HouseMark month five COVID-19 impact data shows 96% of landlords set to embrace home working as sector performance continues to improve

Month five HouseMark COVID-19 impact data shows that the pandemic has prompted digitalisation, with 96% of landlords set to embrace homeworking in the longer term and more than 90% of landlords actively working on digitally transforming services. Key services including repairs, lettings and arrears continue to stabilise, but analysis shows that performance will not return to ‘normal’ levels for some time. The membership-exclusive report is the fifth in the only UK wide series of monthly reports with data up to the end of July 2020.

Headline findings include:

Digital transformation

 More than 90% of landlords have been actively working on digitally transforming services as a result of the pandemic, with 38% of participants accelerating the development of tenant portals.

 Repairs

The number of non-emergency repairs increased by 20%, with the number completed also increasing from 62% to 74%. Additionally, only one in ten landlords completed more non-emergency repairs than were reported in the month, suggesting that the sector is not yet tackling the backlog of repairs that has built up since March. We estimate there to be 2.6 million jobs to be completed across the sector. We anticipate that this backlog of repairs will not be cleared for much of the sector until the end of March 2021.

Staffing

The proportion of staff not working (e.g. due to furlough) continues to shrink – down to 3% of the workforce. We found that 96% of landlords are set to embrace homeworking in some form in the longer term.

Arrears

 For the first time since lockdown measures were introduced, we have seen a reduction in the month on month arrears rate. Overall sector arrears have reduced by 0.05 percentage points since June and now stand at 3.64%.  Anecdotal evidence shows pockets of arrears increases, for example where a large local firm closes down.

ACCESS THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY HERE

 

Talking about the latest report, HouseMark Chief Executive Laurice Ponting said:

 “Now in month five, the insights from our COVID-19 analysis have been used by our members and the wider sector to understand the impact on key services, contextualise performance and make evidence-based decisions to navigate the crisis. As the pandemic develops into a pattern of universal anti-viral measures across the UK punctuated with local outbreaks, we are starting to see the sector modify its plans for the future as remote contact, social distancing and home working look set to stay for many months to come.

 “Demand for services has returned, but there is still much work to do clearing backlogs before the sector can feel a fuller sense of recovery and landlords will need to prioritise how they will use resources to meet this demand in the coming months. With residents and colleagues now acutely aware of the benefits of digitised services, it is clear there is an opportunity to build on the learning curve the sector has been through since March and digitalise services for the benefit of tenants.”

The full report, including detailed analysis and best practice from landlords across the UK, is exclusively available to participating organisations. Organisations interested in finding out more about HouseMark’s COVID-19 solutions should contact jonathan.cox@housemark.co.uk.

By Emily Cullingham

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