Property Plus

Maintaining our high-performing repairs service

Property Plus director Stephen Collins explains how the service, which delivers repairs and maintenance work for the Group, has been transformed by excellence and innovation.

Our Fair Landlord approach has revolutionised the way Property Plus works so that we can invest more in our people, properties and customers. Savings of £600,000 per annum are reinvested to bring huge benefits to our repairs and maintenance service.

The approach has transformed a loss-making operation into a successful business investing in its people, properties and customers. Last year, we spent over £20 million repairing, improving and maintaining our homes.

While completing 23,000 jobs, we clearly set out which repairs were our responsibility and which needed to be carried out by customers. We also implemented our Home MOT service, carrying out planned maintenance of homes, a neighbourhood at a time. This was introduced in South Staffordshire and rolled out to Shropshire 12 months ago.

Clear communication has been key to the success of Fair Landlord, with a whole-business approach ensuring consistent, repeated messages through customer services, marketing and front-line operatives.

Customers have understood that, by controlling repair costs, more tenants benefit from home improvements. They have backed that and been partners on our journey.

In an era of rent reduction and welfare reform many associations have been forced to cut spending on home improvements but we’re increasing our investment, protecting our asset value as well as keeping our customers happy, shown by the fact that 94 per cent of them were happy with the repair service they received.

A new commercial ethos has also been embedded in the service, with performance-related pay increasing output and a redirection of resources to support increased investment in home improvement.

Last year we:

  • Fitted 363 new kitchens
  • Installed 544 new bathrooms
  • Providing energy-efficient boilers to reduce fuel poverty for 874 customers
  • Rewired 64 homes
  • Carried out 12,751 safety checks

Excellent training has supported the Fair Landlord project, with a multi-skilled workforce reducing the reliance on external contractors and a made-to-measure apprenticeship service, Construct Your Career, has been developed which has included partnerships with local colleges, giving young people the building blocks for a career. Classroom learning is supplemented by workplace experience and a formal mentoring programme.

You can watch a short film about the support we’re giving to young people as well as the work we’re doing to develop skills within the business.

Our Fair Landlord approach is designed to be flexible, agile and responsive. So, if customers tell us that a particular service is really important to them, we can change our policy and offer that work within the framework. Focusing on transactional surveys and creating a listening culture has brought changes including new service level agreements for heating repairs, considered a priority by customers. 

There has also been plenty of room for innovation including being one of the first housing associations to roll out Gas Tag – a simple way of managing gas safety checks and certificates using a tag that communicates with a smartphone app. Read more about this here.

All of our success has been recognised nationally at numerous award ceremonies. They demonstrate our high standards of delivery and we are immensely proud of this.

Read more about our success in Our Journey – the Group’s 2017-18 annual report.

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