SHAC@Clarion

See our Events page for the date and time of the next group meeting.

SHAC@Clarion was formed to campaign for a better deal for tenants and residents of this giant landlord. It now has its own Steering Group of Clarion tenants to direct campaigning.

Register here (free) to receive invitations to our online meetings: www.shaction.org/shac-registration/

The Cyber Attack

Clarion suffered a cyber attack on 17th June which affected a number of online systems and possibly involved a breach of tenant and resident personal data. If you are a Clarion tenant or resident, please see our guidance on staying safe from cyber threats following a possible data breach of tenant and resident information, and how to respond if you spot unusual activity in your bank account.

We have sent the open letter below to Marcus Jones, Minister for Housing, and Fiona MacGregor, chief executive of the Regulator of Social Housing. Please download and send it on to your own MP and ask them to raise it with him. The more people who do this, the more pressure he will come under to act. You can find your MP here.

You can also forward the letter to your local press who might pick it up, especially if you are on a large Clarion estate.

We received a response from the Housing Minister on the 14th September, as follows:

Time to Add Pressure!

Campaigning by SHAC and other groups and individuals is beginning to take its toll on Clarion’s reputation. Which means it is time to increase the pressure!

The Housing Ombudsman is carrying out an investigation into Clarion after finding the landlord guilty of ‘Severe Maladministration’ (click the link on the right for details).

This, and the constant bad press against Clarion has finally forced Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to write to Clarion admonishing them for their failings (click the link on the right to see the letter).

Please take two actions to help add pressure for government to act:

  • Contact the Housing Ombudsman: If you are not satisfied with your treatment by Clarion, and have already tried to resolve it directly without satisfaction, escalate your complaint to the Ombudsman here. See here for guidance.
  • Contact the Secretary of State: Write to Michael Gove telling him about your problems with Clarion. Use the email address michael.gove@communities.gov.uk. On the email, we advise using the heading ‘Re: Clarion Housing‘.

If you would find it helpful, we have set out a draft text with space for you to add a description of your situation. 

Dear Michael Gove MP

I have been a tenant / resident of Clarion Housing Group for [x] years. I welcome your letter to Clarion of 23rd May which criticised the association’s management of the Eastfields Estate. 

I wish to highlight the fact that Eastfields is not an isolated case and I have set out below my own account to add to your evidence.

My situation is … [add details of your experience]

I do not believe that Clarion is capable of reform under its current leadership. Government must now act to bring Clarion to account, and to change the way that it operates. Tenants and residents must get fair treatment now before conditions deteriorate further.

Yours sincerely

[Your name] 

We need to let Michael Gove and the Ombudsman see the full picture, not just cases that have been bad enough to generate press interest. If we coordinate, we can create enough pressure to force Government to intervene and get better treatment for all. 

As Clarion is the biggest housing association in the UK, this would be a significant victory and send a warning to all other housing associations.

Please help by taking a few moments to write to the Ombudsman and Secretary of State.

The Wall of Protest

It’s a simple but powerful idea – SHAC@Clarion members are hanging flags from their windows imploring the landlord to ‘See Us, Hear Us’. We want Clarion to speak to SHAC about a series of demands to address the systemic problems members are experiencing.

  • See our Wall of Protest
  • Hear SHAC@Clarion members and SHAC Secretary interviewed on BBC Radio here.
  • To get involved, contact shac.action@gmail.com.
  • See the photos and film of our protest outside Clarion’s waterfront fortress head office on the 7th May here.
  • Download the Clarion Call leaflet.

The Clarion Leaseholders Service Charge ‘Strike’

Leaseholders of Clarion living on an estate in west London are withholding payment of service charge increases after they were sent bills raising costs by up to 382%. See the full story here.

The #ClarionMoreThanYouCanBear Campaign

On the 19th May, Clarion held a meeting open to all tenants and residents. It went under the patronising title of ‘More Than You Think’ and allowed attendees to hear about how their landlord was doing more than they realise for residents’ benefit.

We believe that this event was a response to SHAC’S ‘Clarion Wall of Protest: See Us, Hear Us’ campaign. Tenants and residents from across the Clarion estate joined us to highlight the hypocrisy of this carefully stage-managed PR stunt. Fortunately the Clarion advert was easily adaptable and we thought it would be rude not to exploit the opportunity. We therefore created eight graphics to that were shared widely on social media in the run up to the meeting.

Our Demands

The primary improvements needed at Clarion relate to:

  • Repairs
  • Maintenance
  • Genuine tenant and resident engagement
  • Rents
  • Service charges

An Association Awash with Resources

Clarion may plead economic necessity for reducing the quality of services and rejecting decent pay increases for staff outside the executive elite, but the reality is that this giant landlord is awash with funds.

Clarion’s Financial Statement for 2019 boasts “We have increased our turnover by 3% and our operating surplus for the year by 4%”, in both cases beating inflation. They continue:

“Our operating surplus increased to £293 million (2019: £282 million) and our net surplus increased to £168 million (2019: £154 million) with operating and net margins remaining in line with the prior year at 35% and 20% respectively”

This level of growth would be making headlines if Clarion were a privately listed (FTSE 100) company, and shareholders would certainly be celebrating.

While tenants are squeezed to pay yet more for services, there is little prudence when it comes to setting executive salaries. Almost sixty senior staff are paid more than £100,000 per year. The Chief Executive receives a basic salary of £392,339, and got a bonus of almost £40,000 – more than some staff received for a full time job within the organisation. Clare Miller is reportedly the third highest-paid CEO of any English housing association.

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