Taking the Lead in AI: How Manningham Housing Association is Innovating in the Housing Sector

As small housing associations continually look for ways to improve their services while staying cost-effective, one solution that could prove useful is artificial intelligence. Here, Carolina Padovezi de Oliveira explains how 1,400-home provider Manningham Housing Association is using AI to improve the lives of both tenants and staff
Carolina, Corporate Project Manager

At Manningham Housing Association (MHA), a small provider of housing services in Bradford and Keighley, we are taking the lead in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the lives of tenants and staff. By leveraging AI, we are aiming to work smarter and provide a more efficient, personalised, and cost-effective service.

One of the main challenges facing housing associations such as ours is providing quality support to tenants, especially outside of normal business hours.

One way to get around that is to use chatbots powered by AI to provide quick and accurate answers to tenants’ questions. Tenants and customers can get the information and support they need quickly and easily, improving their overall experience and satisfaction by using their Chatbot and customer portal, MyMHA.

Staff also are using ChatGPT to write reports and strategies, and other bots, like AI personal assistants, to take minutes in meetings.

We are, though, only scratching the surface of the potential of AI. And while it is already proving its worth to a small housing association such as ours, we know there is much more value to be gleaned.

Here, we’ve outlined 07 ways that AI programs such as ChatGPT can, and are, helping small housing associations improve their services.

The use-cases

Tenant support through chatbots

A chatbot powered by AI can provide quick and accurate answers to tenants’ questions, reducing response times and improving the quality of support. With a chatbot, tenants can get information on a wide range of topics, from rent payments to emergency contact information, 24/7. This improves the experience of tenants and reduces the workload of staff.

Maintenance requests automation

Another challenge for small housing associations is processing maintenance requests efficiently. With AI, maintenance requests can be automated, reducing the time and effort required to process requests. By using a chatbot or a virtual assistant, tenants can quickly and easily submit maintenance requests, and the housing association can track and manage requests in real-time.

This improves the speed and efficiency of the maintenance process, making it easier for tenants to get the support they need.

Personalised rent payment assistance

Rent payments are a critical aspect of housing associations, and it’s important to ensure that tenants are paying on time and have access to accurate information. A chatbot powered by AI can assist tenants with rent payments by providing information on payment options, due dates, and payment histories. This reduces the workload of staff and improves the accuracy of information provided to tenants.

Emergency response

In the event of an emergency, tenants need to have access to accurate and timely information. A chatbot powered by AI can provide tenants with emergency contact information and support during after-hours and at weekends. This improves the responsiveness of the housing association and helps to ensure that tenants receive the support they need quickly and effectively.

Document management

Managing important documents, such as leases, rental agreements, and maintenance records can be a challenge for small housing associations. With AI, tenants can access and manage their documents through a customer portal, improving their access to information and reducing the workload of staff.

Cost-effective solution

Artificial intelligence is a cost-effective solution for housing associations, as it can automate routine tasks, provide 24/7 support, and improve the overall experience of tenants. By using AI, small housing associations can reduce the workload of staff, allowing them to engage in other activities and provide quality support to tenants while staying cost-effective.

Improved user experience

The use of AI in small housing associations can provide a seamless and intuitive experience for tenants, improving their satisfaction and engagement with the housing association. With AI, tenants can get the information and support they need quickly and easily in over 160 languages, improving their overall experience and satisfaction with the housing association.

For example, Synthesia, an AI video-creation platform, can reduce the costs associated with video production, such as equipment rental, studio time, and editing fees. Synthesia can be used to create videos that are accessible to a wide range of audiences, including those with visual or hearing impairments and in several languages.

Future potential

While it is still early days when it comes to generative AI and its use cases, innovation in this area continues to accelerate. Small housing associations are turning to AI to improve the experience of their tenants and staff, and in many cases, they are successfully doing so – without hurting the bottom line.

By using programs such as ChatGPT, small housing associations can automate routine tasks, provide round-the-clock support, and offer a more personalised service for tenants, allowing them to stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced world of housing.

This article was written with assistance from ChatGPT and also published on Housing Digital