Void_Utility_Mgmt

Void Utility Management

  • Our fully trained void account managers work proactively with our clients to obtain a weekly property report which we then upload to our custom built system.
  • This triggers a series of reports on our system from which we can start proactively gathering information and identifying any changes within your portfolio. This does not stop at void management but identifies new properties, new tenancies, missing properties that you my have disposed of, all for the purposes of our fully inclusive
  • Upon vacation or abandonment simply send over the meter details in the most convenient way for you. Once we’ve received these reads we complete the change of tenancy process with the suppliers along with all other necessary work.
  • We then issue an information sheet for you to provide to your tenants which provides all the details and contact numbers relating to their energy supplies – resulting in happier tenants!
  • With the relationships we have built up and maintained with all the major and independent utility suppliers – alongside our own licensed Paypoint terminal and prepayment keys – we are able to ensure that if we receive your readings before 3pm then a reset key will be sent out in the post the very same day! These keys can be sent to wherever is most convenient for you and in the majority of cases the keys are received the next working day. If however, you’re in more of a hurry we can provide codes and outlets to allow you to pick up a key that same day.
  • We are also experienced in dealing with missing/damaged/tampered meters you come across. Some of these issues are extremely complex, requiring contact across multiple departments and / or companies – all in a days work for AJR
  • Once you have a new tenant in the property, our system will be able to identify this from your property report and this triggers setting up of the incoming tenant account with the supplier.
  • Bills for the void period will then be sent to our office for us to process and ensure that only correct invoices are approved for payment and submitted to your accounts department in a pre-approved batch format.
  • Tenants are provided with our contact number so we can assist with any utility related issues they may have and can also contact us to use an independent cost comparison site to find the cheapest supplier for their new property which will attract a payment back to your organisation!

Key Benefits

  • No staff training, absence or holidays to cover. You’ll receive the same great service day in day out!
  • Not having to remember to fill in lengthy forms and the inevitable potential for human error. Using your property report we are proactive and can remind you of any information we’re outstanding.
  • No switching supplies while the property is empty and dealing with the complications as a result of this.
  • One flat rate fully-inclusive cost!
  • Knowledgeable and helpful staff that can provide assistance to your organisation and tenants.
  • No delays. You provide the readings – we offer the solutions.
  • Total management in all areas of void utilities.
  • Vastly reduced use of resources at your organisation that can be deployed elsewhere
  • Reduces cost of invoices paid as we undergo a rigorous checking process before any amount is approved.
  • Significantly improved service to tenants = greater customer satisfaction = enhanced reputation!

But don’t just take it from us… here’s what our current clients have to say:

“To sum up the service, I would say it removes all the headaches that utilities cause within the void process, speeds up the process where utility issues exist, provides a comprehensive service to our tenants, all whilst minimizing our expenditure to both void bills and the huge amount of manpower this function can swallow up. I highly recommend AJR Management without any reservation for the service they give as it forms a vital part of our voids process”

“We have been working with AJR and the service which they have supplied has been excellent. They have dealt promptly with any queries and have delivered all the promises made to us. They are very willing to go the extra mile and assist in resolving difficult matters which our organisation has experienced.”

“The service provided by AJR is excellent. The team is approachable, full of knowledge and always responds promptly with good advice to help solve even the most complicated issues we may come across.”

“AJR provide an excellent level of customer service, they have a proactive approach, they are extremely approachable and I would not hesitate in recommending their services.”

“AJR are always exploring new ideas of how to improve the service and generate money for us at the same time. This has been greatly acknowledged with our Directors, Board Members and our Chief Executive.”

 “One of the areas of concern was the lack of support and information we were giving to our new tenants about utilities. With one phone call to AJR Management this was rectified almost straight away.”

“I have had some glowing reports about the progress of this initiative and I am confident that this has already helped smooth out some of the lumps and bumps associated with our void management processes.”

“Since AJR came on board, the effort and frustrations of dealing with the various utility providers has all but disappeared.

AJR provide a professional service with an open and honest approach. Their services are second to none and enquiries are dealt with speedily.  A value adding service for a relatively small management fee”

You may have been approached by (or are currently using!) a free void service offered by a utility supplier. The way they can offer their service for free is by moving all the supplies at your void properties over to themselves. As the new tenant will then become a customer of theirs when they move in to the property, they are happy to offer housing associations a service where they will deal with your void utilities while the property is empty. One of the questions we are regularly asked is “why would we pay for a service when this supplier is offering us one for free?”, however as I’m sure you can see from the below we offer far more support and are far more flexible than these free services. In this case, we’d say “You get what you pay for!” and we’re sure our clients agree.

