Better budget control and less vacancy by optimising the rental process when switching tenants

As a housing corporation, your goal is to rent out well-lettable homes. From making sure you take advantage of the momentum that tenants change to perform maintenance to preventing vacancy and controlling the budget maintenance. In this project, we helped Havensteder align the customer journey and internal processes regarding lease termination, maintenance and new tenancy. Through the 14 innovative concepts and possible scenarios for role and responsibility distribution we presented, Havensteder is one step closer to experiencing an optimised rental process.




Improving the rental process for all relevant stakeholders in case of switching tenants and advising on reorganising roles and responsibilities between employees of different departments


14 innovative concepts to improve the processes surrounding lease termination, maintenance and new leasing, together with scenarios that help the board make a well-informed decision on how to divide roles and responsibilities within the organisation

Between organisational change and service optimisation

Our main challenge at the beginning of the project was to improve the rental process in case of switching tenants for all relevant stakeholders. That turned out to be quite a few: new and departing tenants, district contractors, rental agents, maintenance inspectors, back-office employees and expert contractors (asbestos, central heating, roof). Before our project, Havensteder decided to move the budget responsibility of this particular maintenance budget to a different department to be able to control this budget better. However, the execution had not been implemented, so the application and implications of this decision still needed to be clarified, which resulted in internal unrest among employees.  

As a result, there were several objectives. Besides improving the rental process for all relevant stakeholders in case of switching tenants, we also had to advise on reorganizing roles and responsibilities between employees of different departments. This combination of challenges lies in the dividing line between organizational change and the optimization of services. 

To solve these different challenges, we went through a two-track implementation approach. Choosing how to fill roles and responsibilities within the process is a different issue from redesigning and optimising the processes surrounding lease termination, maintenance and new leasing.


Ideal rental process  

Within the company, a clear vision had to be formed because of contrasting objectives regarding the maintenance moment. For instance, reducing vacancy duration may conflict with increasing the satisfaction of new tenants. Having a clear vision is important regarding redesigning a journey and its implementation. Based on the ideation session, we redesigned the ideal journey for the rental process with the help of 14 innovative concepts to improve the processes surrounding lease termination, maintenance, and new leasing. 



One of these concepts was about getting an ‘Integral insight into the condition of the rental properties’ within a database or dashboard. For each property, there is available information such as technical data (e.g. floor plan), condition score and repair history. Based on this information, Havensteder can (immediately after rent termination) make a good estimate of the complexity, make a prognosis of the size of the mutation maintenance and estimate which roles are required, which makes it possible to look holistically and integrally at maintenance work.


Roles and responsibilities

We presented different ‘scenarios’ with pros and cons on how to divide roles and responsibilities internally. For each scenario, it became clear what the implications of a particular setup would be. For instance, one particular scenario would have significant organisational implications based on role shuffling and responsibilities and potential dissatisfaction among rental agents. In another scenario, the budget manager would not have the directing role over mutation maintenance, which could cause problems.


Board meeting

The team advised the board to make choices based on a clear vision regarding which challenges (reducing vacancy, budget control or tenant satisfaction) are most important. Without a clear vision, it is easier to decide how the desired to-be rental process should look like. Once there is a clear vision, this can be translated to the different layers of the organization, and employees know what is expected of them. From here, Havensteder can make a clear choice about the setup and distribution of roles and responsibilities.

Current experience journey of the stakeholders

Koos was able to expose the nerve which touches the foundation of our organisation.

— Arvid van Dam Project leader of the Maintenance and Development Staff (O&O), Havensteder

One step closer to experiencing an optimised rental process

Through this project, it became clear that budget shifts go hand in hand with responsibility shifts. And with that, it is essential to involve employees in changes by communicating openly and transparently. By presenting the various scenarios regarding the roles and responsibilities with advantages and disadvantages, it became clear that the board of directors had to choose the desired direction of implementation for the fulfilment of roles and responsibilities.


In addition, with the help of 14 innovative concepts, the processes surrounding lease termination, maintenance, and new leasing can be improved further on. Havensteder is currently concretising these concepts and integrating their implementation within existing project implementation structures.

The approach

There were two phases within this project: understand and imagine.


To solve the right problem, we had to get familiar with the internal organisation and current situation. We executed eight in-depth interviews with tenants (4 new tenants and 4 recently departed tenants) and four focus groups with different stakeholders (incl. contractors, rental agents, asbestos experts, and back-office employees). Based on this input, we were able to create need-based profiles and map the current journey from the perspective of the different stakeholders.

If I can't assume that the property will be delivered on time and with good quality, I'll hold off on new rentals.

Rental agent

The next imagine phase

Building on the previous stage, we identified several areas of opportunity. Now, to solve the problem correctly, we organised an ideation session.

In this co-creating session, the group generated ideas for improvements and developed 14 new concepts that could improve the processes surrounding lease termination, maintenance and new leasing. 

The ideal rental process
a concept sheet regarding a dashboard with information about each rental property (e.g. maintenance history, technical information, etc.)

Design process

To arrive at a good solution from innovation, it is essential to go through the design process. However, this process comes with uncertainty because, in the beginning, you don’t always know what the result will be. At Koos, we use Service Design to design or improve a service. This is by applying design tools and methods practically and creatively. Continuous steps of diverging (creating options) and converging (making choices) create solutions and help navigate through uncertainty. It is a customer-centric and iterative process; with each iteration, you gain more and more knowledge. Using Service Design ensures that we create solutions that actually solve the most critical problem in the best way possible.

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