Rent Payment Incentive consultation August 2010
Introduction We will consider why the ‘rent payment incentive’ is under consultation and being considered for the tenants of Tamworth borough council. The findings are shown in a summary report. The findings of the consultation will be reported back to the ‘Tenant Consultative Group ‘and then corporately to Tamworth borough council’s cabinet for approval. Why was the ‘Rent Payment Incentive’ considered? The importance of ‘incentives’ is emphasised by the Audit Commission. Its key line of enquiry (KLOE) on housing income management says an excellent organisation “provides a mix of incentives and sanctions to encourage service users to stay out of debt or reduce their arrears, e.g. discounts for advance payments”. Many housing organisations already have rent incentive schemes to help improve rent collection and to reward tenants who have clear rent accounts. In August 2010, Sue Philp, Housing Manager for the Income Team attended a meeting with the ‘Tenant Consultative Group’ to discuss the possible introduction of rent payment incentives for tenants of Tamworth borough council. Tenants voted favourably to say that at Christmas and Easter tenants who have a clear rent account (including those who receive housing benefit) should have the opportunity to win a food hamper. It was suggested that approximately 5 or 6 hampers would be available to be won at Christmas and Easter. It was agreed that the consultation for the rent payment incentive should be more far reaching and should be sent to everyone who is on the ‘database of tenant involvement’. The questionnaire was sent out to 314 tenants who are registered with us to receive feedback by 6 September 2010. 70 questionnaires were completed and returned. Summary of findings The consultation questionnaire consisted of five questions. The following responses were submitted; • 94.4% agreed that there should be a rent payment incentive scheme • 77.7% agreed with food hampers as prizes • 15% respondents suggested that 6 food hampers as prizes would be a good number. • 68% of respondents stated that ‘tenants with a clear rent account’ should be able to enter the prize draw. Suggestions other than food hampers are; 2
• • • • •
Food vouchers Money to clear rent owing High street vouchers for food stores. Tickets for Drayton Manor Consider giving vouchers as some people have food allergies.
A full breakdown of responses can be found in the appendices. Additional comments submitted by tenants The following comments were made; • “They will have a clear rent account if they are on benefits” • “As long as they have been keeping to their agreement for a certain period of time (payment plan)” • “I don’t think that people who have never paid rent should be eligible”. • “Could also include an extra 1 / 2weeks free rent a year”. • Give the hampers to those who pay full rent”. • “Not those on benefits”. • “It’s about time certain people are responsible with their money or monies and pay their way in life, starting with paying basic important bills that need paying”. What happens next? Sue Philp, Housing Manager, will return to the Tenant Consultative Group with this report so that a decision can be made whether a rent payment incentive scheme should go ahead or not. If a decision by the group is in favour of the scheme it will then be taken to Tamworth borough council’s cabinet to be signed off and implemented.
Do you agree that there should be a rent payment incentive scheme? 68 70 60 50 Number of 40 responses 30 20 10 0
Do you agree with food hampers as prizes? 60
50 40 Number of 30 responses 20
Who should be able to enter the draw (tenants were asked to tick all that they agreed with) 49 (68%) of respondents stated that tenants with a clear rent account should be able to enter the draw. 42 (58.3%) of respondents stated that tenants who receive housing benefit and have a clear rent account should be able to enter the draw. 17 (23.6%) of respondents stated that tenants who are in arrears but who are keeping to an agreed payments plan should be able to enter the draw. 14 (19.4%) stated that all tenants should be able to enter the draw.
Glossary of terms Tenant Consultative Group – a group of tenants and leaseholders who meet on a monthly basis to discuss housing services. The group meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 – 8:00pm. Database of tenant involvement – by completing a Housing Sounding Board registration form you will be entered onto a database that will allow you to become more actively involved in housing services in a way that suits you. KLOE – Key Lines of Enquiry Any tenant or leaseholder may join the above by contacting the Tenant Participation Team on freephone 0800 183 0454
Report produced by Diane Hughes, tenant participation assistant, in partnership with Sue Philp, housing manager for the income team.