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Organizational and economic aspects of housing management in deprived areas
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation consists of five papers with different objectives. The overall objective is to improve knowledge of effective policies regarding socially deprived large housing estates. All studies deal with the real estate context from a housing company decision-making perspective. The first two papers focus on organisational issues and the following three papers deal with economic issues related to the development of a specific housing area. The research is based on case studies which involve specific methodologies such as interviews, direct observation and collecting data from company accounts.

The main message of this thesis is that landlord policies and resources spent on operation and maintenance contribute to local area development. It is also underlined that there is a need for a paradigm shift in Swedish housing, since the regulatory framework appeared to be inadequate. The experience from this study shows that many problems can be solved within the existing laws and through efficient customised property management, but landlords need more effective incentives to improve their policies further.

The first two papers address issues about how to organise local management resources in large housing estates. Three different functions were identified: customer service, (e.g. fault-reporting); the letting process; and caretaking (day-to-day management and control over indoor and outdoor areas). The models where more decisions are decentralised lead to better information about the local conditions, make it easier to coordinate work in an area, create more motivation for the staff and make it easier to involve the tenants. This was particularly valuable for socially deprived estates, but the decentralised model raised some moral hazard problems, e.g. the local team create their own agenda, are pressured by certain tenants to give them advantages and that the result is lack of control and consistent housing policy in the company.

The third paper deals with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in housing management. Different types of costs are identified and related to the estates’ social condition. The results indicate that a CSR-based management policy leads to approximately 4.5 percent lower annual operation and maintenance costs which improved the company’s profitability, especially if the higher standard of maintenance, made higher rents possible. The study also identified three other benefits of CSR; improved tenant relationship, goodwill and business opportunities and the study is a first step towards a better understanding of the economic consequences of CSR in a real estate-context.

The fourth paper analyses the return of the Swedish slumlords, with a focus on a specific area in Malmö. The tenants stayed even though the rent was higher and the quality was lower than in neighbouring areas because of a combination of three factors; rents were paid by different forms of welfare payment, lack of alternatives because of queues to other areas and because some tenants saw an advantage in the “no questions” asked policy that the slumlord followed. It is further argued that the property owners found this slum strategy as profitable either because they hoped to find a “bigger fool” to sell to or because the decision makers in the company had not invested their own money. The study concludes that both tenants and investors were in the end losers, but not the company managers.The fifth paper is an economic evaluation of renovation in socially deprived housing estates. The empirical data indicates that it is profitable to use a clear and active housing management strategy, especially if the rent levels are affected by the standard of management by the landlord. The results also show that the landlord’s policy had positive social effects, both in the form of tenant welfare and in the form of lower costs for Police and the Fire department. The study also indicates that it can be difficult to justify large scale investment purely from a business perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , 21 p.
Series
Trita-FOB-PHD, 2011:4
Keyword [en]
large housing estates, deprived areas, housing policies, economic valuation and local management organisation models
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48616ISBN: 978-91-85783-19-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-48616DiVA: diva2:458200
Public defence
2011-12-01, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20111122Available from: 2011-11-22 Created: 2011-11-22 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Kundnära organisation och serviceutveckling i bostadsföretag
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kundnära organisation och serviceutveckling i bostadsföretag
2006 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the study is to increase knowledge of how to provide service in municipal housing companies in Sweden, and of various organisational models for the customer-centric organisation. The principal issue of the study is how housing companies can organise their resources in order to create an efficient and customer-centric organisation. The term customer-centric organisation comprises customer service, letting, and local administration. Customer service is often designated as the housing company’s fault reporting service and includes, for instance, the reporting of faults in dwellings, noise problems, complaints etc. Letting incorporates processes connected with estate agency, marketing, taking possession and vacating, internal exchanges, housing strategies, options, and tenant selection. Local administration incorporates processes connected with day-to-day operational administration, i.e. the provision of service with regard to remedying faults and making repairs.