Free Service

AJR Management

Comparison

Email company to advise tenant has given notification to vacate property No action required at this point. We interact seamlessly with your property report to find properties that have had notice given. The free service relies upon you filling in a form and sending it every time notice is given on a property.

How is AJR Management different?

AJR Management don’t need this – we take all our information from your property report so there’s no chance of a property being missed.

The company arranges for the supply to transfer for day 1 of the void period When we receive the readings on day 1 of the void period (confirming the property is definitely empty) we begin our work on closing down the old tenant accounts and opening up new accounts for the void period As I’m sure you’re aware, a tenant leaving a property isn’t always as simple as Mr Smith decides he wants to move out, gives his 28 days’ notice and moves out on the correct date. What happens if Mr Smith gives his 28 days’ notice and decides after 27 days that he wants to stay in the property? Using a free service he will be switched to a new supplier without his permission. If he then had a debt with his current supplier that he was paying back at £8 a week they will want full payment straight away – putting Mr Smith in financial difficulty.
What happens if Mr Smith gives his 28 days’ notice and is going to move in with his partner so does this on day 1 of his notice period? With the free service, you’d need to wait until the supply has switched – so day 28 of the notice period – to get the debt removed so work can be carried out. The property is then sat empty for 27 days when any work could be carried out.
If Mr Smith is in arrears with his rent and decides to abandon the property you then have to wait the 28 days’ notice for the free service to take over the supply before the new supplier can remove any debts. This once again means that the property is sat empty for 28 days while no work can be carried out.

How is AJR Management different?

We don’t need notice periods – we can prioritise key work on abandonments and early terminations. As we work with the incumbent supplier at the property you’re never at risk of the supply being switched and the tenant rescinding their notice. We don’t take any action until we have the readings which are our confirmation that the property is empty.

Readings are provided to the free service and debt is cleared for essential maintenance and supplies are live. These can be emailed or called through on their 0800/0845 number. A code can then be given to remove the debt on the electric or a key and card can be sent out (to the property) which is received within 5 working days. Readings are provided to AJR Management by the contractors. These can either be sent by text or email or can be called through from in front of the meter. We can then either provide codes to pick up keys and cards or send these out ready coded in the post that same day. We have our own registered Paypoint outlet in our office and stocks of prepayment keys meaning that these are usually with you the next day! We can also send via recorded delivery if you require and can send to any address you want! Whatever is easiest for you.
How is AJR Management different?

Our telephone number is included in mobile minute packages and as such is not chargeable. This means that contractors are able to contact us from in front of the meters if they want to. We’re totally flexible with codes/cards/keys and will adapt to fit in with whatever is easiest for your organisation.

The free service offering will need to wait for the supply to become theirs before they can legally action any meter exchanges or repairs. If the current supplier is aware of a tamper on the meter and it has been flagged by their revenue protection department, the new supplier may not be able to take over the supply as it will be objected to by the current supplier. This means that you will have to find resource within your organisation to deal with this. As soon as we are notified of a tampered meter we deal with the current supplier at the property – meaning no delays waiting for the supply to transfer over. In some of your properties, your contractors will go to site and see that the meter has been tampered with by the previous tenant. Where this has happened it can be a complicated process to get the supply reinstated. A new supplier may not even be able to take the supply over and will have to wait for it to become theirs before they can take any action.

How is AJR Management different?

By working with the current supplier, we ensure this is sorted as soon as possible with no delays. We also arrange the shortest possible appointment time and request that the engineer will call for access ahead of visiting the property to give you time to get someone out.

Utilita Smart Meters The new supplier would need to wait for the supply to become theirs before they can action any meter exchanges. This would result in a delay in getting the power on at the property. As soon as your contractors see a Utilita Smart Meter, we would ask them to contact us. We then call directly through to Utilita, explain the situation and put the call through to your contractor. Utilita then give them a code to put into the meter which gets the supply back on. Utilita Smart Meters are becoming more and more prevalent. These meters cannot be supported by another supplier other than Utilita. Using a free switching service would result in a delay in getting the power back on.

How is AJR Management different?

AJR Management have experience of dealing with these meters and can get power on for work to commence as soon as you are ready.

