The Centre for Responsible Credit, with funding from the Money Advice Service What Works? Fund, is trialling a programme of ‘supported rent flexibility’ with social housing tenants with dependent children in London and the South East.
Prior research indicates that low income families face reasonably predictable pressures on their budgets at various points in the year, such as at Christmas and during the school holidays. These pressures often lead to rent arrears or to people taking out expensive forms of credit.
‘Supported rent flexibility’ seeks to offer families an alternative. We will be working with tenants of Amicus Horizon who have a recent history of rent payment problems in order to identify their financial pressure points and offering individualised schedules of rent payments (allowing over and under-payments in various months to be agreed with the tenant) to help smooth these out.
The project is undertaking a randomised control trial with over three hundred tenants of Amicus Horizon to determine:
- The impact of supported rent flexibility on rent arrears, and arrears collection costs;
- Whether or not providing supported rent flexiblity improves the financial well-being of tenants; and
- The overall costs and benefits of the approach.
We are currently in the initial stages of the project, and will be undertaking focus groups with tenants later this month to determine the precise offer that will be made.
We will be presenting further details of the project and reporting on the response from the focus group at the CfRC conference on 28th February. Join us there to find out more.