Tackling tenancy discrepancies
In 2019, Swan Housing marked their 25th Anniversary; 25 years of striving to help as many people as possible to have somewhere to feel at home. In order to achieve this goal, it is crucial to ensure that the right people are in the right homes and where tenancy discrepancies occur, to make those homes available to tenants awaiting a home.
TAIM (Tenancy and Income Management) InSight, our powerful tenancy management solution, draws on multiple internal and external sources of data to provide one simple, verified view of the facts, giving landlords clarity over who is living in their properties. One year on from our previous look at how Swan had been using InSight, we’re investigating their progress with the solution for tackling tenancy discrepancies within their housing stock.
Tenancy and Fraud Officers at Swan Housing use InSight on a daily basis, checking tenancy discrepancies and deceased records; with automated monthly updates, data is regularly being refreshed, so officers know they have the most up-to-date information. Tracy Kinton, Tenancy and Fraud Officer at Swan Housing tells us, “Our first port of call is always InSight.”
There are often discrepancies between Swan’s housing management system and InSight, Tracy tells us, and it is through InSight that they are afforded a clear view of the true situation. Property succession can often be complicated – and illegal succession can prove difficult to identify. One recent case involved the daughter of a tenant of a one-bedroom property, who upon the death of her mother, attempted to claim succession of the property. A check on InSight identified that she had never lived at the property and that her attempt at succession was therefore illegal. Nor did she have a right to an alternative property of an appropriate size, meaning that Swan had no obligation to house her. This meant that a family in need of housing were able to be housed within the property. Swan are currently going to court for an unlawful profit order and possession of the property.
Repossessing properties in cases of tenancy discrepancy continues to be a major focus for Swan and can at times, result in court proceedings being brought against tenants. Earlier this year, Swan were alerted through InSight to a case of a tenant subletting through AirBnB. They have subsequently instigated court proceedings against this tenant for an unlawful profit order and possession.
In another case, InSight flagged a tenant who was showing as living in a second home in addition to the property rented to her by Swan. Officers discovered that she had married and moved into her husband’s home, whilst illegally retaining her Swan property, for which Swan agreed an out of court suspended possession order and £7,000 costs.
Tracy stresses that without InSight, garnering this level of information would be very difficult and cost a lot more officer time; she tells us, “the tangible information you get from InSight means you can start investigating straight away.”
In addition to ensuring that the right tenants are in the right homes, Swan have also been using InSight to assist their tenants. Swan were approached earlier this year by a tenant who wanted her ex-partner to be taken off the tenancy, as she was unable to move while he was still named on it. However, she had no way of getting in contact with him to request this. Using InSight, Swan were able to locate the person in question and get agreement to remove him from the tenancy. The tenant was then able to move home, freeing up her property for another tenant.
Over the past year, it is not only InSight that has been able to help Swan Housing, but Swan have in turn fed back new development ideas to help improve the system. Through their use of the solution, Swan have been able to identify ways in which the system can be enhanced to better support officers in their roles. The need for a new enhancement, a proactive ‘subletting case segment’ was brought to light by Swan Housing earlier this year as a way of helping them to identify levels of potential subletting. This was fed back to our Product team, who implemented a function whereby InSight would segment data using a combination of a tenant’s residency score and any individual that was leaving a digital footprint at the property, categorising the data into levels of potential subletting. As Tracy says, “Housing Partners listened to our needs and developed a solution which will save us time and money.”
Andrea O’Callaghan, Customer Services Director at Swan commented, “The InSight solution is an extremely important tool in helping us work more efficiently to support our tenants and make sure our homes are occupied by the right people. I would recommend it to all social landlords.”
Greg Andrews, Head of Customer Operations at Housing Partners echoes this: “It’s fantastic to see the good work Swan are doing to support tenants by using InSight to understand exactly what is happening in their properties. Since 2018, Swan have used InSight to free up 19 homes, with many more currently under investigation, enabling them to house tenants in genuine need.”