The data produced by housing associations (HAs) is valuable, but many of them find themselves unable to use it in a way that allows them to make better decisions. ‘Data chaos’, whereby data is siloed and unmanageable, is a common concern.
Social housing providers often have many systems for different purposes, such as property management, external contractors and internal systems. This is a lot of data to analyse, but doing so can help identify and resolve recurring issues.
Analytics can help HAs with many common issues including filling high-priority void properties, managing repairs and preventing rent arrears.
Using analytics, it is possible to identify common themes in empty properties. Combining this with repairs service means that housing associations can also ensure the property is fit for purpose before renting again. Analytics can help tie these processes together.
Data from the Regulator of Social Housing shows that maintenance costs £4,120 per property – up 7% from the previous analysis in 2017. Using analytics programmes, associations predict when these works will take place and view information including completed repairs, overdue repairs, repairs in progress, scheduled repairs, first-time fix rates and a visualisation of repair locations.
In 2020, arrears hit a five-year high in the social housing sector, while rent collection was at its lowest level since 2013. With analytics platforms, you can profile tenants to see who is likely to fall into arrears. This benefits you and your tenants; you can contact them in advance to see if they need support with paying their bills, rather than using it as a targeting tool.
Many HAs struggle with the same issues when it comes to data. Implementing an analytics solution will allow you to identify and resolve a number of issues. Your business produces valuable data – it is time to make it work for you.
Lisa Donoghue is data and analytics account director at Perfect Image
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