Poll shows tenants' dissatisfaction

The vast majority of social housing tenants do not feel listened to or cared about by their landlords, a survey has found.

The Big Tenant Survey polled 61,000 tenants across the UK
The Big Tenant Survey polled 61,000 tenants across the UK

The Big Tenant Survey of 61,000 tenants found only 32% of people were satisfied that their landlord "listens to them and acts upon their views", while just 22% feel that their landlord "cares about them and their family".

The results show that landlords "may need to get to know their tenants better", according to Richard Blundell, CEO of Housing Partners, which conducted the survey.

More than half of the survey respondents would not currently recommend their landlord to a friend or relative.

Over the next three years, under the Government's Welfare Reform changes, billions of pounds of housing benefits will change from being paid straight to landlords and be paid directly to tenants, many of whom have never before been responsible for paying their rent.

"With housing benefits changes now on the horizon, good levels of trust, communication and pro-activity between landlords and tenants are critical," Mr Blundell said.

The survey found that 25% of the people surveyed fully understand the current welfare changes, and 42% of those receiving full housing benefit are highly anxious about having their rent paid directly to them instead of straight to their landlords.

About a third (33.8%) of survey respondents believe that direct payments will make it difficult for them to budget.

Londoners were the most dissatisfied tenants responding to the survey with only 16% (national average 24%) saying they would recommend their council or housing association landlord to a friend or relative, and 17% (national average 22%) saying they feel their landlords care about them and their family.

Just 24% of Londoners said they were satisfied their landlord listens to them and acts on their views (national average 32%).

Tenants in Northern Ireland were the second most dissatisfied, with 26% satisfied their landlord listens to them and acts on their views.

People in the North West (38%) were most satisfied that this was true of their landlord.

Mr Blundell added: "We know that in the past it has been hard to hear tenants' voices from across the country, but our first Big Tenant Survey gives our sector valuable insight.

"It provides a more comprehensive picture of what tenants think about their landlords, their homes and the Government's welfare reforms.

"The survey also provides vital information that can help landlords avoid the business risks presented with tenants falling into arrears and we look forward to sharing the deeper findings with our landlord partners."

Tenants who filled in the survey are renting with 1,422 different social housing landlords in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Big Tenant Survey is intended to be an annual event.