Social housing tenants need reassurance on decarbonising their homes, new research says

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Image by Sovereign Housing

Although most social housing tenants recognise that action is needed, few see the need to act now to limit the carbon footprint of their homes, according to new research by Sovereign Housing.

In response, the housing association will be increasing engagement with tenants as they embark on a major programme of strategic asset management to meet their net zero targets.

Social tenants who took part in the research recognise the need for action on climate change, although many were surprised to learn about the massive carbon footprint of the UK’s housing stock.

While some welcome the prospect of home improvements to reduce the impact of their home on the environment, others are sceptical that landlords will deliver for existing homes. According to the research, there is a particular anxiety that taking homes off gas will leave them cold or unaffordable to run on electricity.

When it comes to their own properties, tenants want to limit upheaval and older tenants are reluctant to move out, even temporarily. Works to homes must be quality and homes put back as they were, after retrofitting.

Speaking at the launch of the research on 17 May, Tom Titherington, Chief Investment and Development Officer of Sovereign, stated: “I’m really encouraged by this – our customers’ attitudes to climate change are the same as most of us: we’ve each got a part to play in reducing the impact we have on the planet so let’s get on with it.

“But I am also really glad we have taken the time to really understand what people are thinking. We are about to embark on a major programme of development, retrofitting and replacement, and we are doing that with open eyes.

“We haven’t got to go out there and explain from scratch about why climate change matters and what that’s got to do with oil and gas. But we have got to make the case to individual homeowners that changes to their home will make a difference. They rightly want to be reassured that their homes will be warmer and their bills lower before they are persuaded of anything else.”

Sovereign will be setting out a detailed response to the research, commissioned from independent research providers Solutions.

The ‘Retrofit for the future: tenant attitudes to decarbonising social housing’-report is available on the Sovereign website.