After food housing is the most important of human needs. However more than a house tenants, particularly those in social housing situations, need a home. This means they need a place that not only meets their basic needs (sufficient space, conveniences, location) but also speaks to their needs as individuals (Okuha & Beamish).
One way to meet these varied, and sometimes hidden, needs of tenants is through treating tenants as stakeholders (Oladapo).
By treating tenants as stakeholders in their housing situation housing providers can “improve levels of participation and enhance opportunities to build social capital” (Oladapo).
Tenants are drawn into participating through topics relevant to their interest areas or abilities. Not only does involvement of tenants work towards building a community but it provides an avenue of communication by which unintended issues can be identified and dealt with.
Perhaps most importantly treating social housing tenants as stakeholders improves their involvement in maintenance reporting. By improving tenants’ awareness of the issues relevant to maintenance and giving them the tools to communicate with housing authorities about these issues not only improves tenant satisfaction but reduces maintenance costs as issues are dealt with early (Oladapu). For example, tenants, in particular those who are new to home maintenance, may have difficulty in recognising aspects of decay in their homes. Or they may write them off as normal “wear and tear” of living in a home.
By maintaining an open line of communication it is possible to educate tenants on these aspects of home ownership and to prevent escalation of maintenance issues. Unfortunately, many tenants still report that they are communicating with maintenance services through outdated methods such as survey cards, call centres, and letters. This results in, as one study showed, a high level of dissatisfaction with both the response time and the backlog of maintenance complaints (Oladupa).
But what options are there to improve the situation?
IPS’ dual Tenant Management Module and Tenant Self Service Portal address either side of the situation. The Tenant Management Module gives housing officers the ability to follow the history of a tenant, predict patterns of behaviour, and adapt to their unique needs.
At the same time the Tenant Self Service Portal gives tenants the ability to manage their own profile, access information, communicate with housing officers, request repairs, and more.
IPS gives social housing providers the tools to empower tenants in their housing situation, improve tenant satisfaction, and ultimately build stronger communities.