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Approved Housing Body 2023 Tenant Satisfaction Remains High During Challenging Times

Tuesday 28th November 2023

Today, the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) publishes the results of the 2023 Social Housing Tenant Satisfaction Survey. Against a backdrop of increased cost of living and unprecedented demand for affordable rental housing, the 2023 survey results are reassuring with overall tenant satisfaction in AHB management practices and service delivery at 84%. As in our previous (2020) survey, results demonstrate that the quality of housing is thought to be the most important at 99% (93% in 2020), closely followed by an efficient repairs service at 97% (88% in 2020) and the upkeep of any communal areas at 95% (82% in 2020). When compared to data from other Irish household surveys (both social and private rental), the experience of Irish AHB tenants is favourable.

Donal McManus, ICSH Chief Executive said “Today’s findings from the third of our AHB sector-wide tenant surveys are a strong endorsement of AHB housing delivery and management. In fact, our surveys are an effective quality mark and a source of pride for all our members in the homes they provide. The importance to tenants of a quality home in surroundings that are well-maintained indicate that they are equally proud of their ‘homes for life’. Closely linked to this are the community development and social activities that both AHB staff and tenants oversee. 79% of tenants felt that these activities were important, up 21% since 2020. It is clear that after Covid-19 isolation and lockdowns, the importance of nurturing the wider community is recognised by tenants. Embedding a tenant engagement culture has been a key feature in our member organisations’ strategic planning over recent years and is an important measure of success for the many new and diverse communities that our AHBs are building throughout Ireland.

“These surveys are useful benchmarking tools that help AHBs refocus on those areas that require improvement and support. In 2023, we can see that energy and fuel poverty have become very significant concerns for AHB tenants. In 2017 66% of our surveyed tenants found it affordable to heat their home. By 2020 the number had increased to 78%, but in 2023 the figure dropped to 57%. Energy and fuel poverty issues are of real concern to homeowners, social and private tenants alike. We know that in some cases, energy costs for Irish households have risen by more than 100% over the past three years. In our budget 2024 submission we called for a specific retrofitting budget with grant aid of 90% of costs to make retrofits viable on a large scale. The AHB sector is keen to meet national climate action targets, whilst also reducing fuel poverty for low-income and vulnerable households.”

“I love my house, and if there are any issues, they are quick to respond”
“I am very satisfied with the care and the bungalow, I am independent. The services are all round good”
“I was homeless for a couple of years, and I got this through my health it made me a priority, I have been here a few years and I am over the moon”
“Because they have done upgrades to the property, to make it more efficient and comfortable, I wasn’t expecting the upgrades, they were very good, I was surprised”
“I am very very satisfied, I don’t want for anything and I have everything in my home and they are really really good people”
Tenant responses (anonymous)

“The many housing associations around the country are clearly continuing to provide a consistently high-quality service with the performance of the housing staff remaining very high as has satisfaction with tenant communication (both rated over 80%). Whilst this is very welcome news, the results of the survey provide a good opportunity for approved housing bodies to explore aspects of services which may require continuous improvement. Not surprisingly, cost of heating affordability has featured in responses with almost one-third of tenants stating they are struggling to meet the cost of utility/fuel bills and just over half (57%) reporting they find it affordable to comfortably heat their homes. Ongoing work in the sector including retrofits and the delivery of high energy rated new homes will inevitably help address these challenges for some tenants.”
Breege Dolan (Acuity Research & Practice)

Robust data from our 2023 survey illustrate a well-performing sector, as well as opportunities for improvement. High levels of performance and quality continue in areas such as staff performance and responsiveness, communication with tenants, safety and maintenance of homes and the range of local services. Satisfaction with additional support services (ranging from help sustaining their tenancy to monitoring health and wellbeing) is particularly high and demonstrates that longstanding AHB expertise in this area continues to reap rewards. However, the survey also identifies other areas that require further improvements, such as tenants’ perception on whether their feedback has been taken into account, and AHB responses to anti-social behaviour in their communities. In terms of the issues tenants would like to have more say about, most frequently they mentioned property maintenance/repairs, followed by safety and security concerns, communal areas and anti-social behaviour. The collaborative role of the AHB and tenant in resolving issues that impact on tenant and community wellbeing is extremely important here.

Notes to editors:

  • The ICSH Tenant Satisfaction Survey 2023 will be available to download from Tuesday 28th November at
  • The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), established in 1982, is the national federation for non-profit housing associations, representing more than 270 member organisations that provide social housing. The sector manages over 54,000 homes for families on a low income, older people, disabled people and households experiencing homelessness in over 600 communities throughout Ireland.
  • A total of 549 interviews were completed during October 2023 (118 online and 431 by telephone), from 17 different participating AHBs. Research conducted by Acuity Research & Practice
  • Benchmarking against other Irish household surveys (both social and private rental) and other jurisdictions.
 ICSH Tenant Satisfaction Survey 20231ICSH Tenant Satisfaction Survey 20202Housing Agency Residential Satisfaction During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ireland 20203Housing Agency Irish Residential Satisfaction Survey (2018)4ICSH Tenant Experience Survey 20175
Very satisfied55%69%14%30%46%
1: A total of 549 interviews were completed during October 2023 (118 online and 431 by telephone), from 17 different participating AHBs. Research conducted by Acuity Research & Practice
2: A total of 504 15-minute telephone interviews, from 16 participating housing associations of varying size, were conducted by an independent research agency (Spark Market Research) during October 2020.
3: Results are from 224 social renters and 302 private renters. Total householder sample size (homeowners and renters) was 1,500. Research conducted by Amárach Research.
4: Results are from 152 social renters and 230 private renters. Total householder sample size (homeowners and renters) was 1,369. Research conducted by Amárach Research.
5: 402 telephone interviews of AHB tenants were conducted. Research conducted by SPARK Market Research.
 Irish Council for Social Housing (2023)Housemark (UK Survey) (2022/23)Scottish Housing Regulator (2022/23)  Welsh Government Figures (2023)  Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (2021)  
Overall satisfaction84%75%  87%  80%  73%  
Satisfaction with repairs service79%74%  88%  74%  75%  
Regarding overall tenant satisfaction, AHBs in Ireland rate highly (84%) compared to the UK. For example, Housemark compiles the results of over 200 landlords across the UK, with a median overall satisfaction rating of 76%. Satisfaction with the repairs service also tends to compare well against these groups. While AHB tenant satisfaction in Ireland has decreased slightly, this is a pattern that has been seen across the sector and the ICSH still remains above many of its counterparts.
  • Energy Poverty: The most recent Vincentian Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) data (2023) identified that cumulatively, from March 2020 to March 2023, the MESL home energy costs increased by 117.1% for urban households and by 75.8% for rural households (MESL, 2023).

ICSH Tenant Satisfaction Survey 2023 findings also include:

  • Tenant Purchase: Interest in home ownership has been increasing since 2017. It now stands at 56%. Tenants with the shortest tenancy duration find it the most important (65%), compared with 53%-57% for other tenancy durations. Tenants with children consider home ownership more important (83%) than those without children (40%).
  • Anti-Social Behaviour: How anti-social behaviour is dealt with continues to be an area for improvement (71% 2023; 70% 2020; 85% 2017).
  • Additional Support Services: Just under one-fifth of tenants surveyed receive support services (17%), ranging from help sustaining their tenancy to monitoring health and wellbeing and accessing social activities. Satisfaction with the overall support services is high at 93%, an increase of 5% compared with 2020 (now the same level as 2017), and an endorsement of the current approaches.