HA Service Charges, Rent Strike, Tenant & Resident Democracy

OHG – OMG! Another Strike Win!

A second strike victory for a SHAC Rent and Service Charge Strike member has been secured, this time at One Housing Group (OHG).

Striker Chris Jones reported

“As a result of my strike letter, they have repaired the damage faster than ever and offered me compensation. I understand that the compensation being offered is also higher than the standard amount. This time they have acknowledged all of their failings.

Their sudden willingness to fix and compensate is a result of me joining the SHAC group and formally instructing them that I am on a Service Charge strike.

Chris Jones

Mr Jones withheld part of his service charge after making several attempts to get a leak in a communal area of his block repaired. It took contractors three visits to the block before they adequately identified and addressed the source of the problem. Mr Jones also experienced the usual difficulties communicating with the landlord, adding to the stress caused.

On receiving the strike notification letter from Mr Jones, OHG finally admitted failing to address what should have been a simple repair job.

After reviewing the repair history and the out of hours reports, it appears that [the contractor] failed to diagnose the source and severity of the leak after their initial two visits. This has been discussed with them. Please accept my apologies for this oversight and we will ensure that in future, their attendance at site is more responsive.

Having investigated your complaint and from the information available to me, I have decided that your complaint is upheld. This is due to our failure in not responding to your emails reporting this repair and the delay in resolving the leak.

One Housing Group

Chris Jones accepted the apology and compensation but is clear that he will re-use the strike tactic in future, withholding service charges if further problems occur and the landlord fails to respond appropriately.

Mr Jones pledged “based on my experience now, this is the only language that the landlord understands. It shouldn’t be like this. We should be able to get a response without resorting to such extreme tactics, but they have unfortunately forced our hands”.

No Excuses for One Housing Group

OHG is one of the larger UK housing associations, with an annual turnover of £213.3 million. Despite their wealth, the organisation has experienced a number of problems as evidenced by low staff morale and lack of faith in the leadership recently leaked by SHAC (OHG Leaders Slammed by Own Staff).

Their financial fortunes also took a hit after Steve Douglas (above) became Chair in 2017 and Richard Hill (left) joined as chief executive a year later. The pair managed to rapidly turn a pre-tax surplus of £82 million as at March 2017 into a deficit of £8.6 million in 2020 (One Housing Passes the Buck for Financial Failings).

SHAC Rent and Service Charge Strike Group

The SHAC Rent and Service Charge Strike Group was set up to coordinate tenants and residents of different housing associations who want to withhold payments in protest at their landlord’s failings. A total of 17 landlords have been affected by tenant and resident strike action.

The SHAC@OHG group meets monthly to discussion actions. You can see more details here.

This is the second strike victory to be reported, the previous win involving Clarion strikers: First Rent Strike Victory Declared!

12 July 2021

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