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Date approved: May 2020
Review date: May 2023

Please be aware that this full policy may include acronyms or technical jargon used internally within Raven. If you have any questions, please contact us.

1. PURPOSE/ AIMS

  • Raven Housing Trust has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated Legislation to provide safe places to live and work for its residents and employees.

1.1 This document explains what is required for employees and/or contractors to comply with company policy, which has been developed to meet Legal and Raven Housing Trust requirements.

1.2 This document will also aim as far as is reasonably practicable to protect residents and third parties from exposure to any void team activities. All properties that are let will be safe, secure, clean and in good condition with all services in working order.

1.3 Void properties will be to an acceptable standard within the timelines stated within it KPI and procedures in order to maximize Housing stock availability for residents and maintain revenue expectations.

2. SCOPE

  • The Raven Voids Team has ownership of all vacated (void) dwellings and aims to ensure all such properties are brought up to the standards required by Raven Policy, Decent Homes Standard and associated legislation i.e. Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.
  • This document will underpin the requirement set out in Raven’s Building Safety Policy (PR01).

2.1 This document sets out the steps to be followed to control and manage risks associated with planning and working in void properties.

2.2 This procedure internally applies to all Raven staff (Voids Team) and other suppliers and all approved contractors working on behalf of Raven Housing Trust.

2.3 The procedure also considers risks to others i.e. residents, third parties, including those attending site for viewings.

2.4 This document for clarity covers all buildings owned and maintained by Raven.

3. KEY POLICY PRINCIPLES & COMPLIANCE WITH LEGISLATION

3.1 Key legislation and codes of practice including (but not limited to):

  • Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018;
  • Decent Homes Standard;
  • Electricity at Work Act 1989;
  • The Building Regulations 2015;
  • Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012;
  • Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998;
  • CDM Regulations 2015

3.2 Raven has access to an external Health & Safety Advisor in order to validate its internal compliance and systems of work.

4. DETAIL

4.1 Owner: Voids Manager

4.2 Key players: Void Team Leader(s), Asset Manager, Electrical Manager, Contract Surveyor (M&E) Health & Safety Manager, Asset Data Manager (ADM), H&S Advisor and contractors.

4.3 Compliance with internal policies:

  • Raven H&S Policy;
  • Raven Building Safety Policy (PR01).

4.4 Upcoming voids

  • The voids team will try to visit within 72 hours of a Termination of Tenancy (TOT) being received. This will be booked by the Customer Service Advisor through our I.T systems and into the Void Diary.
  • The property Pre TOT-inspection allows the Void Team Leader to meet the outgoing tenant or next of kin to advise the following (see Void Planning workflow):
    • Repairs they are responsible for before moving
    • Any recharges that could be made if works are not carried out
    • Leaving vacant possession
    • Removing all belongings and rubbish
    • How to return keys
    • Changing account names for services/reading meters
    • These are also outlined in a letter to the tenant from Housing Choice.
  • The above will be documented on a Pre TOT-inspection.
  • If a recharge is identified, a recharge form will be completed and photograph(s) taken of the recharge areas and completed form. This will be issued electronically with the completed Pre-TOT form.
  • The copy will be issued to the tenant/NOK for their attention.
  • This will build part of the Void property file for that address and support the Recharge being issued efficiently, supporting Raven Housing Trust proceedings if required from Void date.
  • The inspection will also allow an initial view of whether the property will need to be taken Out of Management and if this is likely, a plan will be made to enable works to be programmed and completed as swiftly as possible.

4.5 Evictions

  • The Voids Team are notified by Tenancy Enforcement or the Income Team of a pending Eviction.
  • The Housing Officer and Void Team Leader will photograph belongings left in the property.
  • If required they will issue a TORT notice. This will be confirmed in writing with confirmation of removal dates to commence Void works before re-let.
  • A locking bar will be fitted upon successful eviction.

4.6 Key Logs

All keys are to be returned to the Raven Housing Trust Front Reception to be registered (the day this happens is ‘the void date’) and a service request raised within Raven IT systems to start the Void E2E.

