There is a lot of on-going conjecture as to what impact the rent reduction for Housing Associations is going to have on their ability to maintain services.
Recent high profile articles in a national newspaper expressed the concerns of many residents that whilst they are grateful to see a rent reduction, the potential for poorer service as a consequence is a real concern.
Like many people I have spent more time than usual recently reading articles and commentary on the likely impacts of the recently introduced rent reduction legislation in the Housing Association Sector.
And like many people having been in the sector for so many years there is a sense as with other changes before it that things will simply work themselves out.
But this one feels a little bit different.
That there is a political feel to the change in legislation is undeniable; essentially part of the government’s reasoning for the cuts is to help reduce housing benefit claims. While I understand their objective of reducing the welfare budget to aid the country’s economy what benefit does a rent reduction of 1% bring to the resident against the combined income reductions for a Housing Association for example with 30,000 properties?
It is little wonder that there is so much concern and so much uncertainty, and in truth I think it is probably too early to really know what the implications are. In fact, it is most likely that there will be a range of impacts dependent upon the strategy of individual associations.
But to address the concerns expressed in recent newspaper articles that the rent reduction will make it harder for landlords to maintain services for residents, my view is that there are plenty of options available to landlords which would enable them to avoid this.
It is where asset management and carefully planned maintenance strategies really comes into their own, and with many associations working really hard in this regard it is entirely conceivable that the reduced income they face overall need not impact day to day services for the resident.