Housing associations and private renting – are expectations that different?

Alison Batty
Alison Batty

Engage delivers portals to both the private and not for profit property sectors. From the start we noticed that there is a clear distinction in the way to approach, promote and propose to organisations across these sectors.  Whether planning for events, blogging, publishing and generating leads, there is a clear divide in resources and approach between the two groups. Housing and property publications generally target specific sectors independently and events are typically primarily focused on social housing or the private sector rather than renting or housing in general.

Whilst there are some obvious differences at a strategic and board level, from a day to day operational and customer perspective, are things really that different?

No matter who you are dealing with, these things seem to be the common thread:

  1. All customers want more ‘now’. The default communication tool for more and more people is their smart phone or computer – whoever they are and wherever they live.  This gives instant access to information.
  2. All customers want transparency. Whether visibility on decisions, compliance or access to financial information customers want to see more – whether filling in tax returns or trusting their landlord – never more important post-Grenfell.
  3. Neighbourhood and community is more important than ever. Housing associations have typically had a strong remit around resident engagement and involvement, but this hasn’t always been the case in the private rental sector.  Now that people are renting for longer, moving to new developments and mixed-use designs this is more important than ever in PRS and a key differentiator.
  4. There are common operations that all have to deliver, including maintenance and repairs, support teams, rent collection and finance and overall contracts and tenancy management.

Housing Associations are increasingly becoming involved in PRS initiatives and the private sector is increasingly having to include affordable homes so would it benefit all if the divide was broken down?  Should we all start looking at similarities rather than differences?

And, more importantly, how do we start?

Alison Batty

Consultancy Manager

Self-service Services Community Professional services