Leeds Tenant Satisfaction Survey 2018 - How Did We Do?

14/08/2018

Each year, as a not for profit housing provider, Unipol conducts an independent Tenant Satisfaction Survey to see what our tenants think of our accommodation. This is a really important piece of work and tells us what we are (hopefully) doing well and what we need to do better.

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.

Overall satisfaction ratings from our tenants (who rate their service as good or high) remain good and in 2018 it is great that they have reached 82%. 

 

Who Responded?

The response rate of the 2018 survey was 38.6%, up from 34.3% in 2017 (easily high enough to be statistically valid). 38% of respondents were from Leeds Beckett University, 33% were from the University of Leeds, 9% from Leeds College of Music and 4% from Leeds Arts University.

81% were home students, the others being international and 82.6% were also undergraduates with the remainder postgraduates.

 

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The Renting Process and Moving In

Overall satisfaction with the moving in process was 84%.

The largest proportion of tenants rented their accommodation in person from the Unipol Leeds office, with the next largest cohort (22%) renting online.

53.3% of tenants viewed their property before renting it, and 46.7% did not. 

The satisfaction levels have generally sustained last year's increases, maintaining their levels above those observed in 2016.

First Point of Contact, the Unipol Office and the Site Offices

45% of respondents had contact with their Housing Management Officer (HMO) during their first few weeks of residence, and 45.5% had contact with their Residents’ Assistants in the same period.

Of particular note is the friendliness of staff with a satisfaction rating of 84-90%.

 

 

Socials

Tenants continued to enjoy the organised social events and these are clearly of benefit to many, with 79.9% agreeing that they helped in forging new friendships at the beginning of the year. 

Satisfaction with Unipol Housing, Facilities, Amenities and Security

Overall the ratings for external apperances have increased this year, and ratings for awareness of security issues shows evidence of trending upwards over recent years. 

Satisfaction at Royal Park Flats rose considerably on the back on the University visiting patrol.

It is pleasing to see that the ratings on fire safety have remained stable or generally improved in the context of heightened awareness of fire safety post-Grenfell.

The three areas that stand out as providing most respondent satisfaction in 2018 are the desk, the bed and the sofa.

In 2017 Unipol replaced all the standard chairs in Alexander Court with an up-market Operator Chair, and it is pleasing to see that satisfaction has increased this year to 7.2. 

2018-19 will see the same upgrade at New York Street and Royal Park Flats, and desk chairs in smaller houses will be reviewed. 

Mill Street

22% of students have been using the gym weekly this year, compared with 30% using weekly in 2017. The gym will need refitting in 2019, and it is likely that some space will be made as a games area.

90% of respondents thought the free “grab bag” breakfast at Mill Street was a good idea, up from 88% in 2017, and satisfaction with the breakfast was rated at 73%.

Maintenance and Repair Satisfaction

77% of respondents used the maintenance and repair service, up from 75% in 2017.

This was a main area of focus last year and so 2018 struggled to maintain the high score in Leeds. Ratings in Nottingham improved, however, and remained high at Doris Birdsall. 

 

 

 

 

Transport

11% of respondents in 2018 had a car with them in Leeds (down from 12% last year) and 9% had a bicycle. 51% of respondents reported that they stored their bike in the storage provided, which is the highest rating ever, so we will continue to fit secure bike bins wherever possible.

Energy Awareness

After last year's results indicating that 60% would prefer to have their energy included in their rent, 70% of respondents now pay for energy within their rent. 

When asked how much they paid for energy, the largest group, 32%, said they paid between £4-£7 and 16% said they paid between £7-£10. Both these groups are probably accurate and have a real grasp on their energy costs.

So What Have we Learnt?

As we get better and try to keep rents down, significant improvement is harder:

  • Greater attention to detail will be given to cleaning between tenancies, and work will be done to more accurately set expectations for students before moving in day.
  • Ratings on managed properties should improve in 2018-2019 because a number of poorer quality managed properties are leaving the portfolio

  • Many of the washer/drier ratings were down reflecting older machines. This will be addressed over June and July 2018 with the installation of new machines throughout the portfolio

  • At Garden House the comfort of the desk chair needs to be addressed.

  • Maintenance and repairs will be an area of focus in the next year, and processes should organically become more streamlined with the roll-out of the Tenant Portal later this year.
  • We need to improve recycling facilities wherever we can - sometimes this depends on how the Local Authority collects the waste, but we can do more by providing in-house recycling bins so rubbish can be easily separated.

A few specific improvements we will make in this next year:

a) The kitchen refit program at Mill Street was delayed and will start in 2018 across the next two years. Fridge/freezer capacity for flats with 5 students will be increased as part of this work.

b) New curtains are being installed for Mill Street ground floor flats. 

c) At Alexander Court heating systems and TRV valves need to be checked and better instructions given on the use of heating.

d) New curtains will be fitted in Mill Street on the ground floor

e) New washer/driers will be installed where necessary across the portfolio.

f) Operator desk chairs will replace the existing chairs at New York Street and Royal Park Flats.

Finally

A big thank you to all of our tenants who gave us their views - we really appreciate the time spent on this feedback. 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 February 2019 - if you are a Unipol tenant, tell us your views and help shape your not-for-profit housing.