With Christmas just around the corner, the staff at Alertacall have been busy donning festive hats, grinning cheesily for the photographer and signing Christmas cards – all in preparation for sending our warmest season’s greetings to our lovely customers across the UK. Aside from sending our customers a friendly message at this time of year, our Christmas cards have other important benefits for housing providers.
Housing Proactive, an Alertacall service, is a housing management system which has occupancy tracking functionality as one of its key features, enabling housing teams to have clear visibility in real time of the occupancy status of each property, accessed via online reporting.
For many of us the festive period is an extremely busy time of year, and for housing providers, tracking the occupancy status of each property is a particularly difficult task in the weeks leading up to and over Christmas and New Year. Furthermore, with an increase in staff taking annual leave over the holidays, it’s important that housing teams have a clear overview of each property status from a centralised reporting platform to identify where and how to best focus their time.
Sending Christmas cards is just one of the ways in which the Housing Proactive service prompts residents to keep us, and housing teams, up-to-date if they will be vacating the property in December – ensuring that we can all provide the best possible housing service for them. Invariably, the Housing Proactive service will be first to identify if a property has been vacated for a planned or unplanned reason due to the variety of checks put in place.
Why is occupancy tracking so important?
Occupancy tracking is important for housing teams for various reasons. For example, occupancy tracking makes it easy for housing teams to identify when to best to schedule visits or maintenance work, from single items to multiple resource projects, at times and dates most suitable to the resident.
Importantly, occupancy tracking reports also enable housing providers to demonstrate a real commitment to fire safety and emergency planning by providing a clear overview of the status of each property.
Furthermore, it helps housing providers to ensure that residents’ properties are secure and are being properly used, and to identify if a property is occupied when it shouldn’t be. For example, the Housing Proactive service has previously been able to track and flag up unlawful subletting in residents’ properties.
In some cases, and notably in the case of women’s refuges, residents are not always able to notify staff members that they are vacating a property permanently. With such high demand for housing, and large waiting lists, it is important for housing staff to know when a property has become available for the next person or family.
How does occupancy tracking from Housing Proactive work?
Occupancy tracking involves logging when residents are not at their property (either due to a holiday or other appointments, such as hospital stays). Residents inform us when they are away from their property so we do not perform daily property checks with them.
We also conduct hospital discharge checks as required with those residents who have been admitted to hospital, either with relatives of residents or the hospitals themselves. In this way, occupancy tracking de-risks the hospital discharge process for housing providers who need to ensure services are resumed for the resident when they return home.
Occupancy tracking forms part of our standard online reporting, and housing teams have a clear overview of the status of each property in real time. If we find out from a resident that a property status has changed, then our team will communicate this to the housing provider to make sure they are fully aware. Equally, if there is anything unusual, then our team will also flag this up with the housing provider immediately.
An important part of the Housing Proactive service is occupancy tracking, working with housing teams to help ensure they keep up-to-date with residents and providing them with full visibility on the status of their properties. There are many benefits of monitoring occupancy, from improving the management of maintenance issues and fire and safety planning, to tracking property availability, de-risking the hospital discharge process and ensuring the proper use of properties.
In addition to hospital discharge checks and the daily property checks undertaken, Christmas cards from Housing Proactive provide yet another opportunity for us to prompt residents to inform us if they are not going to be around over the festive period. In this way, enabling us to keep housing teams up-to-date and better monitor occupancy.
Of course, we receive lovely comments and positive feedback from residents who enjoy receiving a card from our team and seeing a picture of the people they talk to – and we will add that our team equally enjoys any excuse to dress up and get in the festive spirit!
For more information on Housing Proactive and how it can your organisation better track the occupancy status of your properties, contact Ben Lambert, Head of Client Relations, on 0808 208 1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.