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How to reduce void periods in social housing

Stephen Henesy

CEO

22 June 2023

What is a void property?

Put simply, a void property is a property that is vacant with no tenant living there. In the context of social housing, a void period refers to the period of time when a property is unoccupied between two tenancies. During this void period, the property isn’t generating any rental income, which can have financial implications for social housing providers. Minimising void periods is important to ensure efficient use of resources and to provide affordable housing to individuals and families in need.

Why are void properties an issue?

Over half a million properties across the country are currently unoccupied1, resulting in a significant loss of resources and funds for landlords and housing providers. New research has revealed that these unoccupied properties are costing almost £80 million (£79,500,000) in void energy bills each year.

There are significant delays impacting the turnaround of properties between old and new tenants, with typical turnaround times ranging from 6 to 90 days1. These delays cause landlords and housing providers to incur additional costs from void energy bills and loss of rent, impacting their ability to maintain and manage properties effectively, invest in new housing development, or provide support services to tenants.

While the additional costs of a void property are a significant issue for landlords, there are also security concerns around leaving properties vacant over time, which could be used by squatters or become vandalised.

Void properties also represent a wasted resource. Social housing is in high demand and, with limited affordable housing options available, each vacant property represents a missed opportunity to provide a home for someone in need.

How to effectively manage void properties

There are a number of practical ways in which you can help to reduce void periods:

Efficient maintenance and repairs

By regularly inspecting properties and identifying issues promptly, you can implement a proactive approach to maintenance and repairs, helping to prevent longer void periods resulting from extensive damage or poor conditions

Streamlined turnaround process.

Optimising the process of preparing a property for new tenants can help to reduce void periods. Coordinating a team to deliver a property that meets the landlord and tenant quality assurances is very important. From repair teams and void planners, to external contractors, making sure every aspect of the refurb is completed is a large undertaking which can be plagued with several delays. By streamlining the team’s strategy, planning ahead and making sure the process is as efficient as possible, including open communication, advance bookings and regular updates to everyone involved, delays should be prevented and significantly scaled back. We can help by managing change of tenancy notifications, ensuring the void period billing is accurate. Our free of charge service ensures you can protect revenues without impacting on the bottom line.

Embracing management software

By implementing innovative software, it can save landlords valuable time and money. From managing energy bills to changing suppliers, automated software can deliver a much more economical and efficient way of processing and managing void properties.

Helpthemove offers an effective social housing management software to manage a property’s utilities and reduce void turnaround times by 20-50%. The innovative software is simple to navigate and free, saving social housing associations valuable time and resources. Alongside this Helpthemove also offers smart meter roll out programmes in partnership with their chosen energy supplier, to support Void Managers to more easily and economically manage their housing stock.
The software also equips new tenants with access to Helpthemove’s bespoke online platform, Love Resident, designed to support their move. This platform minimises their moving hassle, informs them who supplies their new home and helps them to set up with other facilities, such as telecommunications while also offering non intrusive access to great exclusive deals.

For more information on how Helpthemove can help you, call 0161 399 0247.

References

1. Social Housing

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