30 Nov 2022
A new approach being adopted by housing associations around the UK is making their voids pay and helping to create sustainable tenancies in their hard to lets and long-term voids.
Licensee occupation (or property guardians) won’t be a new concept to many in housing, but how guardians have been utilised recently by some big players in the sector might be.
Typically, guardians would be used during disposals and decants. Temporary occupation of these properties helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, keeps the properties maintained, removes the owners’ costs and hassles, all whilst benefiting the wider community. In some cases, the guardian provider will pay a monthly contribution, meaning a previously costly void is again generating an income, as well as offsetting the cost of void council tax and utility standing charges.
In collaboration with Ad Hoc Property Management, Magenta Living helped to pioneer a new approach which also solves a longer-term ambition for the housing association.
Magenta had used guardians on their disposal stock for several years and recognised the benefits of doing so. During a review of the partnership, hard to let properties and long-term voids came up. Magenta hadn’t previously considered their hard to let properties for guardians because they were seeking tenancies for them.
In a trial, Magenta Living allowed guardians who may prove to be suitable for a future tenancy to occupy some long-term voids under a typical licence agreement, meaning Magenta were saving time and money and could still serve just 31 days’ notice should they need the property returning.
After an initial period living as a licensee, Ad Hoc would serve notice on their guardian who would get the opportunity to sign a full tenancy with Magenta. This option proved popular with guardians and Magenta as both parties were confident in agreeing terms with one another based on the initial guardian term. Similar organisations are now successfully adopting this approach to create sustainable tenancies in previously problematic voids.
Magenta Living said “Our partnership with Ad Hoc has been great. We have been successful in filling our unused properties with people who really need them, which is taking a lot of the strain off councils who have very large waiting lists for affordable homes.”
The model which Magenta helped to establish has now been adopted by other housing association clients throughout the UK. For my North East branch the uptake on tenancies offered is in excess of 90 per cent which demonstrates that there’s a model here which can work for everyone.
Ad Hoc Property Management will be on hand at the Northern Housing Festival in February to promote their suite of property management and security solutions so if you're there, please pop in and see us.
Nikki Murtaugh is the north east area manager for Ad Hoc Property Services.