Rohana* has contacted SHAC. She tells us about the appalling conditions that her sister and her severely disabled nephew are having to endure. Her landlord is Peabody and they are refusing to repair the leak causing the damp and mould. The photos show the kitchen ceiling before and after it collapsed. The kitchen is no longer usable.
The trauma inflicted on Rohana’s family as a consequence of the disrepairs is so severe that Rohana has had to resign from her job. They have tried to get help from Peabody, the local MP, councillors, environmental health, Housing Ombudsman, and various other agencies. They get sympathy but no action.
Peabody has twice closed her sister’s complaints without resolution. “Peabody’s treatment of my family is dehumanising.” says Rohana, and continues:
Peabody is refusing to investigate or address the water leaking from the flat upstairs which is causing the damage because they say that the resident of that flat upstairs has not reported the leak themselves.”
Such bizarre and illogical excuses are still too often presented by housing association landlords to justify inaction, and will be familiar to tenants and residents whose lives are similarly blighted by disrepairs.
Taking Action on Disrepairs
The prevalence of such cases led SHAC campaigners to take their message to the Social Housing Finance Conference on the 10th May. The response of the conference organisers was to put security on red alert. It was the launch of SHAC’s Action on Disrepairs campaign and other protests will follow later in the year.
The gathering of financial decision-makers in the housing association sector also provided an opportunity to raise the profile of high rents and extortionate service charges, and the general disregard by the sector for its tenants and residents. These issues after all share a common cause – the economic model that now underpins social housing in Britain.
Our central message was that housing associations must do better. As the next general election appears over the horizon, SHAC will be refreshing its housing demands and putting them to candidates seeking office in 2024.
The need to build tenant and resident self-organisation is critically important. It is required for influencing the level of attention given to housing in political manifestos. It is also necessary for communities of tenants and residents to resolve their disputes with landlords directly, and without having to approach an intermediary. This will remain a high priority for SHAC.
* Not her real name.
Some brilliant people
Some brilliant placards and banners
And the Mobile Billboard
10 May 2023
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