Dealing with former tenant debt: A case study

Coastal Housing Group

“We didn’t expect it to be so good” says Cornwall Housing about the Former Tenant Debt solution from Housing Partners

Over the past few months Housing Partners have been working closely with Cornwall Housing on a unique solution to recover former tenant debt on their oldest debt. This consists of debt that is five or six years old, as after six years the debt becomes statute barred and is no longer recoverable.

When we first sat down with Cornwall Housing, the age of the debts in question was widely believed to mean that they were in fact, ‘dead money’. Here’s what happened next, in Paul Oxford, Finance Manager at Cornwall Housing’s own words:

“We asked Housing Partners to visit us as we were looking at alternative ways to increase our income streams concerning our former tenant arrears (FTA). After a really productive and insightful meeting with them we agreed to look at 500 FTA cases that we had returned from our current supplier after they could not be traced and we were therefore, left with no alternative than to pass these for write-offs.

“However, we received our first file back from Housing Partners with details of names, traced addresses and a propensity to collect the debt that we were able to follow up on – this led to us contacting some individuals by phone and some by letter.

“Over the next few months instalment plans and payments have been coming in on a regular basis,” said Paul, who went on to add: “The return on investment we have received to date has been fantastic. We have collected nearly 2 ½ times what we have invested, and this is growing every day.

“Housing Partners has had a real positive effect on our Former Tenant Arrears collection rate, as well as increasing our income stream. We would most likely have written these debts off had we not worked in partnership with them.”

Lisa Howarth, Income Housing Manager at Cornwall Housing commented “I’m delighted with the results, we didn’t expect it to be so good. We are now looking at using Housing Partners to help us collect other areas of former tenant debt”.

Greg Andrews, Head of Customer Operations at Housing Partners commented “The process is still ongoing for Cornwall Housing, with another 130 records in which investigations have recently begun.

“We’re thrilled to have already recovered over twice the cost of the records for Cornwall Housing’s former tenant debt, with their expectation that in the next few weeks the recovery will be three times that of the initial cost. We very much look forward to working closely with them as investigations progress.”

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