  • A void lock must be fitted to all General Need, Temporary Accommodation and Sheltered Voids.
  • All void keys must be returned to Raven Housing Trust prior to sign up. All Front, Side and Rear door must have a minimum of 3 keys. This will need to be changed at Void stage or if lost by the operative before returning the keys.
  • All keys will need to be signed in by the Void Team Leader/Operative into the key safe box. The keys will need to be signed out by Housing Management or Housing Choice at the time of ready for sign up.

4.7 Planning (See Planning workflow)

  • To enable Raven to meet KPI’s it is imperative that timely notification is given by the Tenancy Team. Planning to consist of key phases:
    • Notification
    • Occupied survey including handover support: (booked for attendance within 72 hours of the TOT notification being received).
    • Book resources
    • Handover
    • Survey of the Vacant Property (Same day of Key Receipt or at latest within 24 hr’s from resident vacating)
    • Gas/Electric/Asbestos: Completed within the void period, 48h following the suited key lock being fitted.
    • Works phase: Trades to commence any non-intrusive works within 48-72 hours of key suited lock.
    • Cleaning: Booked in advance for the construction completion date. This Target will need to be within the KPI and trades meeting these requirements.
    • Handover: Electrical, gas, asbestos, EPC documentation available within the Void folders in good advance ready for Housing to complete their sign up packs
  • The occupied survey will allow the Void Team Leader to establish any Refurbishment works that should be undertaken at Void stage. This considers, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Boilers and the condition of existing Electrical installations.
  • The property may only be taken Out of Management (OOM) if major works are needed, such as the full replacement of a kitchen, bathroom, or boiler, subsidence or damp works, electrical rewire, significant disabled adaptation, or equivalent scale work.
  • This allows Voids and Asset to be proactive in agreeing a scope of works ready for go-live on the ‘time in void maintenance period’.
  • Electrics will require the Electrical team referring back to the last Electrical Certificate for any warnings or recommendations to be considered.
  • It is at this stage that we should have a proposed re-let date that can be shared with Housing Choice to enable them to schedule or seek a nomination for viewing.
  • The unoccupied survey is to be undertaken at the suited key stage. This should present a property that is clear, clean and tidy and identify any works that could have otherwise been missed at the occupied site visit.
  • The larger works should have been identified within the 1st phase of inspection, when engaging with the tenant/NOK of the requirements for return of property.
  • It is a key return date that we activate or identify any additional recharges if the tenant has not resolved the requirements or entered a payment plan with Raven Housing Trust.
  • It is essential that Housing Choice and Temporary Accommodation Managers update the Void teams of pending key returns so to ensure Pre TOT inspections have/are booked and that we are proactive in scheduling works for those keys being returned.
  • The voids team will update Housing Choice on the progress of live voids to enable smooth and quick nominations ready for sign up as close to the property becoming ready to let. This, and pending key returns, are communicated through regular meetings between both teams.

4.8 Compliance

  • Every applicable void property will have a Gas safety certificate completed and gas capped off 48 Hours from the keys received. An EPC will be available before handover. See workflow
  • Every property will have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) completed..
  • A legionella inspection will be carried out during the void stage for every property, saved on the Void documentation folder and a copy passed to Asset Management.
  • Every Void will require an Asbestos survey before works commence. If we do not have one then this should have been identified at Pre-TOT and booked to be completed within 48 hours of the Void date. All trades will have access to the Asbestos register through their PDAs. If we do not have one, then this should have been identified at Pre-TOT and booked to be completed within 48 hours of the Void date. This will be held within the asbestos database and be available to all trades to support safety whilst working. A copy of this is provided at sign up.

4.9 Handover (See Voids Management workflow)

  • The Voids Team will hand-over a property upon completion of works, if there is an issue with the programme the Voids Administrator will update the Housing Choice Team.

