Social housing residents urged to report poor conditions

damp and mouldy wall next to radiator
Image © Shutterstock

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has launched a campaign urging social housing tenants to complain about substandard housing.

The Make Things Right advertising campaign will encourage residents to make their voices heard by making a complaint to their landlord in the first instance and then escalating to the Housing Ombudsman if they are unhappy with the landlord’s final response.

The campaign follows action to protect tenants in social housing, including time limits for landlords to investigate and fix damp and mould under Awaab’s Law and mandatory qualifications for social housing managers.

The national campaign will see advertisements using images of black mould and leaking ceilings run across social media platforms including neighbourhood app NextDoor, and on radio stations and streaming platforms like Spotify.

The campaign will also fund training in 2 pilot areas – London and the North West – so they can support more residents who have problems in their homes.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:

Too many social housing tenants are being let down and ignored. This government is determined to stand up for them and give them a proper voice. They deserve a decent, safe and secure home, just like everybody else.

So we are shining a light on rogue landlords that ignore their tenants time and again and allow families to live in disrepair.

This campaign will make sure tenants know their rights and how to make a complaint – giving them the confidence to go to the Ombudsman and ensure action is taken.

Social housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa said:

What we’ve learnt is that social housing in the UK is far from where it should be, and tenants have been monumentally let down whilst enduring terrible living conditions.

It’s clear things must change, this campaign is the start of that. The campaign makes clear that disrepair issues from damp and mould to collapsed ceilings must be fixed. Tenants have a right to complain and be listened to, treated with dignity, fairness and respect but most of all live in a house they can call a home.

Findings from the government’s social housing resident panel – bringing together over 200 residents across the country – found 65% of members said their experiences of raising complaints with their landlord had been unsatisfactory. Some of the key issues residents raised include:

  • the time taken for complaints to be addressed and resolved
  • disrespectful conduct, lack of communication, or inaccuracy of information experienced during previous complaints process
  • lack of repercussions for landlords if residents are not taken seriously or complaints are not resolved satisfactorily
  • burden and complexity of the complaints process

The campaign will run across England from today until the end of April and will give tenants key information about their rights, the responsibilities of their landlord, and give step-by-step advice about how to make a complaint.