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79% reduced void turnaround time at One Housing

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Results & ROI

  • A 79% reduction in the average turn around time of a void property (results after 4 months, further improvement expected)

The client

One Housing is a not-for-profit housing provider with a portfolio of 16,000 social tenanted and leasehold properties across London and the South East. As a member of the G15, they provide a wide range of community-based services to support people to live independently at home and are committed to addressing the capital’s housing shortage.

The challenge

One Housing identified voids rent loss as an area of concern and despite internal attempts to improve, insufficient progress had been made.  Individual targets for teams prevented staff from considering the wider process and voids were completed on a non-strategic first-in-first-out basis.  They asked us to conduct an end-to-end review of the voids and lettings process with a view to reducing overall void turnaround times, improving the customer experience and establishing a more strategic voids management approach built on inter-team collaboration and knowledge-sharing. 

The approach

We conducted a thorough diagnostic assessment of the current state through data analysis and Value-Stream Mapping which revealed a number of process issues.  Viewings were only taking place after void works were completed, meaning properties would be empty for weeks before they could be re-let.  Notice periods and pre-void inspections for tenants leaving were rarely enforced.  This led to instant voids with no opportunity for vital works and lettings planning.

Stakeholders from all teams redesigned the end-to-end process to address the issues identified in the current state. To operate more strategically, void works for “easy to let” properties were prioritised as opposed to scheduling being based on the void date.  To support this way of working, all arbitrary team targets were removed.  Delays were cut and greater streamlining was achieved by designing the new core process to be delivered by two teams instead of four. Crucially, viewings could now be done in parallel with void works to allow residents to move in immediately after completed works, saving weeks of void rent loss. 

The benefits

Besides the expected financial benefits of reduced void rent loss, there have been significant cultural benefits.  The lettings team felt more empowered by taking control of the beginning and end of the process.   Meanwhile, much needed capacity was freed up for the housing teams who previously completed tenancy sign-ups.  Setting up a voids tracker to manage works scheduling on a daily basis, has forged a collaborative and productive relationship between the voids and lettings teams.  Valuable lettings officer time was saved by reducing no shows at viewings following the use of more robust qualification methods.

“The way voids are managed within One Housing has been transformed through this review. By considering the end to end process and bringing forward a number of tasks to the front of the process, we’ve seen significant improvements for our customers and in our financial performance. We’re delighted with the results so far, and the teams are energised to drive even more improvements.”   

Dan Oehlman, Head of Business Change