Adobe Sign for housing associations – saving time, money and resources
With today’s technology, housing associations can revolutionise the way they work with quicker processes that improve the experience for both tenants and employees – ultimately allowing you to house tenants faster and more efficiently.
Adobe Sign makes it easy for anyone in your housing association to send documents for e-signatures – a legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms. Adobe e-signatures are legally binding and enforceable in almost every industrialised country in the world. With just a few clicks, your organisation can send documents internally or externally. You can then track each document’s status and signed documents are returned 21x faster – saving your organisation time and money.
In this blog, we’re going to be looking at Platform Housing Association’s journey to Adobe Sign and the huge benefits they’ve experienced since making the move to Adobe Sign, including:
- Decreased travel, saving staff hours of time, reducing health risks and keeping services moving during the pandemic.
- Saved three hours per agreement in contract management and more than £86,000 in travel costs in less than a year.
- Improved tenant experiences with new digital onboarding workflows and fast leasing process.
- Established a central, digital customer touchpoint with Microsoft Dynamics and Adobe Sign
Who is Platform Housing Association?
Platform Housing Group is a not-for-profit housing association with diverse properties mostly located across the Midlands region of England. The organisation embraces technology as part of its mission to transform social housing with better homes and services at affordable prices.
The need for change
When local authorities alert Platform Housing Group that someone from the social housing waiting list has expressed interest in a property, the potential tenant submits an application with personal information and references to Platform Housing Group for approval. That application is available as a simple online form, allowing tenants to submit paperwork at any time and from any device.
However final contracts and agreements were typically reviewed and signed in person and could take hours. A member of the Platform Housing leasing team would need to prepare two copies of the agreement and drive to the property. With properties located across the Midlands, staff could spend an hour or longer on the road. After viewing the property, the leasing team member would sit down with the tenants to finalise paperwork — a process that could take another hour — before handing over the keys and driving back to the office.
Lisa Gascoyne, Group Strategic Lettings Manager at Platform Housing Group had been exploring options to streamline this process through technology. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for a digital transformation to reduce contact between tenants and Platform Housing Group employees.
“One of the biggest reasons we selected Adobe Sign over competing solutions was its ease of use,” says Gascoyne. “Tenants find it easy to use. They can just go online and submit a form in real time, without needing to deal with the post. But it’s also easy for us. I met with another team to teach them how to set up online forms with signatures using Adobe Sign and the training only lasted half an hour. It was that simple.”
Since making the move to Adobe Sign, tenancy agreements are now entirely contactless. The leasing team sends a copy of the agreement through Adobe Sign. Potential tenants can view the agreement, update information and sign the agreement from any device. Because the document is available electronically, they can read through the terms at their leisure and sign the agreement at any time of day or night. Adobe Sign adds a level of security to this electronic process with an audit trail that tracks and records interactions to help authenticate the signature.
Once signed, Platform Housing Group sends potential tenants the code to a key safe at the property. A member of the leasing team phones tenants as they view the property to answer questions and confirm if a tenant wants to move in. If the tenant agrees to take the property, that’s it. With paperwork already signed and keys in hand, tenants can start preparing for their move immediately.
“Working with Adobe Sign to deliver digital contracts saves the leasing team up to three hours per agreement,” says Gascoyne. “That adds up to a savings of £56,000 for the 1,478 tenancy agreements completed with Adobe Sign so far. We’ve also reissued over 800 tenancy agreements electronically, which saves an additional £30,000 in travel time alone. We’re getting tenants into properties faster, which is good for us and more importantly, fantastic for our tenants.”
Redefining the tenant experience
Adobe Sign is just one part of a larger digital transformation at Platform Housing Group aimed at providing better service for tenants. The digital tenancy agreement has inspired the leasing team to look at new ways of approaching tenancy with a digital onboarding journey. Rather than overwhelming tenants with information all at once while reviewing the tenancy agreement, the leasing team creates a virtual conversation with a steady stream of messaging to help tenants better absorb information leading up to viewing a property.
Other teams across Platform Housing Group are also looking to move forms into Adobe Sign. This includes tenant-facing forms, such as when tenants want to give notice about moving out, to internal paperwork for finance and human resources teams.
Platform Housing Group plans to implement Microsoft Dynamics to create a customer touchpoint to collect all tenant interactions, from submitting an application form, to storing anti-social-behaviour statements. Platform Housing Group also plans to take advantage of the seamless integration between Adobe Sign and Microsoft Dynamics to provide employees with a single interface for generating documents, sending them for signature and tracking document status.
“The digital transformation with Adobe Sign has prompted us to continue to rethink how we can provide more available, efficient services,” says Gascoyne. “We want to become the landlord of choice in England by balancing commercial needs with social conscience. Adobe Sign is a good first step to providing tenants with the modern, customer-friendly services they deserve.” She continues “I’ve worked in housing for a long time and it’s exciting to see how technology can help us to get people into houses faster.”.