The study’s theoretical points of departure have their basis in research into public housing and the field of service management. The empirical supportive data used in the study is a two-year case study of rganisational changes at Malmö municipal housing company, MKB Fastighets AB (MKB), and a supplementary interview study at four other municipal housing companies. The case study was conducted with the help of observations gleaned from MKB’s internal evaluation group, interviews with management and frontline staff, and a questionnaire survey of frontline staff in MKB’s customer-centric organisation. The supplementary study included interviews with both frontline staff and management.

MKB’s organisational change can be divided up into two different phases: the test organisation and the team organisation. The departure point of both organisations was area-based customer service, letting, and local administration. The test organisation entailed MKB creating one single function to manage all these activities. Due to higher administration costs, less visible local administration, and recruitment problems, the test organisation was abandoned. In its place, the team organisation was created, which in many respects consisted of the same concept, but differed in that the area-based customer service, letting, and local administration were shared between several people in a joint local work-team. MKB’s new ways of organising its customer-centric organisation are defined in the study as a holistic model, entailing that all contact with customers was self-managed from a local area office. The results show that the team organisation cultivates a proximity to the customers, also improving customer responsibility and collaboration between frontline staff.

It can also be pointed out that the customer-centric organisation needs to be developed further. Among other things, the expertise of frontline staff can be further adapted in order to meet customer requirements. At the same time, it is of great importance to the outcome of the organisational change that the organisation’s overarching parts are coordinated in a manner facilitating the work of frontline staff in the provision of service. The same will apply if the housing company uses contractors in, for instance, property maintenance, grounds management, and heating, ventilation and sanitation installations. If the housing company’s aim is to become customer-oriented, then joint resources will have to be concentrated on the customer process and this process will have to take centre stage in the company’s strategic management decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Universitetsservice US-AB, 2006. 178 p.
Series
Trita-BFE, ISSN 1104-4101 ; 6:75
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4140 (URN)91-975984-3-7 (ISBN)
Presentation
2006-10-05, Sal V3, KTH, Teknikringen 72, Stockholm, 13:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101109Available from: 2006-10-10 Created: 2006-10-10 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved
2. Local housing administration models for large housing estates
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local housing administration models for large housing estates
2010 (English)In: Property Management, ISSN 0263-7472, E-ISSN 1758-731X, Vol. 28, no 5, 320-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe and evaluate three different models of how to organise services to tenants in municipal housing companies. Design/methodology/approach: The empirical data used in this study are gathered from a detailed two-year case study. Findings: Three different functions are identified: customer service (e.g. reporting of faults); the letting process; and caretaking (day-to-day activities and control over in- and outdoor areas). The three models for local administration differ as to which functions are decentralised to a local group and which are centralised, and are evaluated from several different perspectives. The models where more decisions are decentralised leads to better information about the local conditions, makes it easier to coordinate work in an area, creates more motivation for the staff and makes it easier to involve the tenants. The main problem with the decentralised models is moral hazard problems, e.g. that the local team create their own agenda, are pressured by certain tenants to give them advantages and that the result is lack of control and an inconsistent policy in the company. Research limitation/implications: The primary issue of the study is how housing companies can organise their resources in order to create an efficient local administration in large housing estates. Further research is needed to decide if the economic profitability differs between different organizational models in relation to tenants' perceived service quality. Originality/value: The research identifies and analyses different organisation models for local administration in large housing estates more thoroughly than earlier research.

