Every year Unipol conducts an independent Tenant Satisfaction Survey to gauge what our tenants really think of our accommodation. This is a really important piece of work that spans across all of our stock, telling us what we’re doing well and, of course, what we need to do even better.
Overall satisfaction ratings with Unipol housing are high with 80% of our tenants rating their service as good or high.
In the survey we either measure satisfaction as a percentage or on a scale of 1 to 8 with 1 as worst and 8 as best.
The response rate of the 2016 survey was 38% (up 5% from 2015). 41% of respondents were from Leeds Beckett University, 28% were from the University of Leeds, 10% from Leeds College of Music and 5% from Leeds College of Art.
83% were home students and 81% were undergraduates with the remainder postgraduates.
The renting process and moving in
For moving in, respondents’ ratings have increased for the sixth consecutive year. All comparable ratings scored 6 or more with 5 categories scoring more than 7.
First point of contact, the Unipol office and the site offices
41% of respondents had contact with their Housing Management Officer (HMO) during their first few weeks of residence and 43% had contact with their Residents’ Assistants in the same period.
Staff friendliness and helpfulness ratings scored well, maintaining last year’s high levels.
Satisfaction with Unipol Housing, facilities, amenities and security
All the ratings have increased since the 2015. Unipol’s own shared houses all saw satisfaction levels increase while managed houses saw a small fall in satisfaction, showing an increasingly demanding student market.
On fridge/freezer space in 2016 Unipol doubled fridge/freezer capacity at Grayson Heights and Carlton Hill and those ratings increased significantly.
All security ratings rose. The lowest satisfaction rating was with the presence of late night security. A new security contract is now in operation which should improve that service.
Happiness and Homeliness
Overall, happiness (a rating of 6.5) and homeliness (6.2) were high but had not risen since 2015. This may reflect a general trend appearing across a raft of research that students are less satisfied by their whole HEI experience than they were.
Maintenance and Repair Satisfaction
75% of tenants used the maintenance and repair service. Overall repair quality was rated at 76% but speed of response (5.7) and the communication of the repair time (5.4) need to improve in 2017.
Transport and environmental concerns
10% of respondents in 2016 had a car with them in Leeds and 11% had a bicycle. 47% of tenants now have dedicated secure bike storage and we are continuing to fit bike bins in our shared houses where possible.
35% of our tenants did not have energy included in their rent but of those, 64% would prefer to have it included - so we’re working on that for 2017-2018.
Where energy was included in the rent 25% of tenants said they paid £4-£7 per week and 15% said they paid £7-£10 per week. Both these groups are probably accurate and have a real grasp on their energy costs.
So what have we learnt?
Four key areas are highlighted:
recently refurbished properties score very highly. A few managed properties are lower than the average and we’re weeding out the lower quality stock (even if it is cheaper) and concentrating only on higher quality (but still good value) housing.
we need to improve how our Housing Management Officers communicate with our tenants, with more repair information and follow-up calls to check
we need to improve the recording and monitoring of repairs and obtaining feedback from tenants
we need to continue investing in our properties, keeping them at the highest standard possible and continue to invest in better insulation to increase sustainability and lower energy costs.
Changes are coming. Thanks to this survey, we’re able to pick up on tenants’ issues and help solve them.
You said, we did
We plan to make some changes across the portfolio, such as:
in Mill Street - (by September 2016) fitting smart TVs in each lounge area, a new lobby lounge and new sofas (completed by December 2016) and curtains at Mill Street
continuing to invest in providing the very best shared student housing: maintaining character, improving insulation and energy awareness, good furnishing - so that tenants can live in a comfortable and unique environment to suit their tastes
having a greater focus on recycling facilities
increasing fridge/freezer capacity and efficiency
installing brighter and more energy efficient lighting (already installed in parts of Mill Street, Alexander Court, New York Buildings and Carlton Hill).
a big thank you to all of our tenants who gave us their views - we really appreciate that. This has enabled is to focus our resources more precisely on what tenants want and to discover where things need to improve. Next year’s survey takes place in January 2017 - if you are a Unipol tenant, tell us your views and help shape your not for profit housing.