The housing data specialist’s figures also show that complaint volumes have risen by almost a fifth

Less than half of social landlords (45%) have achieved 100% gas safety compliance, according to a survey of social landlords by Housemark.

Gas boiler

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Though the majority of social homes (99.98%) had an up-to-date gas safety certificate at the end of March 2024, only 45% of social landlords recorded 100% gas safety compliance across their portfolios.

On average, 99.98% of all social homes had an up-to-date gas safety certificate as of 31 March.. However, this means around 1,000 social homes across the UK did not comply with gas safety regulations at the end of March.

Housemark is jointly owned by the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing and has 350 housing provider members. Data for the most recent pulse survey was collected for the month of March, from 169 social landlords.

While housing providers have improved performance on gas safety in the past 12 months, with a higher percentage of landlords (45%) reporting 100% compliance, this figure is still down from the 69% of landlords at full compliance in 2019.

In 2022/23, just 41% of landlords reported full gas safety compliance.

The report highlighted that factors such as “the complexity of market conditions, the pandemic hangover and the asset management challenges faced by the sector” are affecting landlords’ compliance rates.

John Wickenden, research manager at Housemark said: “Our qualitative data from landlords also highlights that additional barriers to gas safety checks have emerged as a result of fuel poverty.

”Gas engineers are finding more tenants with no money on the gas meter. This further indicator of the cost-of-living crisis is revealing new risks and vulnerabilities at a time when support agencies are at breaking point.”

The latest pulse survey has also revealed that there has been a slight fall in the proportion of repairs completed within the target time, from 87% in December 2023 to 83% in March this year.

According to Housemark’s 2023/24 data, there has been an 18% increase in complaints, with a UK-wide average of 51.3 stage one and two complaints per 1,000 properties. In the previous period (2022/23), social landlords received an average of 43.5 complaints per 1,000 properties.

The survey report notes that with the English Housing Ombudsman effectively banning ‘informal’ complaint recording, landlords must decide whether contact is an expression of dissatisfaction or a service request.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, landlords have been operating without an ‘informal’ category for several years, which is reflected in the country’s comparatively higher complaint volumes.

The majority of informal complaints are now likely to be added to English landlords’ formal complaint volumes as the new mandatory complaint-handling code came into force at the start of April.

Housemark has said that for some landlords, this will mean fielding and recording thousands more formal complaints, which will undoubtedly have a further impact on capacity and low satisfaction (34%) with complaint handling.

On landlords’ use of digital methods to contact customers, Housemark noted that while average digital contact has surpassed 1 in 3 interactions at points in the year, “we now see a shift towards a range of channels for delivering services”.

>> See also: Social housing providers ‘not yet ready for Ombudsman’s complaint-handling code’ says Housemark

>> See also: Scottish housing association reprimanded for data breach

The report notes that “digital gains” made during the pandemic are not holding up “against a backdrop of declining satisfaction”.

According to Housemark, gaps in data are contributing to a limited understanding of tenants’ needs and preferences, affecting the successful implementation of digital initiatives.

The report noted that some larger landlords are scaling back their digitalisation agenda and focusing on gaining better insights into tenants’ preferred methods of contact.

Furthermore, the report mentioned that “digital-by-choice” is replacing “digital-by-default” as landlords with comprehensive customer data begin to recognise the satisfaction benefits of tailored digital approaches.

On the latest survey, Wickenden said: “It is really encouraging to be able to highlight improved performance from housing providers on some key safety areas that will be reflected in Tenant Satisfaction Measures for 2023/24.

He added: “Our data clearly shows that whilst some metrics are improving, current headwinds and post pandemic recovery are still highlighting areas for improvement. For instance, in 2019, Housemark data showed that over two-thirds of landlords recorded 100% compliance with gas safety, now it is fewer than half.”