A survey by data expert HouseMark has found just 8% of social housing landlords are planning to return to business as usual once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
57% of the 153 providers surveyed – who manage a combined total of more than 1.5m homes – said resident satisfaction has actually improved since COVID-19 hit in March, and that has caused them to consider a shake-up of services.
The number of non-emergency repairs reported to social landlords doubled over June, according to the survey, with 62% completed.
Most social landlords began moving toward a normal repairs service in June as the government eased lockdown restrictions.
HouseMark also reported that lettings doubled in June, after the number dropped significantly following the government recommendation in April for inessential move-ins to be paused. Lettings figures are now near pre-lockdown levels.
Not all good news
However, an estimated 50,000 homes remained empty but available to let, twice as many as would normally be expected at this time of year, and equivalent to £5m a week in lost rental income.
Rent arrears across the sector increased by a further 2.9% in June and now sit at an average of 3.47% of overall rental income.
The HouseMark survey also found:
- Nine in 10 people employed by social landlords are now in work, with the number on furlough cut in half over June
- 56% of sector employees are working externally, while 35% are essential frontline workers
- Reports of anti-social behaviour rose 10% between May and June;
- Reports of anti-social behavior are 60% higher than when lockdown was imposed in March
- Social landlords completed 93% of the gas-safety certificates due for renewal in June, up from 89% in May.
Commenting on the findings, Laurice Ponting, chief executive of HouseMark, said: “There are opportunities to be seized for landlords that are bold and agile, and we are seeing considerable evidence that these are being taken.
“The fact that three quarters of landlords are using the pandemic as a catalyst to improve services demonstrates the sector’s appetite to make the ‘new normal’ more positive for communities.”