Associations should have clear procedures for dealing with all stages of the management of properties once they become void
Adequate steps must be taken by all Registered Housing Associations to ensure the protection of its housing stock. No more than 4% of an Association’s total stock should be void. It is essential, therefore, that there is effective management of void properties and that this is afforded a high priority by all.
What is a Void?
A void is any property that is untenanted for a period of time.
Requirement for a Voids Policy and Procedures for Managing Void properties
All Registered Housing Associations must have in place a policy and set of procedures for managing void properties in order to ensure that loss of rental income, security and repair costs are kept to an absolute minimum.
This is also important from the perspective of maintaining good estate management as voids can have a detrimental effect on neighbouring properties and the wider community as a whole.
What the Voids Policy should contain
The Voids Policy should set out the Association’s plan and targets for managing void properties to ensure that the turnover of its housing stock meets the housing need and incurs maximum rental income. The policy should also state the Association’s arrangements for monitoring and reporting on void properties and the frequency of same.
What the Voids Procedures should contain
Associations should have clear procedures for dealing with all stages of the management of properties once they become void i.e. starting at the point of decision to terminate a tenancy to the longer term void. They should cover, amongst other things, arrangements for inspection of properties to identify repairs required, health and safety checks, security of property, insurance cover, notifying PSNI and RCA, advertising for potential tenants etc.
Where there is a particular problem with void properties an Association should have in place a Strategy for dealing with it. This should detail the extent of the problem, the steps taken to address it and further options to take in the event that the problem is continuing.