Smaller housing associations across Scotland perform much better than larger ones on key Charter indicators, according to a new report from Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.
The report, produced for GWSF by Scotland’s Housing Network, shows that the smallest associations relet homes three times more quickly than the largest, do repairs twice as quickly and have only two-thirds of the rent arrears.
Their rents are also lower – partly a result of lower debt but also, the report shows, because of efficiencies such as much lower void rent loss.
GWSF Chair Peter Howden said:
“In highlighting these findings we’re not doing down larger associations – indeed we have some in our membership. The strength of Scotland’s housing association sector is its very diversity – there’s room for us all.
“But smaller associations are proud of how efficiently and effectively they provide services, and we do want to emphasise this to those in and outwith our sector who sometimes claim that there are ‘too many small housing associations’. It’s not clear what they think is the problem or who they think is being harmed.
“This isn’t the first report that has concluded something similar, but it does sometimes seem that those who look down on smaller associations aren’t going to let the facts get in the way of a good opinion.
“An obvious influencing factor behind the findings is the benefits of being local. If all your stock is within a short distance then it’s not a surprise to see that these landlords have highly responsive services. But it makes it all the more curious that anyone would want to criticise associations for being small: if a private landlord had 500 homes it would be seen as an empire”.