SHI Responses to Tenant Loss of Income

Recently NASHO staff polled their membership to understand how Social Housing Institutions (SHIs) deal with tenants who lose some or all their income. Of the 10 SHIs that responded, 9 reported that they have a grace period for rent payment during financial duress. The grace periods offered by the SHIs for deferred or forgiven rent were usually for a 3-month period, although one SHI offered a longer grace period of up to 6-months. Below is a list of various approaches used by the SHIs to assist tenants who suffered income loss:

– Deferred rent, usually within a written agreement and Terms and Conditions;

– Forgive a portion of the of the outstanding rent amount;

– The SHIs seek the Municipal Expanded Social Grant or Indigency funds, if they exist;

– Allow other family members to join a tenancy, thereby increasing household income;

– Several SHIs created social relief grants, but a strict screening process is applied;

– Permanent rent reductions, particularly for seniors when one of the leaseholders dies;

– Help to seek new employment through staff interventions and referrals to partner organisations;

– At least 1 SHI hired tenants to fill vacancies when income loss occurred, thereby filling vacant positions, preventing rental loss and securing the household’s tenure;

– Downsize the tenant to a smaller, more affordable unit;

– Helps families to access food support programmes like Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Add Hope Programme that provides nutritious meals to 120,000 children each day across the country;

NASHO thanks all respondents and hopes this information is helpful to our members and other institutions interested in the Social Housing business.