The Voids Team will ensure:

  • Void properties are made safe, clean and with all services in working order.
  • Raven Housing Trust will ensure that the property is let to a Decent Homes standard. Any works identified outside of this requirement will be booked in with the new tenant if not resolved within the Voids period.
  • The Voids Team Administrator will make the Tenancy Officer aware prior to sign up so this can be discussed with the resident. The Void Team Leader can support Housing as required.
  • Should there be an issue with the property or there is no resident available to occupy the property will be checked by the Voids Team at least every 28 days.

4.10 Management of contractors

  • Each contractor is to be appointed following a full procurement process carried out by Raven.
  • The Electrical Manager has responsibility to monitor the appointed contractor through inspection of electrical works, both work in progress and post completion.
  • The Void Team Leaders are responsible for the monitoring of sub-contracted Kitchen and Bathroom, or other, works, through inspections within the works and at completion.
  • The use of sub-contractors will need to demonstrate prior Value for Money. This will be through the Schedule of Rate agreed and/or through providing clean quotes of pending works and any variation(s) justified and signed off.
  • The use of a Sub-contractor is allowed if the Void Manager prior determines that the contractor works are necessary and they can deliver a value for money service.

4.11 Void Team Records/Measures Recorded

  • Termination of Tenancy Received > Pre TOT inspection (end-end);
  • Termination of Tenancy received > Void (end-end);
  • Number of OOM for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Boilers and Rewires;
  • Recharges raised (number & cost);
  • Turnaround (Collective, non-OOM and OOM);
  • Time in Void Maintenance;
  • Void > Property Cleared
  • Void > Electric Test;
  • Void > Gas Certificate;
  • Bulk and Void Waste: Volume/Cost;
  • Void > 1st View date.

Void Team KPI Indicators reported to Leadership Team

  • Void Turnaround (Collective, non-OOM and OOM);
  • Number of Voids;
  • Cost per void

4.12 Lettable standards

Kitchen Works carried out within a void property
Units To provide base units and wall units that are in working order and replace units if required. These may not match.
Sink unit To provide a working sink top and base unit / plug and chain
Cooker point A space for a cooker will be provided, electrical outlet and a gas outlet will be installed and also a gas safety chain fitted (if gas supply available).
Work top All work tops will be replaced if found to be chipped or the surface is cut. These may not match.
Wall tiles All work tops will have a tiled splash back 450mm high above work tops and around the cooker space. Any tiles that are cracked will be replaced. These may not match.
Washing machine If it can be accommodated, without major alterations to the kitchen, a space for a washing machine will be provided with water and electrical supply and drainage.
Floor The floor will be of a water resistant covering.
Fridge If it can be accommodated, without major alteration to the kitchen, a space for a fridge will be provided with an electrical supply.
Power sockets We will try to provide at least one double socket above every work top within the kitchen work space. A minimum of one double socket will be installed.
Cleaning All walls, ceilings and interior windows will be cleaned. All sink units, kitchen wall and base units will be cleaned (only windows on the ground floor will be cleaned externally).
Ventilation We will make sure that there is an opening window or an extractor fan.

 

Bathrooms Works carried out within a void property
Wall tiles Bath and basin will have a 450mm high tiled splash back. Any tiles that are cracked will be replaced. These may not match.
Floor The floors in all bathrooms and WCs will be of a water resistant covering.
Cleaning All walls, ceilings and interior windows, bath basin and WC will be cleaned (only windows on the ground floor will be cleaned externally).
Bath Any chips to a bath may be treated providing the bath can be cleaned to an acceptable standard. Any bath that cannot be cleaned to an acceptable standard will be replaced. The bath will have working taps and a plug and chain fitted.
Basin Any basin that cannot be cleaned to an acceptable standard or is cracked will be replaced. The basin will have working taps and a plug and a chain fitted.
WC Any WC that cannot be cleaned to an acceptable standard or is cracked will be replaced. The WC will have a new seat fitted and the cistern will be checked to make sure it flushes and that the cistern is not rusty.
Ventilation We will make sure that there is an opening window or an extractor fan.

