What is a tenancy audit?
Stripped of all its formalities, a tenancy audit is an administrative check conducted by a property management team.
An audit usually happens to tenants of properties owned by a housing association, although sometimes, some form of audit may be carried out with owners of leasehold properties.
They verify the occupancy details, identity of the tenants and assess property conditions.
This process exists to validate the information in the tenancy agreement, ensure current compliance with the lease and serves as a tool for future planning of other services.
Why you've received a letter about a tenancy audit
If you have received a letter about a tenancy audit, it's a standard part of property management - nothing to fret about.
Property management generally notifies tenants through a formal letter, detailing the purpose of the audit and the date it will take place. It's a simple yet effective method of correspondence.
How is a tenancy audit arranged?
A tenancy audit is a procedural task, not an impromptu visit. The process involves informing the tenants, setting an appointment, and carrying out the audit.
While each audit may vary, tenants can expect the process to last around one hour. This is an estimate and not a rigid timeline.
A typical tenancy audit may include completing a brief questionnaire. A short questionnaire captures demographic information about the household, aiding in matching services to tenant needs.
Akin to a passport check at the airport, tenancy audits require at least one photographic form to verify a tenant's identity.
For a smooth audit process, tenants are advised to present two forms of identification. Identification suitable for proof of ID can include a passport, driving licence or utility bill.
Establishing the occupancy status
One key role of a tenancy audit is determining the number of occupants residing in a property to better match size of family to size of property. It serves as an impartial yardstick to gauge both under occupation and over crowding.
Under occupation can be recognised when there are fewer people residing in a property than it's suitable for. If detected, the management may consider re-housing the tenants to a smaller home.
At the other end of the scale, over crowding occurs when more people reside in a property than its size can comfortably accommodate. If detected, tenants may be re-housed to a larger one.
What future planning occurs post audit?
Post-audit, management uses the data collected for a myriad of future services and planning.
Demographic data collected through tenancy audits helps establish trends and predicting future needs.
From the age of tenants to the composition of households, these pieces of information are integral to tailoring services to tenants.
Tenancy audits also serve as a key component in the detection and prevention of housing fraud.
One of the shady practices that tenancy audits bring to light is illegal sub letting. These audits help identify instances where properties are rented out without permission.
Through audits, property management can uncover new tenants residing in a property who are not named in the lease agreement. This supports maintaining an accurate record of all tenants.
Re-housing and implications for the leasehold tenant
Re-housing following a tenancy audit can bring beneficial changes to the tenant's living situation. It may lead to the tenant moving to a property that better suits their needs.
During audits, additional family members residing in a property may be discovered. This 'family uncover' process helps the management team align services to the actual number of occupants.
How tenancy audits benefit all parties involved
Aside from the obvious benefits of compliance and property management, tenancy audits offer value for money, enhancing the tenant's living experience.
Conducted properly, tenancy audits can build stronger relationships between the property managers and tenants. They provide an opportunity for communication and understanding, creating a better living environment for all.