TENANT BONUS SCHEME
In 2001 Blochairn became the first housing organisation in Glasgow to introduce a Bonus Scheme for tenants. Since 2001, nearly £220,000 has been returned to tenants in bonuses and £18,000 won in the Monthly Prize Draw.
Originally called the 'Tenant Incentive Scheme', tenants didn’t connect with that name (no wonder!). It was changed to the 'Good Neighbour Fund' but tenants who didn’t receive the Bonus were unhappy because it implied that they were “bad” neighbours (which they weren’t!). So, in 2018, it was revamped again and called, simply, the 'Tenant Bonus Scheme'.
The Christmas Bonus is £75 cash and there is a Monthly Prize Draw with two £50 prizes. To get the Christmas Bonus and be in the Monthly Prize Draw tenants must be keeping to their Tenancy Agreement and otherwise be behaving reasonably.
The Bonus Scheme helps the Association to provide a first class service and a pleasant living environment because it encourages residents to work together. It sets the scene but only residents themselves; together with their neighbours, can make the real and lasting difference to their community. It is important that our tenants live in a place that they are happy in and proud to say we come from.
The Bonus is not a legal right. Administering the system can be difficult. There has to be a subjective assessment about whether someone is keeping to the terms of the Tenancy Agreement and otherwise behaving reasonably. That isn’t always easy. A property might look great but only one or two people in the close are doing the work. Or, the property might look terrible but only one or two are really trying and putting the effort in. When staff want everyone to receive a Christmas Bonus, telling someone a few weeks before Christmas that it can’t be paid can be distressing.
In 2018 we tried a new system where we asked residents to tell us whether they
1. had kept to the terms of their Tenancy Agreement
2. felt they had contributed to the wellbeing of their community
3. wanted to receive the Christmas Bonus
It might sound radical. But we trusted residents to be honest. If there were doubts we would discuss them.
We asked tenants to think about whether
- their home was kept in reasonable condition with a reasonable standard of hygiene and cleanliness
- paint was on radiators, fans, light fittings or kitchen units
- the rent account is clear or were they keeping to an arrangement and co-operating to deal with problems
- debts are outstanding, e.g. rechargeable repairs, or were they keeping to an arrangement
- front gardens and backcourts are tidy and free of litter
- bin stores are clean and tidy
- refuse is bagged and placed into the bins
- bulk refuse is dealt with properly
- stairs and closes are clean, tidy and free of litter; brushed and washed regularly and walls, banisters and windows clean
- bags of rubbish, boots, shoes, etc. are left outside the door
- prams, bikes, scooters, etc. are lying around
- repairs are reported and access made available
- the Gas Safety Service done on time
- graffiti is cleaned or reported
- children are causing a problem for other residents. Or are they helpful, thoughtful and considerate towards their neighbours? Do they drop litter?
- pets are causing a nuisance. Are they fouling common areas?
- our staff treated reasonably. Are they threatened or abused?
Of our 285 tenants, 201 (70%) returned their questionnaire. Only 3 were refused a bonus payment. So, 198 (69%) tenants received a £75 bonus. The new way of working was well received so we’ll look to use the same procedure for Christmas 2019.