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22:04 on Tuesday
6 May 2003

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Switched on tenants want more Net and Text access

Increasing numbers of local people would welcome greater use of the Internet and mobile phone text messaging services when communicating with their landlord, according to a survey conducted by Peterborough-based Minster General Housing Association.

The survey Ė the latest in its Best Value rolling programme that gives tenants the chance to influence the Associationís delivery of services Ė reveals that many tenants would like to use Minsterís website for such things as checking their rent account, requesting repairs, submitting complaints and suggestions and making housing applications or house exchanges.

Among mobile phone users, 61 per cent said they would welcome text messages from Minster for things such as confirmation of timings for repairs and maintenance.

Minster chief executive Tim Hawkes said: ďThese research findings illustrate how valuable online services have become to many of the Associationís tenants. Around 19 million people in the UK now have access to the Internet, so we shall be examining ways to improve online services to our customers.Ē

The questionnaire, focusing on three issues within the third year of Best Value reviews, was distributed to 400 of Minsterís 1,700 tenants throughout the Peterborough, Kingís Lynn, Northampton, Stamford and Lincoln area. It sought to assess their level of participation in the Associationís management, their views on complaints procedures and their satisfaction with the Associationís services.

More than two-thirds of respondents (69 per cent) thought that Minster should operate a loyalty or incentive system to reward good tenants who pay their rent promptly and keep their homes in good repair.

Suggestions ranged from rent reductions in proportion to the Associationís savings on maintenance work to shopping vouchers and a simple letter of thanks.

The survey revealed that 70 per cent of respondents are very or fairly satisfied with their involvement with decisions that affect their home or neighbourhood while 28 per cent would like to be more involved. However, 58 per cent had never been to annual housing forums organised by Minster and 20 per cent had been to only one meeting in recent years.

Ninety per cent were very or fairly satisfied with the services they receive from Minster with reporting minor repairs and maintenance the largest single reason for tenant complaints. However, more than half (54 per cent) of respondents were very or fairly satisfied with the way the Association handled their complaints.

July 2002




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