SOURCE: KANA Software, Inc.

KANA Software, Inc.

June 24, 2013 04:00 ET

Social Housing Landlords Fear Potential for Mass Rental Arrears

Research by KANA Shows Housing Associations Have Addressable Opportunities to Reduce Administration Costs With 'Digital First' Technologies Including Web and Mobile Channels

BELFAST, IRELAND--(Marketwired - Jun 24, 2013) - Three quarters of UK social housing landlords fear potential mass rental arrears and void properties according to research by KANA Software, Inc., ahead of this week's Chartered Institute of Housing Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester from 25 to 27 June. The UK's leading social and affordable housing event brings together housing associations, ALMOs and Local Authorities.

Government welfare reforms, which came into force in April, have triggered a wide range of concerns amongst social housing landlords as these organisations work through the detailed implications, according to a KANA survey of 143 UK housing associations.i

The new reforms are aimed at reducing the nation's massive welfare benefits bill by simplifying the system and tightening eligibility controls and qualifying caps. A single "Universal Credit" has been introduced to cover all entitlement (except Council Tax Benefit). This "Credit" includes various housing benefit caps, including one associated with occupancy, the so called "bedroom tax." Working age housing benefit claimants with one spare bedroom in social housing could lose 14 percent of their housing benefit and those with two or more spare bedrooms could lose 25 percent. An estimated 1 million households with spare bedrooms are paid housing benefit. Two-thirds of the people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled.

The reforms could save the public purse £465m per year. Whereas, more than 600,000 people in social housing could lose an average of £728 a year. Research carried out by Housemarkii indicates a potential for £1.4bn in additional unpaid rent per year.

KANA research also shows that the principal concerns of housing associations include worries about increased administration (32 percent), uncertainty about procedures (21 percent) and expectations of an increase in customer complaints (15 percent).

The complexity of implementation weighs heavily as nearly half (41 percent) of the housing associations polled do not have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place to support the increased volume and complexity of enquiries from tenants and other customers.

"Reform rarely means reduced public sector administration, and the converging concerns of more work and pressure on income elevate the need for landlords to gain closer understanding of their tenants," said Nigel Buck, social housing consultant for KANA Software. "The reforms make it necessary for landlords to have a closer understanding of their tenants. But without the right systems or 'Digital First' initiatives in place, it is virtually impossible to build or maintain the accurate tenant profiles that enable housing associations to run their businesses effectively."

As a result of the reforms, the vast majority of social housing landlords (86 percent) will review how they deliver services to tenants in the next 12 months, the poll found.

Social housing landlords still lag behind commercial businesses in the development and implementation of multichannel services for customers. Fewer than half (43 percent) have self-service websites or portals and 60 percent do not have a mobile strategy, impeding their ability to reduce administration through self-help and their ability to respond quickly. One-third of housing associations say budgets are still seen as the biggest barrier to embracing new technology despite clear evidence that appropriate technology reduces administration and cost.

About KANA Software
KANA understands the value of great Customer Service experiences. We know every channel through which a customer communicates. We provide on-premises and cloud solutions for large enterprises and mid-market organizations. By unifying and maintaining context for customer journeys across agent, Web, social and mobile experiences, KANA solutions have reduced handling time, increased resolution rates and improved net promoter scores (NPS) at more than 900 enterprises (including many of the Fortune 500) and more than 250 government agencies. About 150 public sector organizations including 20 social landlords use KANA solutions in the UK. At KANA, we help create differentiated and personalized customer experiences that count.

KANA is based in Silicon Valley, California and has offices in Belfast and Maidenhead. For more information visit or follow KANA on Twitter @KANAsoftware.

KANA is a registered trademark of KANA Software, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

i Research was conducted by Surveys in Public Sector amongst 143 unique housing associations the majority who look after in excess of 5,000 properties.

ii Housemark was created by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation. Its figure of £1.4bn is based on figures produced on direct payment by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Rachel Roe
    Twelve thirty Eight for KANA Software, Inc.
    +44 7769 690287
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    Ryan Zuk
    KANA Software, Inc.
    +1 626 275 7625
    Email Contact