We invited residents who had moved into their property 12 months ago to take part in a survey which explored whether they had received a visit from a member of Accent staff as an applicant, and whether this visit was beneficial or not.

The purpose of the home visit is to identify the support needs of incoming residents to help them sustain successful tenancies. We wanted to find out whether the home visit was helping Accent to meet this aim and whether any other approaches could be considered.

The survey revealed that:

81% residents who had received a visit from their Housing Officer as an applicant felt more confident managing their tenancy, and more comfortable contacting us about tenancy related matters.

We will make our approach to carrying out home visits more consistent, so that prospective residents who could benefit from a home visit will receive one; regardless of what part of the country they happen to live in or the means by which they have applied for their property.

In only 52% of cases where applicants asked their future plans to determine whether the property was suitable for their long-term needs.

We will use home visits as an opportunity to ask about applicants’ health and wellbeing needs and help them access any support they may need to sustain their tenancies. We will refer vulnerable applicants to our Tenancy Sustainability Team before they move in, to assist them with benefit claims, accessing grants and managing debts.

In a separate survey, 78% of residents who had moved in in the last 12 months said they would have applied for their property online, had this been an option for them.

As part of the ‘Let’s Move’ project prospective residents will be able to apply for properties online, and submit documents such as proof of eligibility and income to support their application. Residents who are able to self-serve may not require a visit from a Housing Officer, so that staff time can be spent with applicants who have higher support needs.

44% of residents said felt that the questions asked as part of the home visit could have been asked over the telephone or online.

We will incorporate some of the questions asked during the home visit into the new online application form. This process will help to assess applicants’ supports needs and whether a home visit is required.

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