Home MOT

Housing Solutions has an annual repairs budget of £1.3 million and needed to make savings. But where could we start?

Housing Solutions has an annual repairs budget of £1.3 million and needed to make savings. But where could we start?

Looking at where our budget was spent, we found 2.5% of the residents were using 11% of the budget. But neither the age of their property or recent planned maintenance activity seemed to significantly alter their high use. Targeting this high usage seemed a logical first step towards reducing our costs.

So we identified the top 100 persistent high users and invited to take part in a Home MOT scheme. An average user request 3.5 repairs a year, but some of these tenants were ordering more than 30!

The scheme began with a visit from the maintenance team to deal with any outstanding problems and check the condition of their home. The tenants were then offered a £100 reward if:

§  They did not use the repairs service for 12 months, except for genuine emergencies

§  Their home was kept in good condition - a check at the end of the scheme ensured repairs weren’t being ignored in order to qualify for the bonus.

§  They allowed access for an annual gas safety check

§  They had a clear rent account and no neighbour nuisance issues

§  We made clear at the start that the bonus payment was a one-off and another payment would not be offered if usage increased and then dropped.

To help them along, residents were given advice on basic DIY and a small toolkit.

The Results

The Home MOT scheme is in its third year and has cost just over £20,000. The savings though are staggering; Housing Solutions has saved in excess of £150,000. All customers who have taken part have reduced their use of the repairs service by more than 60 per cent and 100 per cent think the scheme should continue. Even residents who were invited to take part but declined, have independently reduced their usage of the repairs service.

Not all the high use was abuse though, and an important part of the scheme was understanding the households we were targeting. High usage households were more likely to include customers with disabilities who found small jobs difficult and single women who felt they didn’t have the skills or equipment to complete the repairs. Other underlying causes of dissatisfaction, such as waiting to transfer, were a factor in some cases, and in others it was simple that the high usage had not been challenged.

Home MOT is a very simple idea that has helped us to generate real savings so that we can deliver a more efficient and quicker service to all our customers.

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