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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Revolutionary rent collecting


Cath Davies, senior associate at CIH consultancy, talks about the challenges of rent collection and how the latest Working together project might just have the answers you’re looking for.

Image of roof"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…"

So begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. The French Revolution - the subject of Dickens’ novel - may be some 200 years behind us but it certainly feels like we are living in revolutionary times. This particular revolution comes in the form of welfare reforms: rent reduction, universal credit, housing benefit caps and increased welfare benefit caps are all stretching the resources - and resourcefulness - of social landlords to the limit.

Social landlords could be forgiven for feeling that a shortened version of Dickens’ famous opening line is more appropriate:

"It was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity."

Whether or not this is the case, we are - as the American writer Isaac Marion wrote - where we are. This oft-used phrase is, actually, only part of the quotation:

"We are where we are, however we got here. What matters is where we go next."

So, where do we go next…?

Many social landlords are reviewing service provision: which services are essential and which are desirable? How can services be provided in a way that demonstrates value for money and deliver the results needed in these revolutionary times?

Prioritisation, efficiency and effectiveness is the name of the game:

  1. Decide what are your core activities
  2. Tear up the rule book; review those activities to make sure they are being delivered in a way that is appropriate for these revolutionary times and are delivering the desired results.

There are really only three core activities for landlords – those things without which the business will fail:

  1. Let the properties
  2. Collect the rent
  3. Maintain the properties

Working together to collect the rent

CIH consultancy’s latest project has been developed especially for this revolution: Working together to collect the rent will bring landlords together to learn from sector leaders and innovators in order to share experiences, develop thinking, trial approaches and learn about the evidential costs of what works.

Our programme of Working together projects has already helped more than a 100 organisations or landlords around the country to take the sometimes brave decisions needed to bring about change in their organisations that delivers results.

What we think

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