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Reports from social landlords of anti-social behaviour surge during COVID-19

Reports of anti-social behaviour have increased by 43% since March, the latest COVID-19 impact monitoring report by Housemark has revealed.

The membership organisation, which is owned by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation, said: "In part this is due to seasonal peaks in ASB expected during warmer weather, but UK-wide the pandemic and resulting confinement has created an additional 200 ASB cases per day.

"This increase in workload combined with a reduction in ASB spend of over 14% in the last five years creates a perfect storm for front-line teams dealing with anti-social behaviour."

Other findings from the report included that:

  • Arrears increased a further 3.3% in May. This was much lower than the increase seen in March (5%) and April (10%). By the end of the month average sector arrears stood at 3.37%, up from 3.27% in April. “This lower than expected increase in May masks significant variation within individual landlords,” Housemark said. “Concerns remain of further increases once the government’s job retention scheme ends.”
  • 70% of landlords expect to have resumed a full responsive repairs service and major works by the end of July. Housemark estimates a backlog of 1.5 million non-emergency repairs built up by the end of May.
  • Lettings activity recovered 82% in May compared to the previous month, but still remained at only a third of the level that would normally be expected at this time of year. “Without significant focus from landlords to re-start standard void works and let empty homes quickly, we forecast an average end of year void loss position of 2.34% of the annual rent due, double the 1.14% we would have expected without the pandemic.”
  • 89.6% of gas safety checks due in May were completed within target, down from 91.2% in April. "As safety checks are generally spread throughout the year, overall gas safety compliance across all properties remains above 99%. However, it’s clear that landlords are finding it harder to complete gas safety checks as performance against their own targets is down 1.6% from last month. Access to homes continues to be a significant challenge during lockdown."

The executive summary for the report can be viewed here. The full report is available to Housemark members.

Housemark’s chief executive, Laurice Ponting, said: “We have seen data play a vital role across so many elements of tackling the coronavirus crisis, both in how it has helped our understanding of the pandemic and how it has shaped the response of policymakers. It is no surprise that we are seeing landlords look more closely at data to assess impact and plan for the future.  This is why we have responded by providing a monthly assessment of the ongoing impact of the pandemic across the sector.

“The three-month picture suggests that performance is stabilising across key indicators such as arrears and lettings activity, and that the sector has entered a period of recovery, but there is still uncertainty ahead from the end of the Government’s job retention scheme, Brexit and an unpredictable prognosis for ongoing control of the virus.

“As executives and boards revisit business plans to make strategic trade off decisions for recovery and mitigate this uncertainty, external, unbiased evidence to support decision making is crucial. Our COVID-19 solutions will continue to equip our members with the insights they need to make the best possible business decisions at this critical time.”

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