Keyword
Residential property, Modelling, Customer service management, Local housing authorities, Sweden
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48607 (URN)10.1108/02637471011086527 (DOI)2-s2.0-78049498201 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20111122Available from: 2011-11-22 Created: 2011-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Corporate Social Responsibility in housing management: Is it profitable?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Corporate Social Responsibility in housing management: Is it profitable?
2012 (English)In: Property Management, ISSN 0263-7472, E-ISSN 1758-731X, Vol. 30, no 4, 351-361 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the context of real estate management. Different operation cost indicators are identified and related to the estates' social condition. Design/methodology/approach: The empirical material was collected from the company's accounts and by interviews with the staff and is based on a comparison between two similar areas that mainly differed in how much resources the company invested in social projects and maintenance. Findings: The results indicate that CSR leads to approximately 4.5 percent lower annual operating and maintenance costs, which improved the company's profitability, especially if higher maintenance standards made higher rents possible. Other advantages were improved goodwill, which led to new business opportunities. Research limitation/implications: The primary issue of the study is to identify consequences of CSR. However, more research is needed about landlord incentives and economic effects of initiated landlord investments. The evaluation method also needs to be further developed and refined. Originality/value: From a practical perspective, the paper gives a deeper insight into the possible economic advantages of CSR. From the perspective of the scientific community, the paper shows the possibilities in using a comparative evaluation model together with detailed company data in order to identify important indicators and effects.

Keyword
Economic valuation, CSR, Company policy, Sweden
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48608 (URN)10.1108/02637471211249498 (DOI)2-s2.0-84865153674 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20131018. Updated from submitted to published

Available from: 2011-11-22 Created: 2011-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. The return of the Swedish slumlord: Analysis of a recent case
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The return of the Swedish slumlord: Analysis of a recent case
(English)In: International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, ISSN 1753-8270, E-ISSN 1753-8289Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The article tries to explain how long-term mismanagement of a housing estate could arise in a country with a strong legal framework aimed at preventing such situations.

Approach: Assuming that both tenants and landlord are rational, the article presents a set of hypotheses that is consistent with the information available.

Findings: It is argued that the tenants stayed even though the rent was higher and the quality was lower than in neighboring areas because of a combination of three factors: Rents was paid by different forms of welfare payments, lack of alternatives because of queues to other areas and because some tenants saw an advantage in the “no-question“ asked policy that the slumlord followed. It is further argued that the property owner found this slum-strategy as profitable either because the hoped to find a “bigger fool” to sell to and because the decision makers in the company had not invested their own money. Both tenants and investors were in the end losers, but not the company managers.

Practical and social implications: The Swedish legal framework is to a large extent based on the idea that tenants should take action when there are problems. For several reasons the tenants in the area did not do that and it indicates that a more active role for the local authorities is necessary.Originality: The article focus on an interesting case that most people thought could not occur and tries to explain this within a framework of rational actors.

Keyword
slumlord, rental housing, neglected maintenance, speculative investors
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48610 (URN)
Note

QS 2011

Available from: 2011-11-22 Created: 2011-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. Economic Evaluation of Renovation in Socially Deprived Housing Estates: a case study from Malmö
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economic Evaluation of Renovation in Socially Deprived Housing Estates: a case study from Malmö
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study, is to analyse the profitability of a strategy to increase the quality of housing in socially disadvantaged large housing estates. The primary issue is to identify costs affected by poor management and the estates‟ social condition. Based on case study material from a socially deprived area, detailed economic data is discussed and analysed. The empirical data indicates that it is profitable to have a clear and active housing management strategy. The results also show that dedicated landlords‟, need to spend more resources on property management as this has a very positive impact on the local community as whole. Although the future estimated company value after the renovation process were profitable, from an optimistic assumption there are difficulties in justifying large scale investment purely from a business perspective. These findings give a better understanding of possible issues and the housing company's work process to improve an area. The value of the study, from a practical perspective, is a deeper financial knowledge of problems and possibilities to stabilize these housing areas and to find sustainable work methods. From a research perspective, this provides economic information which can be used for comparative management studies.

Keyword
Large housing estates, Socially disadvantaged, Economic valuations, Strategy, Sweden.
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48613 (URN)
Note
QS 2011Available from: 2011-11-22 Created: 2011-11-22 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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More styles
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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