We invited residents to take part in a survey about our approach to recovering rent.
Your responses helped us to understand that Accent’s ways of working do not suit everyone, and that we need to adopt a fair, flexible and understanding approach.
You said: Accent largely relies on (automated) telephone and post to notify residents when they have fallen behind with their rent. Some customers commented that they had continued to receive reminders about rent arrears even after they had already been in contact with Accent to explain their circumstances.
We did: We will take a more personal approach when contacting customers about their rent. We recognise that there are many different reasons why customers fall behind with their rent and we will take these into consideration when we contact them, especially if they have already been in touch about it.
You said: Respondents’ experiences of the rent recovery process were very mixed. Some felt that they had been treated too harshly, and others felt that Accent had been ‘more than fair’.
We did: We have found that individual staff members have different approaches to recovering rent from customers. The creation of an ‘Accent standard’ will address this by providing the correct mixture of support and enforcement. We will be asking customers to help us design this standard.
You said: Two thirds of respondents would have liked reminders about what to pay and when. Text message and email where the most popular choices for rent payment reminders.
We did: Accent’s focus has been on helping residents to reduce their arrears. However, we now recognise that some customers could benefit from our support before they reach this stage. We will offer customers a degree of choice about what communications they wish to receive and when.
You said: Only one third of respondents felt they needed intervention from Accent in order to bring their rent account up to date.
We did: We will support customers when things get difficult. We realise that most customers are aware when they fall behind with their rent and intend to pay it back.
You said: ¼ respondents felt that Accent’s approach to recovering rent was not ‘fair and flexible’.
We did: We are considering new initiatives, which offer greater flexibility in the way customers pay.
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