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  • Zach Cook

How Social Housing Landlords can do right by your tenants through connected device technology

While the perfect home and milieu might not always be attainable in social housing, it is often a compliance report that give us a much needed push. It also serves as a timely reminder that we can always do more to improve the services provided to our tenants in our social housing associations.

The latest Consumer Regulation Review, published on 22 Sept 2020, by the Regulator of Social Housing, found 15 cases that were in serious detriment and breached the guidelines set out by the UK Government. Classifying the findings as ‘lessons learnt’, all private and local authority providers have been advised to read and reflect on them. We have no doubt that you and your team over at your Social Housing Association work tirelessly to ensure that your tenants are safe in their homes. We have no doubt that you constantly strive to provide the best possible service. This report, however, raises the question as to whether there is scope for further improvement.

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act of 2018 hit all social housing associations like a bolt of lightning, and many are still reeling from its effects. And since March 2020, this has been applied to all existing tenancies with terms of seven years or less. Issues with drains, damp and natural light are to be dealt with immediately. Tenants should also be given the appropriate degree of choice and protection, and be treated with fairness respecting their diverse needs. While, it is disappointing that these expectations have to be explicitly stated and that they are not established as norms already, we are not pretending to be experts in these areas. Where we can claim to be experts is the provision of ‘effective assurance on good quality data and reliable systems’.

If knowledge is power, then data is king

The report states, ‘Good quality data and reporting is a critical part of ensuring effective oversight of health and safety does not take place. It also enables providers to evidence compliance with the consumer standards.’ It explains in no uncertain terms that there are inadequate internal controls that monitor the measures put in place to manage risks effectively. Investment in specific remote monitoring technologies can, not only, supply the data but also monitor and mange the risk.

Our research in IoT began over half a decade ago, and since then we have seen the rise and fall of a number of market-ready products with tall claims of improving the management of your housing stock. The issue is often when cost takes precedence over quality, and when automation is given a narrow perception of reducing human participation. IoT (Internet of Things) is not just about automation. It is also about how that data can enable your social housing stock to provide better quality service. In a recent conversation with a social housing client who is currently running trials on our BCM: Connect device, he rightly remarked that the boiler is the most important element of the household and when it breaks, it doesn’t take long for the rest of the house to follow suit. So what role would data play in improving boiler efficiency?

How does Data improve boiler efficiency?

Connected Devices + Data management = happy tenants

Investing in connected device technology can help you gain intelligent boiler management data that can be interrogated and analysed for performance statistics. What’s more? It can even predict and identify common failure issues like low pressure, loss of gas etc. It can also pick up on damp and mould before they lurk into your tenant’s home. And we at Vericon, have innovated one such device that is believed to be the world’s first in Connected Boiler Management. Our BCM is a state of the art device that enables boilers to be interrogated and managed remotely which simplifies maintenance greatly. With an installation time of under ten minutes and no need for any specialist knowledge or tools, this device can greatly improve your tenant’s welfare and your peace of mind, and support your compliance regime.

If you would like to interested in finding out more, book for a friendly chat and a personalised webinar to experience everything that BCM: Connect can offer today.

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