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Team feature: Tenancy Team

Q&A with Divisional Managers Liz Breden and Sean Maxwell

Our Tenancy Team manages all aspects of social housing tenancies for Link Wentworth: everything from moving in, managing the tenancy, handling any issues that arise and moving out.

As the primary contact for tenants, we often meet prospective tenants for the first time when we show them through properties. Once a property is accepted, we handle the paperwork journey – from drafting documents to ensuring they’re signed.

The first six weeks of a tenancy are highly active for the Tenancy Team. Following an initial inspection we make a welcome visit, to ensure the tenant is comfortably settling in and to check whether they have any additional requirements, such as furniture.

During the tenancy, we carry out routine inspections to monitor the property’s condition and check on the tenant’s well-being. Some concerning issues we might identify include hoarding, squalor, financial difficulties, or domestic violence. When there is a need or problem, we make referrals to our Sustainable Tenancies Team and provide the tenant with any necessary support.

All social housing tenants receive a subsidised rent, and this is reviewed every six months. We work closely with our rent subsidy team to gather documents, so they can review incomes, and ensure tenants pay the appropriate rent.

The Tenancy Team also handles arrears management. We look at the reasons why tenants might be in arrears and develop strategies to address them, such as setting up repayment agreements.

Anti-social behaviour management also falls under the responsibility of the Tenancy Team. Link Wentworth’s policies and processes are specific in this regard. We work through the natural justice process, interviewing affected tenants and collaborating with NSW Police if required. When needed, we serve notices and handle matters that escalate to the tribunal (NCAT). 

Our Team loves to get involved in community events and support tenants in engaging with our Communities Team. Recently we hosted a series of morning teas to encourage tenants to engage with the tenant satisfaction surveys.

And – at the end of a tenancy, we manage the exit process. This can happen when a tenant passes away, moves to an aged care facility, purchases a property, or transfers to another home. Our Team smooths these transitions, in collaboration with service and support partners and other community housing providers.

Quick Q & A

Q: What is the structure of the tenancy team?

Divisional Managers: Sean Maxwell is the Divisional Manager for the Western side of the business, and Liz Breden is the Divisional Manager for the Northern side.
Sean manages two Team Leaders who work with five Tenancy Managers. The Together Home Teams also reports to him.
Liz manages two Team Leaders who, in turn, manage six Tenancy Managers each.

Tenancy Managers: Each Tenancy Manager oversees an average of 235 tenants – between 220 and 240, based on location. We also carry specialised portfolios of only 110 tenancies.

Leasehold Team: Managed by Carolyn Stewart, this subgroup within the Tenancy Team has two Leasehold Coordinators and five Tenancy Managers who manage around 140 properties each. Their main work is in dealing with real estate agents, managing tenant interactions and handling regular inspections (see edition 20).

Q: What are key characteristics of a Tenancy Manager?

A Tenancy Manager needs great relationship skills, exceptional customer service, and excellent communication skills. Even without specific tenancy management experience, people with strong customer service backgrounds could be a good fit for transitioning to the industry. Some of those who have come on board in this way have developed into some of the best Tenancy Managers.

Our residents have various needs – some complex – so resilience is a key trait in the character of a Tenancy Manager, along with a great sense of humour. 

Q: What milestones are the Tenancy Team celebrating?

We’ve had great engagement with our tenants through our participation in the Tenant Satisfaction Survey, which is a significant Team milestone. We are also focused on reaching our Team KPI’s for the year – we want to do our part in supporting the business retaining its Tier 1 registration.

Our Tenancy Teams work hard every day – so it is great to celebrate strong results. We are being fiscally minded, keeping arrears down, and vacancies low. Significantly, we have fewer vacancies coming up.

Our Teams are the backbone of our organisation: they are all passionate individuals, committed, skilled and self-aware – we especially see the latter as an essential quality for success.

 

Q&A with Divisional Managers Liz Breden and Sean Maxwell Our Tenancy Team manages all aspects of social housing tenancies for Link Wentworth: everything from moving in, managing the tenancy, handling any issues that arise and moving out. As the primary contact for tenants, we often meet prospective tenants for the first time when we show them through properties. Once a property is accepted, we handle the paperwork journey – from drafting documents to ensuring they’re signed. The first six weeks of a tenancy are highly active for the Tenancy Team. Following an initial inspection we make a welcome visit, to ensure the tenant is comfortably settling in and to check whether they have any additional requirements, such as furniture. During...