A free service would not have copies of all correspondence held on their system and can only give direct information relating to the supply AJR Management keeps a copy of all correspondence – we are a total void utility management service. We can provide detailed utility history about any property where we have completed the void. You’ve probably come across the situation before where a tenant has a complaint about moving into a property where there is a debt on the meter or that their account hasn’t been set up properly. The free service would not have all of this information held on their system resulting in incomplete information on any disputes.

How is AJR Management different?

We keep a record of all readings and actions taken in case you ever want to refer back in the case of a tenant dispute.

You would need to call or email the new supplier to notify of new tenants and move in dates. No action required at this point. We interact seamlessly with your property report to find properties that have been tenanted. This sends an email to the supplier to allow them to set up the new tenant accounts. The free service relies upon you filling in a form and sending it to the supplier every time notice is given on a property.

How is AJR Management different?

AJR Management don’t need this – we take all our information from your property report so there’s no chance of a property being missed.

Once the property is tenanted, the team at the new supplier will no longer deal with the property and will not speak to the tenant directly. The tenant will then need to call the regular call centre to sort out any issues they may have. When we complete a void on a property, we send information over to the housing association which can be printed straight off and given to the new tenant. This information tells them who their supplier is, their MPAN/MPRN, their meter serial numbers, the type of meter they have, their water supplier, contact details for all their suppliers and some energy saving information. There is also our number to call if they have any issues – which means no more calls for you about utilities! Included in this pack there is also a form that helps the new tenant find the cheapest supplier for their property. The free service provides no support to your new customers. They will have to work with the main call centre. Another issue that we have seen happen is that if Mr Smith moved out of the property on day 1 of his notice, but the property had billing meters and needed no work doing you may let it on day 5, during this point the supply would be with the previous supplier and not with the new supplier yet. When Mr Brown moves in and calls the old supplier to set up his direct debit they will tell him they are no longer the supplier and cannot do this. Mr Brown then calls the new supplier and tries to set up his direct debit and is once again told that they are not the supplier yet and cannot do this. When the supplies are in limbo, it can be very difficult to get either supplier to take ownership of the meters which can cause issues if the meter then became faulty and needed repairing as there isn’t just one supplier there.

How is AJR Management different?

AJR Management provide full support to your customers providing a single point of contact and regular updates where needed. This greatly increases your customers satisfaction at what can often be a stressful time.

Both the old and new supplier will send over invoices to be approved by your finance team. These will obviously need scrutinising to ensure they are correct which takes time at your end. We request all void correspondence is sent over to our office from the suppliers so you don’t have to deal with this. We then check against the dates and readings held on our system and reject any incorrect invoices. Any that are correct and require payment go through a 14 step validation process and when the invoices are absolutely perfect they are sent over to your finance department to approve payment. The number of invoices received for void properties can sometimes be overwhelming. As there will need to be 28 days’ notice given to the supplier before the supply can switch to the new supplier you may receive bills from both the old and new supplier. This means you could receive double the bills, double the work for your finance team and twice the complications!

How is AJR Management different?

AJR Management do all the validation for you. What you receive is the amounts for payment in a preapproved batch format for your finance team.

  1. Have you currently got properties sat empty simply because you’ve got no power available for your workmen?
  2. Do new tenants call you with questions about their energy supplies and express their dissatisfaction that as soon as they are moving into the property they have to remove debt from their meter?
  3. Do your staff know which company they are waiting to speak to simply from their hold music as they’ve spent so much time waiting to get through to them?
  4. Are your in-trays filling up with utility bills as fast as you can empty them?
  5. Do missing/damaged/tampered meters drag on for months before they can be fixed which affects your re-let targets?

By now you’re probably thinking our service provides the solution to all of your problems, but how much effort and time will it take to set up. You’re probably thinking there will be a messy transition phase that will require more resource on your side – but luckily the transition is incredibly simple!

All we require to get started are the following:

1 – A signed letter of authority to allow us to work on your behalf. We send over a template for this, so all you would need to do is sign this document.

2 – The signed contract.

3 – Your property report. Our system is custom built so we are able to adapt to many different styles of report. If you send over the headings from your report we will be able to let you know if your property report is something we can work with.

4 – Details of where you need your keys/information/approved invoice batches sending over to.

As soon as we have this information above and you start sending us readings we get straight to work on managing your void utility portfolio. Obviously there may be some problems that will need ironing out initially, but we’re very flexible and helpful so these are dealt with straight away to ensure you get a fantastic service from day one!

"Integrity is at the heart of everything we do!"

© 2016 AJR Management Ltd.
Registered Office: 24 Golding Crescent, Burton on Trent, DE14 1SQ
Company Registration Number: 5804376