Rent & arrears
Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

Most of our income came from the rent and service charges that you pay – we use this money to channel it straight back into services for you, your home and your community

Staff in our Relationship Team make sure that rent is paid on time and do what they can to help those who have difficulty paying, get back on track

At the end of the year, we had an arrears level that was lower than the same time last year. We are still devoting significant resources to tackle rent arrears and make sure payments are made in future. The amount of rent we are able to collect affects the number of improvements we can make to our services including the number of new kitchens and bathrooms we can install, so having rent payments up-to-date benefits all our customers

This year we saw the official launch of Universal Credit and we have currently had a small number of customers make a claim under the new system

Our Home Budgeting staff have been working closely with tenants affected by Welfare Reforms - including Universal Credit - helping them to manage their money and make the most of their income

We have built up great relationships with external agencies such as CAP (Christians Against Poverty) and CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau), to assist our customers when they need help the most and to try and sustain tenancies

We are working to keep our rent arrears levels low so that we can run effectively as a business and invest in areas that you need us to

We managed to reduce arrears to lower than they were at the start of the year and they have continued to reduce since then
We will be:

Implementing the ‘Rental Exchange’ scheme which sees rent payments contribute towards credit ratings, to help you access more services and finance that you may not have been eligible for previously

Introducing a new case management approach which will identify unusual or poor payment behaviours and patterns to make sure we get in touch with those of you that may struggle in future to meet your rent obligations and help you avoid getting into debt or putting your home at risk.

Working with you and our external partners to help build a better picture of your needs and financial strains to enable us to become more proactive and provide the support you need, when you need it – things like signposting to organisations that can help, referring customers to support services and having early conversations before things start having an impact on being able to manage homes

Working more closely with support agencies to make sure that where it is not practical or appropriate for us to provide support, we make sure someone is there for you that can.

Our team of Relationship Specialists are focussed on reducing rent arrears and supporting tenants in sustaining their tenancies

We see the long term value both for Red Kite and for our customers in sustaining tenancies, and as such legal action is a last resort

We have invested time and energy into developing in-house IT solutions rather than spending big money on license costs for external products; this has saved approximately £30,000 per year and allowed us to spend our money in other areas to improve the service we can provide.

Simon Archer (Tenant Volunteer on our Customer and Community Insight Group and a Resident Inspector):

“Being a member of the Customer and Community Insight Group (CCIG) is very rewarding. I think many would be surprised at how much input we have and the ability to truly shape Red Kite for the benefit of the customers. The staff at Red Kite are always supportive, we work particularly closely with the Volunteering Team who are always willing to engage with new ideas we have. As part of my role as a member, I have had the chance to meet customers from other organisations and I must say I'm particularly proud of Red Kite’s level of involvement.

Rent is the main income for Red Kite and one of the many areas we look at during our meetings, arrears, is therefore an important item to monitor. As part of CCIG's monitoring we look at the impact proposed benefit changes might have on people’s ability to afford rents, performance indicators and the available support Red Kite offer to help ensure customers on benefits are receiving all they are entitled to.

Rent arrears can be a difficult subject, however Red Kite are committed to working with customers and discussing all options available. When repayment plans are needed Red Kite have made a point of ensuring that they will not cause additional financial problems for the customer or leave them without essentials. I would encourage anyone who feels they are having difficulties to contact Red Kite as early as possible and make use of the support that’s available.”

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