 

Electrical Works carried out within a void property
Safety
  • Smoke detectors will be fitted. A Carbon Monoxide detector will be fitted in the Kitchen if the boiler is 1-3 meters away.
  • At least one double socket per room. All defective fittings will be replaced.
  • A cooker outlet will be fitted for use of an electrical cooker.
  • A safety certificate will be provided.
  • An RCD will be fitted to the CCU on ground floor voids only.
  • We will ensure that any door entry system is working properly.

 

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Works carried out within a void property
Safety An EPC will be undertaken at Void if:

  • One does not exist
  • It is due to expire (10 year lifecycle) or
  • We undertake works that improve the Energy Performance.

EPC certificate ready at handover.

 

Gas Works carried out within a void property
Safety
  • All gas fires that are not connected to a back boiler will be removed and the gas supply will be capped off.
  • All landlord’s appliances (boilers, fires) will be serviced and tested and left in working condition.
  • A gas bayonet will be fitted for use of a gas cooker.
  • A safety certificate will be provided.
  • We will install carbon monoxide detectors where necessary.

 

Water Works carried out within a void property
Safety A full plumbing inspection will be carried out.

Stop cocks and taps will be checked and left working or replaced if required.

Hot water tanks will be lagged or provided with an attached jacket.

 

Floors Works carried out within a void property
Timber floors All wooden floors will be fixed and level and any gaps / split timbers will be repaired / replaced.

Laminate flooring will be removed from all flats on 1st floors and above.

Solid floor Any tiles missing to a solid floor will be replaced either by removing all tiles or patch repairing.

The floor will be covered reinstated with a latex floor screed and levelled, ready for the new tenant to lay carpets.

Condition Floors which have grippers glued to the floor will remain in place.
Asbestos Floor Tiles These should be removed by the asbestos contractor and left ready for latex floor screed and levelled, ready for the new tenant to lay carpets.

 

Walls, Ceilings, Windows Works carried out within a void property
Condition
  • All Ceilings and Walls should be considered through the asbestos report.
  • Loose plaster and minor cracks will be filled, wiped/rubbed down in preparation for decoration.
  • Any ceiling tiles will be removed and the ceiling made good.
  • All walls, ceilings and interior windows will be cleaned, (only windows on the ground floor will be cleaned externally).

 

Staircase Works carried out within a void property
Condition
  • All staircases will be inspected and made secure and safe.
  • Any rails and banisters will be made secure and safe or replaced.
Stair Lift/Through Floor Lift
  • Remove the stairlift if defective or not required.
  • Update the Assets register to remove from any servicing programmed work.

 

Doors Works carried out within a void property
Internal
  • All internal doors will have working furniture and catches, and be able to be opened and closed.
  • Any holes will be filled.
  • Doors will be replaced if required.
External
  • We will provide new locks with keys to all external doors (minimum of 3 keys per lock).
  • All external doors will be inspected and repaired or replaced if required.

 

Windows Works carried out within a void property
Safety
  • All windows will be serviced and any broken glass replaced.
  • All windows will open and close satisfactorily.
  • All windows (if required) will have keys.
  • Child safety catches will be fitted to all windows above ground floor height.

 

Gardens & Outside Space Works carried out within a void property
Sheds
  • Sheds will be cleared.
  • This work will be Recharged to the outgoing tenant.

 

Gardens
  • If the garden is extremely overgrown we will cut it down to a manageable level (this maybe rechargeable to the previous customer).
  • Boundary fences and walls will be repaired if required or escalated for delivery within the fencing programme.
  • Greenhouses will be cleared and/or removed, this will be recharged to the outgoing tenant.
  • Ponds will be cleared, filled and this will be recharged to the outgoing tenant.

Improvements

Any improvements or alterations that have been carried out to the property by the tenant will be inspected and checked, and if found to be in a workable condition will be gifted to the next tenant or removed.

If alterations have to be reinstated the cost of these works will be Recharged to the outgoing tenant.

 

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