Our goal is to be the best landlord in the Netherlands. This is why we gather effective tenant feedback and make it our goal to make sure they feel at home with Vesteda. A pleasant home, a smooth customer journey and clear and transparent communications all contribute to this. We believe that satisfied tenants are less likely to move and that they contribute to the well-being of other tenants, which in turn enhances social cohesion and the performance of our assets. Measuring tenant satisfaction is a valuable indicator for us, letting us know if we are on the right track and how we can improve our homes and services.
Once a year, we measure tenant satisfaction through a benchmark survey conducted by Customeyes. The score for overall tenant satisfaction is comparable to the Net Promoter Score, which is a method used to measure client loyalty. In 2022, in total 12 residential investors in the Netherlands participated in this survey. The Customeyes data consists of a representative sample drawn from all Vesteda’s tenants. The survey provides us with detailed information on how our tenants experience our homes, the living environment and our service levels. We share the results of this survey with our tenants and employees and evaluate the results to identify potential improvements.
Tenant satisfaction (Customeyes benchmark)
Vesteda is proud that we outperformed the benchmark in the annual Customeyes survey, with a score of 7.1 (benchmark 6.9). We believe that the fifth consecutive outperformance reflects the importance of our in-house property management and the value of gathering direct feedback from our tenants. We learned what we are doing well, which is important to maintain our performance in these areas, and more importantly we learned where we can improve. Key areas of improvement are further sustainability investments and the number of visits needed for a repair request.
We started with an extensive project to improve the process for repair requests. We are focusing on standardising working methods during the process. We also record all contact moments with tenants and suppliers. Additionally, we started using a new reporting tool to give us more insight and monitor the process of repair requests and complaints. This enables us to take more proactive action to increase the quality and speed of repairs.
Please see the Management agenda for 2023 of this report for our plans to improve tenant satisfaction.
Annual rent increase
In 2022, the annual rent increase was moderated at a maximum of 2.3% for regulated contracts and a maximum of 3.3% for liberalised contracts. In addition, we waived the rent increase for retired tenants who applied and met certain conditions.
Renovations and energy use
Given today’s high energy prices, the affordability of a home is impacted by its sustainability and the energy usage of the tenant. Therefore, we invest in large-scale renovations and in solar panels, in order to reduce energy consumption. In addition, by providing information about energy usage and ways to reduce it, we aim to encourage our tenants to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, while also lowering their total cost of living.
Home sharing and policy changes
In 2022, we increased the number of homes where home sharing is allowed. We signed a covenant with the Regenboog Groep allowing tenants in Amsterdam and Amstelveen to sublet a room to economically homeless people. We call this the ‘Onder de Pannen’ project. After a successful pilot, we will offer this right across our portfolio in 2023.
In April 2022, we changed our nomination policy. Below a monthly rent of €1,400, it is no longer possible for departing tenants to nominate a candidate tenant for a vacant property. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to rent an affordable home at Vesteda.
Engaged stakeholders and a socially engaged organisation
We believe it is important to engage in sustainable relationships with our tenants, our participants and our other stakeholders. Transparent communication builds mutual trust. Therefore, we communicate openly about our activities. In 2022, we launched various initiatives with and for our stakeholders:
JINC: We help young adults to prepare for and start their working life by giving job application training;
Klusbus pilot: Fitters from our contractors drove to different complexes and helped tenants with small repairs, which they normally have to do themselves. This day also stimulated the social interaction between tenants, which is also one of our goals. We plan to continue this pilot in 2023 to provide an optimal customer experience;
BeterBuren: Vesteda has teamed up with the BeterBuren (better neighbours) organisation, a neutral party and mediator for neighbours involved in disputes.
In addition, we want to contribute to society and to the neighbourhoods where our properties are located:
Nibud (National Institute for Budget Information): We provide a calculation tool on our website which enables (potential) tenants to calculate their total cost of living. In this way, both new and existing tenants can calculate if their home is affordable for them;
Dutch Society of the protection of Birds (Vogelbescherming): Together with our partner, we are researching how we can improve the biodiversity in our portfolio by installing bird and insect houses to increase biodiversity. We also provide special welcome packages to tenants of newly built complexes, providing information on how to make their new garden bird and insect friendly.
Struikroven partnership: initiative to save existing plants and trees from gardens and give them a new destination in the area together with local residents. This contributes to local biodiversity and promotes livability and community-building, especially in new residential areas.