Money Wellness
Image of mould growing up a wall in a home
category iconHousing
calendar icon11 Oct 2023

Social housing tenants urged to report failing landlords

The government is empowering social housing tenants to report unacceptable living conditions and failing landlords to ensure living conditions can be improved across the country.  

Through the ‘Make Things Right’ campaign, the government aims to highlight the support that’s available to tenants living in poorly maintained properties. It wants tenants to feel comfortable challenging their living conditions with landlords and aware that if issues aren’t resolved, they have the right to escalate their complaints to the Housing Ombudsman who’ll take action on their behalf.

The campaign follows the tragic death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak who died from a respiratory condition caused by ‘extensive’ mould in the one-bedroom flat where he lived with his parents in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

It’s important that social housing tenants know and understand their rights, given that 10% of these types of homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard last year. It’s also a  serious wake up call to landlords that tenants have the right to live in safe homes and they work harder to provide better living standards for their residents.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove, said: “Social landlords who fail their residents time and time again must be held to account.

The Make Things Right campaign gives residents a greater voice to bring about real change – making sure they know their rights and stand up to bad landlords and go to the Ombudsman when issues remain unresolved.

“Our Social Housing Act is now law and Awaab’s Law remains a firm reminder of the importance for all tenants to have the right to live in safe and decent homes while being treated with fairness and respect.”

What should you do if your property is below standard?

If you live in social housing and you have an issue with your home or your landlord, there’re ways to make things right.

To get an issue sorted, you can:

Report it to your landlord – Most landlords have a website with a form to fill in, as well as an email address or phone number you can use.

If you live in a council house, contact your local council which can be found at www.gov.uk. If you live in a housing association home, check your contract for details.

Complain to your landlord – If you’ve reported an issue and it hasn’t been sorted or you’re not happy, complain to your landlord. They should have a website explaining their complaints procedure.

Landlords must take your complaint seriously and can’t punish you in any way for raising a problem or making a complaint.

Most landlords have two stages to their complaints process:

  • Stage one – they must respond within 10 working days of a complaint being logged
  • Stage two – If a complaint goes to stage two, they must respond within 20 working days

Landlords will send you a final response, which might explain how they’ll fix the problem.

Escalate to the Housing Ombudsman – If you’re not happy with your landlord’s final response to a complaint, escalate it to the Housing Ombudsman. It’s free to use, impartial and will investigate fairly. You can email Housing Ombudsman at [email protected] or call 0300 111 3000.

When the Housing Ombudsman investigates and rules against the landlord, they’ll have to act within 6-8 weeks to fix the problem.

You should take these steps if there’s issues such as:

  • Mould or damp
  • Poor insultation
  • Broken doors or windows
  • Leaking pipes
  • Other repairs
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Access problems
  • Poor service from a landlord
Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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