Credit once you receive your ‘Migration Notice’ will be unable to pay your rent. This will not affect any other benefits you’re getting, such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carer’s Allowance.

If you are over 18 but under state pension age and have savings under £16,000, you could be eligible for Universal Credit. For more information visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit/eligibility

You can find more information about what this change means for you and what you need to do Government’s website.


SBHA has partnered with Policy in Practice in order to support our tenants and homeowners. www.sbhg.co.uk/money-management we have advice and a budgeting and benefit calculator you can use.

• Even if you or a member of your household is working, you may still be entitled to benefits. It will take 10 minutes to complete a benefits check to establish if you are entitled to extra financial support.

• If you are struggling, we can offer you an appointment with our Money Advice Caseworkers to discuss your financial circumstances.

• If you are struggling with the cost of living, such as heating your home or paying for day-to-day essentials we may be able to help. Please call 0208 996 8874.

• For our shared owners and homeowners we’ve created the Helping Hand Fund . For more information visit our website www.sbhg.co.uk/money-management/money-management

The Income and Money Advice Team are here to help. Please call us on 0208 996 8900 or email income team@sbhg.co.uk.



The fund can help cover the following expenses and more:

Our Helping Hand Fund is in place specifically for our shared owners.

• Day-to-day living expenses such as utility bills

• The cost of the weekly shop

• Support accessing uniform for your children

• White Goods

You are likely to be eligible for the Helping Hand Fund if you meet any of the following criteria:

Struggling with paying your rent and service charge

Had a change of circumstances (e.g. lost employment)

In receipt of financial support (e.g. Housing Benefit or Universal Credit)

Need support with paying for daily essentials

Need support managing household bills

To see if you are eligible, please contact, the Income Team on 020 8996 8874 or email Income.Team@sbhg.co.uk


We are offering face-to-face appointments at our offices and virtual appointments on Microsoft Teams to discuss your service charge account. We will be able to discuss payment arrangements and the various ways we can support you to manage your finances. To book an appointment please email Income.Team@sbhg.co.uk


If you have debts such as credit cards, store cards or are struggling to make card repayments and want to receive support and advice please talk to us and we can arrange a referral to one of our Debt Advice partners. Or, you may wish to contact them directly via the links below:

• CAP Debt Help | CAP UK

• Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service Leaflet

• Options for dealing with your debts: Government Overview



By now you will have received a letter setting out your rent and service charge for the financial year April 2024 – March 2025. For tenants, the Government Rent Standard allows registered providers, such as ourselves, to increase rents by Consumer Price Index (CPI) +1%.

Last year, the Government introduced a cap on increases to social rents of 7%. There is no cap for the next financial year and rents will be based on CPI +1%.

Depending on the type of tenancy you hold with us, the increase will either be inclusive or exclusive of service charges.

For shared owners, your rent is normally calculated using RPI (Retail Price Index) plus 0.5%, 1% or 2% depending on your lease. RPI is a common measure of inflation.

For more information on your rent and service charges please consult the letter you received in February or visit our website .

We understand that many people may be facing financial difficulties. At SBHA we believe in offering a preventative and supportive service that reaches customers who need it most.

We have a Customer Support Offer which focuses on employment support, debt, fuel poverty and wider money and budgeting advice through partnerships. All of which has the primary aim of putting and keeping our customers on the right track. We will continue to work with our customers to sustain tenancies and leases.

If you feel you could benefit from our Customer Support Offer, please visit our website



Your experience matters to us, so whether we get it right or wrong we want to hear from you. We are committed to providing excellent customer service and we welcome positive feedback from our customers. It’s important to understand what we are doing well.

However, we recognise that sometimes things do go wrong and on occasions our services have not been good enough, giving residents cause for complaint.

We often find that issues are resolved quicker and with better outcomes when dissatisfaction is acknowledged and dealt with at the earliest opportunity. So, we’d really encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can work together with you to put things right. The easiest way to get in touch with us is through our website

You can find out more about our formal complaints process on our website and below.


It’s been great to see that our complaint performance has continued to improve. Our Stage 1 complaints have reduced by 39% compared to 2022 and we have also seen a reduction in complaints being escalated to Stage 2 by 23%. The reduction in complaints is really positive as it allows the Resolution Team to focus on outcomes which should help improve quality and overall performance, which will directly benefit residents.


You can read our Complaints Policy here: Complaints Policy Examples of Complaints:

• We have failed to respond to your initial enquiries

• Our staff or contractors were unhelpful or were not polite

• We gave unclear, misleading or unsuitable advice

• Our services were not to a good standard and we did not rectify this

• The length of time taken to provide a service and resolve an issue exceeded our service promise

• We have failed to keep you informed of a decision we made

If we log your enquiry as a formal complaint, we’ll get back to you within two working days via email. We will respond fully to your complaint within 10 working days. If we need more time to carry out an investigation or to gather more information, we will let you know.



• We will not log your enquiry as a formal complaint if it is about:

• A repair, provision of service or action, if the target completion date has not yet passed

• A request for information

• A first-time service request

• Neighbour disputes (please read our Anti-Social Behaviour policy ). We will check if our ASB policy and process has been followed correctly

• A problem that you have known about for over 12 months, before making a complaint about it

• Legal action which you are currently taking against us and which has to do with the same complaint you have made

• Service charge disputes

If you would like more information on our Complaints Policy, our complaints process or how to make a complaint, please visit our website



If you’ve been through our complaints procedure and are still unhappy, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service which was set up to resolve disputes involving the tenants and leaseholders of social landlords. The service is free, independent and impartial.

However, you should be aware that in the majority of cases the Housing Ombudsman will only consider a complaint once it has been through our internal complaints procedure.

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service at:

Housing Ombudsman Service PO Box 152

Liverpool L33 7WQ E14 9GE 0300 111 3000



If you want to get involved in the work the Housing Ombudsman is doing to improve residents’ lives and landlord services you can apply to joing their Resident Panel, here.




Have you thought about joining our Resident Voice Panel? We are currently recruiting for new members. The panel plays an important role focusing on customer experience around how services are provided and is completely independent, entirely resident led and ultimately holds SBHA to account.

We are particularly interested in recruiting shared owners as they are currently not represented on the panel.

By joining the panel, you will be able to:

• Influence the way services are deliveredthrough service reviews that are presented with your findings and recommendations to the Executive Team and the Board

• Participate in reality-checking activities such as interviewing staff, surveys, focus groups and looking at documents like policies and procedures

• Gain an in-depth insight into how SBHA as a social housing provider operates

• Enhance your CV and boost your employability - learn new skills

• Participate in training and development opportunities

• Have a say – make a difference and meet new people

There are a number of ways you can get involved with the Resident Voice Panel. You could be reviewing policies, joining estate walkabouts, helping run resident focus groups, or even interviewing prospective SBHA colleagues.

For more information on joining the Resident Voice Panel, why not attend one of our open events to learn more and meet the panel. If you are interested in attending one of our open events, please email governance. team@sbhg.co.uk by the end of April and we will send through more information.

You can also find more information about the Resident Voice Panel on our website


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