We are pleased to report that 300 residents took part in a consultation, asking residents for their thoughts about our proposals to change the format of the Annual Rent & Service Charge Statement.
Residents from all tenure types took part in the consultation including residents living in rented properties, homeowners and shared-owners. The survey also attracted a good response from residents of different ages, different household types and different regions of the country.
We are writing to inform you that following this consultation we have implemented, or are considering implementing, a number of changes to the way we communicate with residents about their rent and service charges.
You said: Residents would like the rent and service charge statement to have included additional information, relevant to them and their area.
We did: We are proposing to make a ‘personal statement’ available alongside the rent and service charge statement which will include information which is personal to residents and their homes. This could include information like who the Customer Partner is and how to contact them, how often the grounds maintenance service providers and cleaners should visit, and details about any improvements planned for residents' homes or their areas.
You said: Some respondents complained that the prints was too small and that it was difficult to read pale blue on white.
We did: Residents who require large print will receive a different version of the statement. Our new corporate colours will appear on the statement residents receive next year, which should improve the legibility.
You said: Residents would like an explanation as to why service charges have changed.
We did: We are planning further consultations with residents who pay a service charge, to help us accommodate their individual preferences. We hope that better communication with residents will help them to understand why costs have changed.
You said: Most residents would be happy to access this information online.
We did: Payment and charge information is available on ‘MyAccount’. More than 4,000 residents have already subscribed and are managing their tenancies/leases online. Feedback from residents using the online service is that charge and payment information is clear and understandable.
You said: Residents would have liked more images and graphics to help explain some of the information that was provided.
We did: We will make better use of ‘infographics’ in our publications to make them more engaging, and to help residents understand performance information.
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An informal online community of involved residents, who take part in regular surveys and consultations.