Improving the tenant experience – Best practice and European benchmarking

4 July 2024

Eurhonet’s mission centres on sharing knowledge to improve services for our tenants. Understanding tenants’ priorities and identifying effective steps to improve quality of life are therefore crucial to our work. At our recent Leadership Summit, hosted by Poplar HARCA in London, we explored the tenant experience through  European benchmarking and best practice sharing.

We began with the launch of the Eurhonet Benchmarking Report on tenant satisfaction. The report – exclusively produced for our members by AktivBo – helps pinpoint priority areas for improving tenant satisfaction and providers recommendations to drive our work forward.

“Tenant satisfaction is not a project; it’s the core activity,” stated Jon Svensson, CEO of AktivBo Group.

Natural meeting places and social activities

Our members are taking different steps to ensure tenant experience is always at the heart of our work. Dzejna Seta, Head of Communications at Varbergs Bostad (Sweden), introduced their concept ‘Life between the blocks’.

Seta emphasised that an attractive residential area encompasses both housing and social opportunities. Varbergs Bostad invests in social activities to foster a sense of community, reduce loneliness and exclusion, and improve quality of life.

Creating natural meeting places, such as inviting green spaces, greenhouses, orchards, and allotments, facilitates interaction among people of all ages. Additionally, Varbergs Bostad offers a robust program of social activities, ranging from family days and sports events to the ‘Neighbour of the Year’ award.

Photo: Varbergs Bostad

The power of humour

Effective communication between housing providers and tenants also impacts how people feel about their homes and their role in the community. Fabrice Barbe, CEO of Vosgelis (France), discussed how a communication strategy can redefine the tenant experience. Vosgelis uses humour to connect with residents, build a sense of community, and create an approachable image.

Through witty and engaging communications, Vosgelis involves tenants in the conversation. The housing provider is known for creating comic videos to convey important messages, which also engages employees. The Eurhonet benchmarking report highlighted the importance and interlinking nature of tenant satisfaction and employee satisfaction. Involving colleagues from different departments in videos and other communication materials helps to create a strong team.

Image: Vosgelis

Social value in large scale re-development projects

Improving the quality of life for our tenants requires integrating social value into development plans from the outset. An inspiring case study showcased the redevelopment of Poplar HARCA’s Teviot estate. The ambitious project aims to generate £250 million in social value through a contractual agreement with the development company.

Andrew van Doorn from HACT highlighted that understanding the local community’s needs is essential for maximising social impact. Resident involvement in Teviot was integral from the start, with independent advisors supporting residents in identifying key priorities: better homes, green spaces, safer streets, and maintaining a close-knit community feel.

Partnerships to achieve ambitious aims

Achieving ambitious goals for our neighbourhoods often requires partnerships with housebuilders, developers, and institutional investors. “Partnerships are about using resources more effectively to deliver more of the outcomes we want,” explained Catherine Raynsford from The Hyde Group (UK).

Raynsford provided examples of how partnerships have expanded The Hyde Group’s capacity to build homes, lower energy costs for tenants, and reduce environmental impact. Creating successful partnerships may sometimes require ‘refocusing’ organisations to leverage expertise and skills for community benefit. It is therefore essential to ask: what can the partner organization help us achieve, and what can we offer in return?

The recent Leadership Summit underscored that improving tenant satisfaction must be an ongoing commitment and involve a multifaceted approach. As housing providers, the tenant experience is our core activity. We look forward to continuing to share knowledge and best practice on improve the quality of life and wellbeing of our tenants.

Share via
Copy link