A warm welcome to your February newsletter from Thrive
It’s been a busy start to 2024 for the Thrive team as we gear up for what the year ahead brings.
This includes changes to a few services, new regulations from the Government, as well as how we will be continuing to invest in our homes.
As there’s a lot to cover, I’ve broken these down into sections so you can easily find what interests you below.
If you haven’t already, remember to take a look at our newsletter too. There you can learn more about the upcoming rent increase, sign up to have a say on our repair timescales and locate safety information for your building and much more!
We want to make sure we update you on things that matter to you. So, if there’s something you’d like to hear about in our May edition, please let us know!
Wishing you a thriving year ahead,
Investing in our homes and buildings
This year, we plan to continue investing in our homes to make sure they remain safe and well maintained to a decent standard. This includes fitting new kitchens and bathrooms as well as carrying out upgrades that improve the energy efficiency of your home. This might include adding more insulation, installing a new heating system, or even replacing your windows.
Last year we spent £5.1million improving our homes, and we’re pleased to see this making a difference to our customers:
“Our home is a lot warmer now. Before the new windows were installed, you could see the curtains moving as a result of the wind coming through. I can now leave the heating off for a long time and still stay warm at home.”
Rising costs of products, materials and services across the UK continue to impact us. Last year we faced a 9.7% rise in costs, and we expect more this year. It’s important we meet the standards as set out in the Thrive Deal, so there will be a 7.7% rent increase from 1 April 2024. If you pay service charges, these will also change in line with the cost to provide services to your home.
Our HomePlan visits and Stock Condition Surveys help us to plan these works wisely. If you are a tenant, and we contact you with one of these appointments, please let us know if you need to change it. Missed appointments cost us thousands of pounds and we’d rather invest this money into our homes.
Changes to our services
We’re always listening to your feedback and looking at ways to improve our services.
Previously, you may have received a HomePlan visit each year in addition to other routine appointments such as gas safety checks and any repairs you need. We know it can be tricky finding time to be at home for all these appointments, so we are looking at how we can get the most out of our appointments to reduce the number of times we need to visit you each year.
We’ll share more information about this change in the spring and remember, you can contact us all year round to talk to us about your home or account.
Out of hours call centre
We’ve chosen a new out of hours call centre to answer emergency calls when our offices are closed. We always check that we are paying a fair price for the services we use. We also make sure that anyone we work with meets our standards. You can trust that our new service will handle your emergency repair call quickly and professionally once they takeover in March.
Cleaning and grounds maintenance
It’s been a year since you voted to keep the same cleaning service for another 12 months to avoid a rise in costs. This means it’s now time to start looking at what the future of the service looks like. We recognise that it hasn’t been meeting the standard we’d like and we know that you feel the same about our grounds maintenance service too.
Thank you for your patience whilst our team trialled changes throughout the year such as employing new cleaners, claiming refunds for missed visits and increasing site inspections. Whilst this made a small improvement, we now want to take more action which could mean choosing a new contractor for both the cleaning and grounds maintenance services.
It’s important you’re involved with any changes so we can make sure we are providing a fair service that meets our standards.
We’ll be working with Thrive Customer Voice members on this in March. To get involved, sign up become a member now at: thrivehomes.org.uk/getinvolved
We want to be open with you about the length of time it takes to get an appointment for different types of repairs.
This is where we need your help! We’re holding a couple of sessions for you to come and help us set out reasonable timescales and the best way to share this with customers.
- Tuesday 27th February – 6-7pm
- Friday 1st March 11am – 12noon
Limited spaces available, book yours now!
Sign up to attend
The new Consumer Standards will be in place from April 2024, making sure that landlords provide safe homes, quality services, and that you have opportunities to have a say and be heard.
We have been planning what’s needed to be ready for the new standards for quite some time and have already started to introduce some of the changes.
This includes bringing in a set of questions (known at the Tenant Satisfaction Measures) for you to answer as part of our customer satisfaction surveys. We share our results with you on our website already, but we now have to send a copy to our regulator, too. Having your say has never been more powerful, so if you receive a call from our market research partner, please take a moment to take part in the survey.
You can take a look at our latest results by heading to: thrivehomes.org.uk/feedback
Safe & well
As part of the Consumer Standards, the Safety & Quality Standard will put landlords under greater scrutiny. It requires more transparency about the way damp and mould is dealt with, clear information about the repairs service and to fix issues in a timely manner.
We recognise there is room for improvement with our repairs service, and we have been working to monitor outstanding works as well as improving our communication to make sure we keep you informed and do what we say we will.