Data and Disrepair: Top tips

Disrepair data can be extremely useful tool for Social Housing Providers. It can assist in identifying trends and anomalies in housing stock, and help organisations compare their data with of view of improving repair services.

A good understanding, and use, of data has always been important, but now set against the backdrop of increasing disrepair claims and the Housing Ombudsman’s spotlight reports, effective use of data has a role in ensuring homes are healthy, safe, and fit for people to live in.

Disrepair data however is only as useful as the questions that are being asked of it, and if the results are being used effectively to better the organisation.

Here are MSB’s top tips when reviewing data for disrepair cases.

  1. Trends

Data can help your organisation identify trends in your legal disrepair cases, that can assist with strategic and operational management of assets / housing stock.

Example – Collating data by geography and repair type

This could help your organisation identify high risk properties. There may be several houses on the same street / estate that have the same defect, like structural issues and/or rising damp.

Collating the data on geography and repair type will enable your organisation to proactively identify properties which are at risk of suffering from such a defect and allow you to take steps to investigate and potentially remedy any defect before either the customer reports it or you receive a complaint/disrepair claim.

  1. Timescales

Time is of the essence when it comes to disrepair claims.  The quicker you repair the defects, the better.

By reviewing disrepair data in terms of timescales, your organisation can assess whether your organisation is complying with the timescales under the ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Claims’, and whether your current process has any pinch / delay points.


You may see that over six months, the number of properties that are waiting for post inspections following works is increasing rather than decreasing. This should alert your organisation to look at what could be causing the delay and what you can do to reduce it.

  1. Benchmarking

Data for your organisation can be used in benchmarking reviews to evaluate your performance against other organisations in your area, or those that are of a similar size. Benchmarking can allow you to analyse whether your data has anomalies compared to other organisations that would require further investigation.

Given the increase we have seen in disrepair claims across the board, using benchmarking for disrepair files i.e., how many claims you have, whether they are settling or whether they are going to Court, is a useful tool to understand whether there is more you can be doing to reduce your claims, both pre-litigated and litigated.

  1. Complex cases and complaints

Collating and reviewing data for your disrepair cases should allow your organisation to have a greater insight into those complex and challenging cases that need to be handled in a different manner to the standard. It should also help you to identify which types of claims need to be risk assessed so that consideration can be given to different approaches.


If data shows that a particular claim has been at works stage for several months, it should prompt your organisation to investigate why – have there been access issues? Have other departments within the organisation noticed anything that could be important? Are there mental health issues or hoarding issues that would mean the case needs to be treated differently?

Identifying these complex and challenging cases early will enable your organisation to proactively manage any works to a successful conclusion.

  1. Gaps in record keeping

The Housing Ombudsman’s ‘Spotlight on: Knowledge and Information Management’ highlights the importance of successful knowledge and information management, and the benefits this can bring an organisation and its customers.

To improve knowledge and information management, organisations must ensure databases are capable of adequately capturing information about residents – e.g.vulnerabilities.

Disrepair data can help your organisation identify any gaps in your existing record keeping processes to enable planned improvements to be implemented. It may also prompt further training needs for your organisation.

  1. Learn from your mistakes!

We should all learn from our mistakes, and Housing Providers are no different.

Data can be used to improve service delivery by undertaking comprehensive reviews of sample disrepair claims where there was liability.

Data should be used to better your organisation, to notice where you may be lacking and to be proactive in arranging steps to deal with these findings.

If your organisation would like any further information or assistance regarding collating and reviewing data, please contact Beth McKeown at

Contact us, we are here to help

We’re here to help, so please pick up the phone or drop us an email and one of our dedicated team will help with your enquiry.