New report analyses impact of Covid-19 pandemic on social landlords in Scotland
The Social Housing Resilience Group (SHRG) has published a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social landlords in Scotland.
Using data social landlords provided to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) each month during 2020/21, the report aims to help build as full a picture as possible of that impact, alongside information about the impact on social landlords across the UK.
As the country went into lockdown on the 23 March 2020, social landlords responded immediately to protect and support their tenants and communities, mobilising to ensure they could continue to deliver essential services.
The report highlights that the pandemic, and the public health measures to tackle it, impacted significantly on the social landlords, with increases in rent arrears, longer timescales for letting empty homes, and an increase in the number of people in temporary accommodation. The report also found that rent increases halved in comparison to 2019-20.
Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), and chair of SHRG, said: “In March 2020, landlords moved quickly to protect their tenants and their communities, and we have seen a tremendous level of resilience in how they have navigated the pandemic. We are pleased to have worked with Scotland’s Housing Network and Housemark Scotland to produce this report, which will help social landlords and others make evidence-based decisions as they continue striving to provide good quality, affordable housing nationwide.”
The SHRG worked with Scotland’s Housing Network and Housemark Scotland to produce a review of the information from the monthly COVID-19 data returns from April 2020 to March 2021, with both organisations supplementing the data with the information they collected from their member landlords in Scotland and the UK. The report also uses information from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ quarterly members’ survey.
Kirsty Wells, head of Housemark Scotland, added: “One of the key challenges for social landlords as we emerge from the pandemic will be striking the right balance between making decisions now that enable them to move forward, whilst holding off on some that might have unintended consequences and be difficult to reverse. Our analysis has shown that using data to drive evidence-based decisions and take appropriate action is driving sector resilience. Housemark Scotland is pleased to make this analysis from our UK membership available to the wider sector to help landlords make decisions that make a difference.”
Andrea Finkel-Gates, chief executive of Scotland’s Housing Network, commented: “There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered the biggest global, universal shock in recent memory. We have seen that having the right data at the right time has been key to effective decision making throughout the crisis. We’re pleased to come together with our sector partners to help landlords understand the impact of the past 18 months and look towards the future.”