Social housing tenants constitute a demographic of people that rely on the provision of subsidised housing, not only to meet their basic needs but also to act as a platform for their aspirations and access to social mobility. There are a number of socioeconomic factors which affect the lives of social housing tenants, none more so than the presence or absence of financial literacy.
Financial literacy is the possession of a set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to effectively use financial resources to make decisions.
When a tenant is operating with poor financial literacy, their decision making is impaired, this leads to choices that result in debt and default, as essential bills are left inadequately prepared for.
The effects of poor financial literacy are blighting the lives of the most vulnerable in our society – people who are most likely to be residents of social housing.
Economic uncertainty affects the most vulnerable in our society. The externalities of these issues are felt by tenants and social landlords alike, as income inequality, increases in the use of zero hours contract and rises in personal and household debt, have seen the average social housing tenant’s capacity to meet their financial needs in a consistent manner reduce significantly. The tools available to the landlords of these tenants are restricted in nature, reach and effectiveness, meaning that occurrences of rent arrears overwhelming result in litigation.
83% of social housing residents fail to make sufficient plans for their financial future, and as many as 94% are making poor financial choices. 81% have no savings account, 91% have no insurance cover, and 20% have made use of doorstep lenders. Social housing accounts for half of the poorest 10% of households in the UK while, 61% of social housing households have nobody within the home working – compared to 35% nationally.
The regrettable decision to evict tenants that are in default as a result of sustained non-payment and non-compliance incurs significant monetary costs upon social housing landlords. These costs include, but are not limited to, litigation costs – many of which are unrecoverable – in addition to the time that members of social landlord staff spend attending eviction hearings and chasing recurring debt.
BFD addresses the challenges faced by social landlords caused by the rising indebtedness of tenants, and the subsequent eviction – related costs. BFD improves the financial capability and Financial Literacy of tenants in a manner that is effective and sustainable, whilst yielding results that we are able to track and evidence to the social housing landlords we work with.
The provision of access to effective financial literacy education is of mutual benefit to social housing residents and landlords. Our outreach and education platform enables residents to identify and eradicate the causes of their debt, imparting within the tools required to navigate the landscape unique to their socioeconomic circumstances. This in turn provides social landlords with benefits that are immediately apparent in rent collection, significant savings in litigation costs, more effective deployment of human resources, reduced tenancy turnover, and a higher standard of living amongst their tenancy population.
Social housing landlords already commit significant resources in order to provide a supportive interface with their tenants, centred on debt issues. The available data shows that the current approach is being outstripped by need, and this is compounded by the unforeseen and unprecedented shocks that our economy has experienced in recent times. These are having a disproportionate effect on the current provision of debt support and financial literacy education, causing it to not be effective or efficient enough to meet the needs of any of the stakeholders.
The BFD platform allows us to address a large-scale problem with the attention to detail that each individual tenant and their circumstances require.
We deploy proprietary software through the BFD app and website, to assess the needs of each individual. We engage with each resident through the app, webinars, one-on-one coaching, and a tailored curriculum which will tangibly improve residents financial decision-making and management of finances, all in a manner that can be evidenced.
As former tenants of social housing, the management team at BFD is committed to effecting change in the lives of social housing tenants. The aim is that they too have a platform from which they can access social mobility, and enjoy long-lasting relationships with their housing providers.
We seek to be brought in to engage with tenants that are displaying key indicators of being in danger of falling into arrears.
We are especially effective in cases in which litigation has already commenced against tenants that are in arrears, or those that are in arrears and non-compliant with payment plans.
Rather than incurring the costs associated with instructing solicitors, the commencement of possession proceedings, and other sunk evicition-related costs, our engagement can result in the recovery of rent.
Our engagement reduces tenancy turnover by addressing the shortcomings in the financial literacy of tenants and the impaired decisions gaps in their capabilities are likely to cause.
Importantly, our engagement also identifies tenants who are more likely to cause ongoing compliance issues, thus providing landlords with the data to take decisions data evidenced and can be used in future litigation.
Make contact with those that demonstrate the relevant indicators
Deploy the training and tools specific to individual need through our app, engagement channels and face-to-face functionality
Sustained monitoring and progress review, culminating in ‘graduation’ and recognition of tenant’s accomplishment
Krystle is a Chartered Management Accountant and has a degree in Financial Mathematics. Krystle is experienced within financial planning and analysis and is the founder of Moneytelligence.
Krystle is dedicated to improving the financial capability and literacy of underprivileged groups with the aim of creating financial stability.
Paul has worked in asset finance and real estate since graduating from the University of Durham in 2004, where he read Business Finance and Economics.
Paul is passionate about the role that technology and big data can play in providing solutions to corporate problems as well as enhancing the lives of the disadvantaged.