05 September 2008
Housing associations must step up their efforts to meet the needs of black and ethnic minority (BME) communities, the Housing Corporation has said.
Satisfaction levels among BME tenants are often lower than among tenants as a whole, a corporation study found, although this could be partly down to the fact that BME tenants tended to be younger. Not only are younger tenants more likely to aspire to be homeowners, but they also show a stronger desire for choice over where they live.
But there are important differences between BME groups, said the report, with Asian tenants generally more willing to carry out their own repairs while black tenants tended to push their landlord harder to do the work.
Associations should recognise that the demand by BME families for larger homes might be due to cultural differences, including the need for segregation between men and women, as well as the fact that they have larger families. Some women could not admit male housing workers into their home unless their husband was present, the report added.
While it was not necessarily the duty of housing associations to provide multicultural services such as language support, these could help to build a better relationship with tenants and avoid landlords appearing faceless.
'Without rapport and trust, the landlord can appear too distant and too disinterested, and this can cause a breakdown in communication that manifests itself in lower satisfaction levels,' said the study, published on August 28.