Date approved: May 2023
Review date: May 2025
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. Overview / Procedure Description
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.
1.4. 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.
1.5. This document will underpin the requirement set out in Raven’s Building Safety Policy (PR01).
1.6. This document sets out the steps to be followed to control and manage risks associated with planning and working in void properties.
1.7. This procedure internally applies to all Raven staff (Voids Team) and other suppliers and all approved contractors working on behalf of Raven housing Trust.
1.8. The procedure also considers risks to others i.e. residents, third parties, including those attending site for viewings.
1.9. This document for clarity covers all buildings owned and maintained by Raven.
2. Areas of Responsibility
2.1. 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.
2.2. Void Team Leader(s), Asset Manager, Electrical Manager, Contract Surveyor (M&E) Health & Safety Manager, Asset Data Manager (ADM), H&S Advisor and contractors
3. Procedure Details
3.1. 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 IPC and into the Void Diary/PDA schedule board.
3.2. The property Pre Void Inspection (PVI) 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.
3.3. The above will be documented on a PVI within the IPC PDA.
3.4. If a recharge is identified, a TL will discuss the option available:
- Complete the required works to a satisfactory standard for reinspection
- Collaborate with RHT to agree works to be delivered through RHT on a recharge payment or payment agreement
- If choosing to leave rechargeable works, then an works order will be raised and issued retrospectively.
3.5. A How To Return Your Home leaflet will be issued if the customer claims that a leaflet was not attached to their issued TOT. All leaflets are attached to the PDF TOT Form.
3.6. A photograph will be taken of the area(s) discussed to support reinspection at Void.
3.7. 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.
3.8. The inspection will also allow an initial viewing of whether the property will need to be taken Out of Management (OOM) and if this is likely, a plan will be made to enable works to be programmed and completed as swiftly as possible
4.1. The Voids Team are prior notified by Tenancy Enforcement or Income Team.
4.2. On attendance, the Housing Officer and Void Team Leader will photograph belongings left in the property.
4.3. 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.
4.4. The locks will be changed to a void lock and if required as locking bar will be fitted.
5. Key Logs
5.1. All keys are to be returned to the Raven Housing Trust Front Reception to be registered (the day this happens is ‘the expiry of the TOT’) and a Key log Activity will be raised within IPC. This will start the Void E2E period.
5.2. A void lock must be fitted to all General Need, Temporary Accommodation and Sheltered Voids. (Team Leaders to keep sheltered suited locks for re-use. Keys from Sheltered Accommodations are on a Master Locking system so should be re-used to other Schemes.
5.3. The void locks will be changed at sign off and completion of void. A minimum of 3 keys will be issued for Front, Side and Rear doors. All void keys must be returned to Raven Housing Trust prior to sign up for the Lettings Officer.
5.4. Void Team Leader/Operative will return and sign in the key return through IPC Key Logs to notify of ready for collection by Tenancy Services or Housing Choice.
6. Pre-Void Inspection / Planning (see void workflow)
6.1. To enable Raven to meet KPI’s it is imperative that timely notification is given by the Tenancy Team to support the following planning stages:
- Occupied Pre Void Inspection (PVI): Handover support: (booked for attendance within 72 hours of the TOT notification being received to Customer Services or Housing Choice: Whichever received notification first).
- Book resources: Works to be delivered DLO or Contractor. What other Supporting agents do we need: EPC, Asbestos…
- Handover: Take receipt of keys on day expected from customer, or charged additional rental.
- Survey of the Vacant Property: Within 24 hours of key receipt/vacating.
- Gas/Electric/Asbestos: Completed within the void period, 48 hours following the suited void lock being fitted.
- Work phase: Trades to commence any non-intrusive works within 48-72 hours of key suited lock.
- Notify Housing Choice of the Proposed Ready to Let date to support nomination and LA.
- Cleaning: Booked in advance for the construction completion date.
- Handover: Electrical, gas, asbestos, EPC documentation available within the IPC and SharePoint Void folder. Present in good advance for Housing to complete their sign up packs ready for sign up.
6.2. In addition to 6.1 PVI. This allows RHT to understand they high level works required to support 6.1 planning. The Void Team Leader to establish any Refurbishment works that should be undertaken at Void stage (Kitchens, Bathrooms, Boilers, Damp/Mould and Condensation considerations and existing condition of Electrical installations).
6.3. The property may only be taken Out of Management (OOM) if major works are identified to include point 7 but expanding to subsidence, significant disabled adaptation, overridden gas/electrical meter or equivalent scale work such as clearance of hoarders.
