Social housing conditions has been a hot topic in the UK, gaining national press coverage due to the death of a two-year-old in 2020 living in social housing. These deaths were attributed to poor living conditions, of which tenants’ complaints to housing authorities had allegedly gone unnoticed.
This led to a televised visit by Health Secretary Michael Gove to a mould-infested social housing apartment in November 2022. With the added pressure on housing authorities, now is the perfect time to think about a satisfaction survey for social housing tenants.
As of April 2023, there are new requirements set forth by the UK Regulator for Social Housing.
Here are 9 things housing authorities need to know.
Please note – this is intended as guide for housing authorities with social housing tenants.
1. No recency bias
For housing authorities looking to survey their tenants, the Regulator of Social Housing states that the perception survey to measure tenant satisfaction must be a broader survey that reflects their views over a longer period.
It cannot be based upon once incident, ensuring the feedback is balanced.
2. The tenant survey must include the official perception questions outlined by the Regulator of Social Housing
Regulator of Social Housing has outlined the survey questions and response options that must be used in a tenant perception survey. Every question must be included – even if you already have similar questions.
This comes into effect from April 1 2023.
3. The questions and responses must be outlined verbatim.
You must include the official perception survey questions and the response options exactly as they are stated by the Regulator of Social Housing.
This is irrespective of the survey method you use. For example, if the survey is conducted by telephone, the questions and responses must be read aloud verbatim.
4. You can include additional questions
While you must include all of the official questions, you are free to include additional questions as you see fit. You can expand on existing questions, explore other areas, or find out more about your tenants through demographic questions.
You can also decide the wording and the format of these additional questions.
5. Respondents cannot be led to a point of view
When adding additional questions, you must use neutral wording and take “reasonable” action to ensure respondents are not led to expressing a certain point of view.
An example of a leading question could be: “My social housing provider is ensuring I am not homeless and I am happy with my accommodation”.
The question in this example should simply ask “Are you happy with your accommodation?”.
To avoid leading questions or influencing respondents, keep all survey text short, concise and to the point. It should be simple, neutral wording that is easy to understand.
6. No emojis or other visual elements (unless for accessibility)
The Regulator of Social Housing does not permit emojis or other visual elements to be used in the survey unless it is for accessibility purposes.
While this can be a useful method for engagement and improving your response rate, visual elements cannot be used in this survey.
7. Partial survey responses must be included
If a household responds to only a few questions in the survey, those responses must be included in your analysis and reporting.
8. 1,000 is the magic number – LCHO vs LCRA
When it comes to providers of Low Cost Home Ownership and Low Cost Rental Accommodation, your surveys should include households in the relevant tenant population within the sampling frame.
However, it depends on the number of tenants in each population.
For example, if you own more than a 1,000 LCRA units and less than 1.000 LCHO units you are only required to report tenant perception for LCRA. This means the total population only includes tenants in Low Cost Rental Accommodation units only. For more examples see section 18/ table 3 in the document.
We would advise you check out Section 18 on page 9 of the Tenant Satisfaction Measures: Tenant Survey Requirements guidelines from the Regulator of Social Housing for more information on these LCHO and LCRA requirements.
9. A “suitable level of expertise” is required in conducting this survey
The Regulator of Social Housing states you must “employ a suitable level of expertise to design and apply a survey methodology to generate tenant perception measures”.
They also state that it must be “proportionate to the size and complexity of your tenant base”.
You must be able to connect to those hard-to-reach communities using a variety of methods – such as online surveys or paper surveys – sent by SMS, email, or conducted face-to-face.
Get the ready-to-run Tenant Satisfaction Measures Survey for Social Housing from Snap Surveys
To help housing authorities meet the new standards, we have created a ready-to-run tenant satisfaction measures survey that does all the hard work for you.
It has everything you need to get started quickly and understand your data easily through one-click visual reports.
Here are the key details:
- Ready-to-run survey solution: Build a survey for your organisation in 10 minutes or less
- Featuring 12 official perception-based questions for tenant satisfaction
- Up to 7 optional questions for demographics, additional comments, or further contact
- One-click instant but comprehensive reporting to understand the data and identify areas for improvement
- Includes a separate report for Tenants (as required by the regulator)
- Includes an optional follow-up report to enable you to reach out to Tenants who requested contact
- Produce any of the reports for all of the data, or data for a specific area, or estate, or type of tenancy
- The survey runs on our UK-based servers which are GDPR compliant
Brought to you by Snap Surveys – market leader in survey software solutions since 1981.
Alternatively, get a helping hand from our Projects Team
If you don’t have the “suitable level of experience” – our in-house expert Projects Team can handle this for you.
We have 15 years’ experience in working on social housing survey projects, including STAR, STATUS and Place.
We can handle either individual aspects of your project or even manage the entire survey if you need it.
- Questionnaire set up
- Online surveys
- Printing and posting paper surveys
- Manual data entry
- Reporting (including Smart Reports)
Ultimately, we are here to make your life easier.
Check out the Projects Team page for more information.