Empty Homes Programme Culminates in Compelling Final Session

Thank you to everyone who attended the sixth and final session in our Empty Homes programme on 14 March 2024.

The programme, chaired by Debbie Larner, was designed to consider best practice approaches and methodology in the effective management of the void process.

The final session focused on how we can create sustainable tenancies without compromising on re-let times, and was opened by Sheila Mackintosh, who discussed aids and adaptations in empty homes.

Sheila explored pressures in the empty homes process, the impact of funding arrangements, and how aids and adaptations can be added by identifying suitable residents during the pre-void inspection and adapting empty homes with specialist extensions for suitable tenants.

Disability in the UK is increasing across all age groups and 25% of all disabled people in the UK live in social housing. Sheila emphasised the need for designs that remove stigma. “Disabled people are much more likely to be the victims of crime than people who are not disabled”, she said. Being mindful of the external appearance of a property and making discreet aids and adaptations should be a priority.

Tom Knight, Voids Manager at Fortem Solutions, explained Fortem’s recruitment and apprenticeship schemes, and how offering further training to trades can help close the gaps in void delivery, driving a better outcome for tenants.

Thomas also explored Fortem’s partnership with Orbit Group and explained that by working together, they provide the best service for prospective working on an average turnaround of 20-30 per week.

Together, they have also introduced new technological solutions including a mobile surveyor which makes work allocation and reporting easier, streamlining the delivery of voids.

Debbie and Joe Taylor, Project Manager at Echelon Consultancy , facilitated a breakout session where each group was tasked with designing their own Empty Homes process, considering when the voids period should start, what determines a successful void period, how to avoid silo working and prioritising futureproofing.

Debbie finished the meeting with a recap of the sessions we’ve had throughout the programme. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the programme. Watch this space for our Empty Homes report, which will be published shortly, and will provide an overview of the key lessons learnt from the group.

Published On: March 18, 2024

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