6.4. This allows Voids and Asset to proactively collaborate and deliver voids that support longevity to the asset but also a home to be proud for customer and Raven.
6.5. Past electrics certificates will be reviewed to highlight any warnings or recommendations to be considered for planned remedial or rewire at void.
6.6. It is at this stage that we should have an initial proposed RTL date that can be shared with Housing Choice to enable them to share that data within the advert with the LA to seek the correct customer for property type.
7. Active Void Works
7.1. The unoccupied survey is to be undertaken at the suited key stage. This should present a property that is free largely of possessions, clear, clean and tidy, but further identify any works that could have otherwise been missed at the occupied site visit.
7.2. The larger works should have been identified within the 1st phase of inspection, when engaging with the customer/NOK of the requirements for return of property.
7.3. All identified works will be raised through IPC and issued to DLO operatives or issued to contractors through the contractor portal.
7.4. All works will be tracked though IPC for variations and completion to works being posted for completion and payment.
7.5. If a recharge is identified at inspection, due to repairs relating to works outside of wear and tear and/or works have been undertaken without prior TDI permission and/or Raven needs to the correct works that cannot be gifted to the incumbent customer will initiate an IPC works order to itemise works required to rectify/reinstate and IPC notify Income Team of the impending works.
7.6. 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 weekly meetings between both teams.
7.7. On completion of the works, the void Team Leader will return the keys to RHT ready for collection and sign up by Housing Choice or Tenancy services.
8. Management of Contractors
8.1. Each contractor is to be appointed following a Procurement process carried out by Raven.
8.2. The Electrical Manager has responsibility to monitor the appointed contractors through inspection of electrical works, both work in progress and post completion.
8.3. The Void Team Leaders are responsible for the monitoring of sub-contracted Kitchen and Bathroom, or other works, through quality inspections within the works and at completion.
8.4. The use of sub-contractors will need to demonstrate Value for Money in accordance with the SOR and approved variation(s) to point of signed off.
8.5. 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.
9.1. Every void that has Gas, will be issued with a completed Gas safety certificate. The meter will be disc’d until the new customer has contacted Raven Gas contractor to attend and uncap the meter whilst undertaking a turn on and test within 48 Hours of tenancy sign up date.
9.2. An EPC will be available before handover with a minimum Rating of C.
9.3. Every property will have a full electrical inspection and a safety certificate completed.
9.4. Ensure that Part 6 fire alarm systems located within the individual dwellings of Sheltered Accommodations, and Part 1 building Properties, comply with requirements of LD1.
9.5. Ensure that Part 6 fire alarm systems within General Needs properties comply with the requirements of LD2.
9.6. Properties not subject to an Annual Gas safety check will be added to the Remote Smoke Alarm testing programme.
9.7. A legionella inspection will be carried out during the void stage for every property, saved within IPC and/or in the Void SharePoint folder.
9.8. Every Void will require an Asbestos survey before works commence. If we do not have one then this should have been identified at PVI stage and booked to be completed within 48 hours of the Void date or at its earliest. All trades will have access to the Asbestos register through their PDAs. If they are unable to access, then they prior request a copy from the Void scheduler planner.
10. The Voids Team will ensure
10.1. Void properties are made safe, clean and with all services in working order.
10.2. 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 customer if not resolved within the Voids period.
10.3. The Voids Team Administrator will make the Tenancy Officer aware of the tenancy start date and any issues pending prior to sign up so this can be discussed and booked. The Void Team Leader can support Housing as required.
10.4. Should there be an issue with the property or there is no customer available to occupy the property at time of RTL, it will be checked by the Voids Team at least every 28 days.
11. Management Handover (see Void workflow)
11.1. The Voids Team will hand-over a property upon completion of works. If there is an issue with the property, the void scheduler planner will update the Housing Choice Team.
12.1. This document is applicable to Raven and Contractor staff and involved Resident panels.
12.2. We will promote the procedure on equality and diversity, avoid discriminatory action or expression and embrace the Void lettable standard: Building Homes Changing Lives.
12.1. This procedure is for Temporary, Sheltered and General Needs accommodation.
12.2. This procedure is encompass to the Raven Home Standard.
All training support will be delivered through Raven by way of:
- Toolbox talks
- On-site training
- Trade away days
14. Procedure Impact
All Board members, staff and involved residents should promote Raven’s policy on equality and diversity and avoid discriminatory action or expression.