The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for our sector. At Morgan Sindall Property Services (MSPS) the customer is at the heart of everything we do, and we are always looking for new ways to provide better, more accessible services for our customers while still adhering to health and safety regulations.
Westminster City Council were concerned, during the pandemic, as traditional methods for tenants to safely view void properties would be incredibly challenging. MSPS took this opportunity to work in partnership with MLCS3 and is now delighted to announce a new service offering – the void virtual tours.
In May MSPS trialled four properties to showcase the benefits of this new service. These included increased viewings, time saved, reducing the carbon footprint, but most importantly it minimises any risks to residents and staff. Another advantage is the virtual tours also provides a pre-condition record of the void property before occupation by a new tenant.
In June the results were discussed where approval was given for an annual trial on all residential void properties. Due to its success Westminster City Council has now subsequently requested for MSPS to provide tours to all their Community Halls, Nurseries and Youth Clubs to help assist with the improved customer experience for hiring out purposes.
Rowena Ng, Void and Adaptation Manager, Westminster City Council, said “The introduction of the virtual tour has revolutionised the viewing process. This is an example where Westminster’s continued commitment to work in partnership with Morgan Sindall has brought positive outcomes. The free trials were tested and loaded to Home Connections for Choice Base Lettings and Direct Offer at the end of May and virtual viewings were arranged for all four properties within a week. All the stakeholders involved in Housing Operations and Allocations were delighted with the quality and the potential of the virtual tour packages on offer. I am delighted that the virtual tour has continued to offer alternative to traditional viewing practices as part of Westminster’s City For All vision to transform council services.”
Gary McFarlane, Westminster City Council Partnership Director at MSPS, said “I am really proud of the team as this is a fantastic new service offering. We have currently completed over 40 void virtual tours, and we are delighted with the results so far. This pandemic has presented many challenges but also showcased new opportunities on how we can use technology to overcome these. We are thrilled to be working with Rowena and it’s been great news for Westminster City Council as they have also managed to let some of their more complicated void properties. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds with this new offering.”