Affordability & Security


C1 – Affordability of rent 

Our core purpose will always be to provide our customers with affordable and secure homes.  With private rental homes remaining well out of reach for many our portfolio provides a much-needed lower cost option.  For an average Aster four bedroom family home in 21/22 our customers paid around a third of the private rent for a similar property. 

Graph showing the % difference between the rent of Aster properties and the median private rental sector (PRS) rent for the same number of beds, using local authority median rent data.

C2 and C3 – Number of homes 

Whilst we continue to develop homes for low-cost home ownership, giving the people in our communities an affordable way on to the housing ladder, the majority of our homes are for affordable and social rental, supporting those with the highest need. 


And in 21/22 we continued to add to our portfolio providing an additional 458 homes for affordable and social rent. 

C4 – How is the Housing Provider trying to reduce the effect of fuel poverty on its residents? 

With the continued increase in the cost of living and particularly rising fuel costs, the ability to pay rent is an increasing concern for many of our customers.  We have a dedicated financial inclusion team who support our customers directly and the Aster Foundation delivers impact programmes that support the wider community.  We continue to focus on tackling the inequalities caused by fuel poverty. 

We completed our Warm Homes affordable warmth programme and commenced a pilot to install PV solar panels at a number of homes in Dorset and we’ll be gathering feedback from those customers involved to see how their energy bills have been impacted and how it can influence future projects.

C5 – Security of tenure

Security of tenure is so important to our customers. Nearly 99% of our rental customers have at least a three-year tenancy agreement (under the definition given), giving them peace of mind, a chance to make their home their own and the time to settle into their community.  Through our temporary accommodation we continue to provide those in need with a stepping stone to a more secure home. 


Aligns with SDG goals: 

Building Safety & Quality


The safety of our customers is paramount and following the finalisation of the new Building Safety Act in April 2022, and the publication of the Social Housing Regulation Bill in June 2022, we have created a Building Safety Act steering group to ensure we are meeting requirements.  During 21/22 our health and safety panel, supported by a number of subgroups, have continued to monitor performance in areas critical to the safety and comfort of our customers.

Aligns with SDG goals: 

Resident Voice


C9 - Holding us to account

Listening to our customers is something we take seriously at Aster. We have a number of ways in which customers can get involved, from holding our Board to account, to providing feedback to shape and co-design our services to enable us to improve.  Our customers are embedded into our governance and scrutiny framework through three core groups. 

The customer overview group (COG) and the customer scrutiny panel (CSP) support the work of the customer and communities network (CCN), a supporting governing body that feeds directly into our boards.  CCN consists of customers, executive and non-executive directors, with the responsibility for scrutinising and challenging our performance, how we deliver services to our customers, and onward recommendation of customer related policies.  COG is made up of a group of customers who review and approve customer facing policies and procedures and make recommendations on how services are best delivered for our customers and strategies.  The Customer Scrutiny Panel provides a thorough and customer focused assessment of our services and processes.


C10 - Customer Satisfaction

We have been monitoring customer satisfaction in a consistent way for eight years, through the widely used STAR survey.  We partner with an independent external research company to carry out the survey for us, enabling customers to feel they can be truly honest with their feedback.  The STAR survey is carried out every quarter and measures our customers’ perception of our organisation. This allows a comparable approach of customer satisfaction across the business and with other housing associations.  In addition to this, we also carry out a number of transactional surveys that monitor customer satisfaction with specific services.  We ask customers for comments too and use that feedback to identify improvements.  Our latest STAR results are:

C11 – Complaints and the Ombudsman 

How we respond to complaints is an important indicator of the service we provide.  Learning from those complaints is vital and we have recently set up a dedicated complaint learning group to ensure the opportunities to identify and implement learning are maximised. The role of the group includes:

  • reviewing and challenging complaint learning identified by complaint investigating managers
  • driving improvements in assessing learning across the business
  • monitoring and reporting any learning from Ombudsman findings
  • identifying the impact of learning from complaints on relevant existing policies

During 2021/22, there were 24 investigations conducted by the Ombudsman. 21 of these were subject to full investigations, whilst three fell into a category of outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. Of the full 21 investigations, 18 resulted in no maladministration, one maladministration, one partial maladministration and one service failure.

One of the complaints concerned a new build property and defects. The determination concluded there was a service failure in how the defects were dealt with and how the complaint was managed. This resulted in a full review of the complaint at a senior management level in conjunction with the service area. Guidance was given to staff in respect of the defect resolution process. The handover defect resolution  process is currently subject to an extensive review across all service areas to identify enhanced ways of working.  


Aligns with SDG goals: 

Resident Support


C12 - What support services does the Housing Provider offer to its residents. How successful are these services in improving outcomes?

Through our Aster Foundation we have been investing in our communities for over three years.  This year, the Foundation became a charity, enabling us to reach more people and amplify the impact we have.  In 2021/22 we delivered community programmes that positively impacted over 5,800 people. 

  • 1,378 people benefitted from our mental health and resilience programme   
  • 206 days of skills and time were invested into our local communities 
  • 44 people aged over 55 were positively impacted by our social inclusion initiatives 
  • 14 people moved into meaningful and sustainable employment 
  • 2,667 people supported to have a healthier relationship with money 
  • 10 social business were supported through the inc. programme to amplify their impact 
  • 14 homeless people were supported to find and keep a home of their own 
  • 1,704 people were empowered and engaged in research which contributes to positive social change 

For more about these projects and how the Aster Foundation is supporting communities to overcome today’s social challenges please see our 21/22 impact report  here.


Aligns with SDG goals: 



C13 - Provide examples or case studies of where the Housing Provider has been engaged in placemaking or placeshaping activities.

We are the leading housing association provider of Community Land Trust partnerships, having delivered 13 schemes to date and set to double the number of CLT homes in our portfolio by 2028. 

CLT partnerships are a powerful way for local communities to drive housing developments that meet their specific housing needs.  They also provide much needed facilities and public spaces to enhance the local area. Our schemes include:  

  • Working with Toller Porcorum CLT to deliver a community post office alongside six affordable homes (2015), 
  • Our scheme in partnership with Eastington CLT which included a wildflower meadow and a small orchard (2020), 
  • Our Longhope CLT scheme which is currently in planning and aims to deliver an off-site community orchard in addition to 12 affordable homes, 
  • We’re about to submit a planning application in partnership with Salcombe CLT to deliver a community woodland alongside 21 homes. 

We pay a ground rate to all our CLTs and this money is used to benefit the community mostly through small scale projects such as free messy play sessions for toddlers in a village hall, improving stiles/footpaths in the parish and upgrading sports facilities.

Neighbourhood Enhancements   

Each year we also invest in neighbourhood enhancement projects, collaborating with our customers to make improvements across our estates.  In 2021 we worked with local policing teams and Westham Community Group to invest over £100k in improvements to help tackle fly-tipping and criminal activity in the area. 

Darren Brazil, regional director for Aster said: “This has been a genuinely community focused project to improve the area and provide our customers with much-needed safer and more manageable open spaces in a community they are proud of.” 

Dorset Council Councillor for Westham Ward, Ryan Hope said: “I'd like to congratulate Aster on this project it has completely changed the appearance on the entry to the estate. I think Aster has done a brilliant job of designing out the anti-social behaviour and criminal activity that we were experiencing in the area. As well as vastly improving the public realm I believe that this design could be used elsewhere in the estate and wider Weymouth.” 

Aligns with SDG goals: