Advanced Software (return to the homepage)

Can housing providers avoid being exposed to rising disrepair claims?

29/01/2020 minute read Mark Dewell

In April 2019, we saw The Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 come into force, which significantly overhauled the obligations of a landlord, housing associations and local authorities.

The law states that rented homes in both the private and social sector must be deemed fit for human habitation at the point that a tenancy agreement is granted and that it remains so, throughout the tenancy. Landlords and housing organisations must become increasingly diligent when conducting property repairs and maintenance. Soon they will be required to fully comply with this new legislation, and need to avoid consequences such as pay-outs and legal costs totalling anywhere from £5,000 to £50,000 per case.

The new law was introduced following statistics showing increasing numbers of dwellings deemed to be in a state of disrepair. It has a clear purpose of improving the quality of homes offered through tenancies, and providing tenants with increased protection from illegal tenancy operators.

The three main challenges surrounding disrepair claims

  • Improving customer service
    The new legislation will drive the need for more planned investment. The fewer the defects a tenant reports, the better the service landlords and housing associations will be able to provide in the delivery of responsive repairs.
  • Replacing manual, paper-based processes
    Maintaining comprehensive digital records of the tenancy, repairs and inspection visits will protect all parties from dispute and challenge.
  • Reducing costs
    With a sudden rise in disrepair claims likely, and a higher standard of condition required, landlords must ensure they are appropriately prepared. They need the ability to plan and deliver repairs and maintenance works efficiently and cost-effectively. 

All this means housing organisations and associations must operate smarter and more proactively. Implementing a Field Service Management solution can help to overcome these challenges, and avoid spiralling costs from disrepair claims.

Essential features of a good Field Service Management solution

  • Resource optimisation
    The planning of repairs and maintenance work can be complex, involving multiple tasks requiring separate trades with a variety of skills over a wide geography. A good Field Service Management solution takes all of these considerations into account, to help determine the best possible plan, and making the best use of resources.
  • Intelligent appointments
    The right Field Service Management solution will support landlords in providing tenants with appointments which balance their needs carefully against the costs.
  • Real-time management
    A solution which tracks the progress of tasks in real-time will provide actionable insights to allow landlords and housing associations to meet customer expectations, despite any changes to the plan throughout the emerging day.

The number of disrepair claims is rising, and the role of a landlord is evolving as they become more liable for the overall safety of tenants’ living conditions. Tenants themselves are beginning to demand more. Complying with this new legislation and meeting the expectations of tenants will not be a quick fix. An investment in a Field Service Management solution will ensure smarter operations focused on improving customer service, replacing manual processes and reducing costs. It will support landlords, housing associations and local authorities in delivering quality homes to tenants. At Advanced, we have a wealth of experience and a comprehensive suite of Field Service Management Solutions, which span the complete Field Service lifecycle, from planning and scheduling to service delivery and performance management.

To find out more please visit - or come and see us at the Future of Housing Conference on 11 February