The Together with Tenants report

We have been working with residents and our members to establish a four-point plan for change, including a new charter that sets out in clear terms what residents can and should expect from their landlord.

Over the last 12 months, 130 early adopter organisations have been working with their residents to test out the charter. Now, our ambition is for all housing associations to support our plan and consider adopting the Together with Tenants charter.

To support our members to do this, this report provides:

  • An overview of the Together with Tenants work so far, including developing the plan, charter and revising the NHF Code of Governance.
  • Lessons from the early adopter programme, which ran from April 2019 to March 2020. Through the programme, 130 housing associations tested out the plan, with a focus on the Together with Tenants Charter.
  • Next steps for Together with Tenants – including further information on the sector-wide rollout. 

Together with Tenants plan and charter

We have established a four-point plan for change and six commitments for housing associations to commit to if they sign up to be an adopter

Find out how to sign up as an adopter

After reading our report or experiences of our early adopters, you can find out everything you need to know about becoming an adopter 

The early adopter process

We invited our members to join the Together with Tenants initiative as an ‘early adopter’ in early 2019. We asked the early adopters to test the Together with Tenants Charter, working in partnership with their residents to understand how this could be implemented, and to involve residents in meaningful oversight.

We engaged an external research consortium to work with the early adopters and capture their learning over the course of the six-month testing period. The research consortium used mixed research methods, including calls for evidence, surveys, interviews and workshops, to gain insights into the early adopters’ journeys.

"The urgency of the coronavirus pandemic meant housing associations have had to operationalise new staff and resident services practically overnight. We need to connect with residents, and work with them to establish relationships grounded in trust and accountability, so that we can support our communities through the challenges that lie ahead."

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive at National Housing Federation

Findings from the early adopter process

What is clear is that adopting the Together with Tenants Charter has led to clearer, more collaborative decision-making for most early adopters. Many early adopters rewrote their strategies, policies and customer commitments to incorporate and reflect the charter. Our aim was for the charter to be flexible enough for every housing association, regardless of size, location or type, to be able to adopt it in a way that worked for them and their residents.

“There are decades of deep-rooted and institutionalised stigma around social housing, which will take quite some time to alter. We need to work together to tackle this. We need a long-term plan to introduce, develop and plant a strong foundation for Together with Tenants, with scope to keep on learning and improving. Working in partnership should not be feared but fully embraced.” 

Valerie Oldfield, Chair of the Together with Tenants Tenant Advisory Panel

We are now rolling out Together with Tenants across the housing association sector. We are asking organisations to adopt the charter, put the commitments into practice, and work with residents to ensure they have a strong role in overseeing the implementation of the charter and the commitments, with a strong direct link to boards.

Together with Tenants is about developing strong relationships between residents and housing associations over the long-term. Signing up is just the first step for the sector. Both the Tenant Advisory Panel and the Member Steering Group are clear that adopting the charter on its own is not enough. Housing associations must deliver on the commitments in the charter, and evidence it to their residents, continually striving and challenging themselves to put residents at the heart of what they do.

Find out more about how to get involved and lessons from our current adopters. Or click below to read the whole report.

Who to speak to

Evelyn Williams, Policy Officer