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Make things right campaign

Posted02.11.23

Housing issue? Learn how to make things right

People living in social housing may experience a range of issues with their home that can seriously impact their health and well-being.

In fact, currently around a third of social housing residents are experiencing problems with their housing. These include damp or mould issues, repairs not being carried out or being carried out poorly, disability adaptations not being made correctly, antisocial behaviour, and being unhappy with the general level of service from their landlord.

Many of these issues are things that people report back to us after they have moved out of Evolve and into their own places. Not only is it everyone’s right to have a home that is safe and well-maintained, but not having one can increase the risk of homelessness. If people are living independently for the first time in a poor-quality home, it can make sustaining the tenancy more difficult. People may revert to unhealthy coping mechanisms, fall out with landlords, or simply choose unreliable accommodation like sofa surfing instead.

That is why the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) campaign, Make Things Right, is so important.

This campaign aims to ensure that individuals living in social housing and dealing with housing issues are well-informed about their rights, understand the complaint process, and feel empowered to voice their concerns with confidence. This will make them better able to create the homes that they want.

There are several key obstacles that prevent residents from effectively addressing their housing issues. Many of them don’t know how to navigate the process and feel like their concerns won’t be heard or that nothing will change even if they speak up. These barriers are even more challenging for individuals who face additional hurdles, like living with a disability, speaking English as a second language, or not having access to digital resources. These factors can make it particularly tough for them to engage with the system and assert their rights when dealing with housing problems.

Make Things Right seeks to provide guidance and support to residents to help them voice their complaints and enhance the quality of their living conditions.

Know the steps to get an issue fixed

Step 1 – Report it to your landlord

Report the issue 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 council housing, contact your council. If you live in a housing association home, check your contract for contact details.

Step 2 – 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 process. Landlords must take your complaint seriously and cannot punish you in any way for raising a problem or making a complaint.

Most landlords have 2 stages to their complaints process:

Stage 1: They must respond within 10 working days of a complaint being logged.

Stage 2: If a complaint goes to stage 2, they must respond within 20 working days.

Landlords will send you a final response, which may explain how they plan to fix things.

Step 3 – 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. They are free to use, impartial and will investigate fairly.

You can also:

Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Telephone: 0300 111 3000

Investigations take six months on average but can be faster or slower, depending on the case. The Ombudsman will check the facts and be thorough.

When the Ombudsman investigates and rules against a landlord, they must show they are acting within 6-8 weeks.

Last year (April 2022 to March 2023), the Ombudsman ordered landlords to pay over £1 million in compensation to residents.

Know your rights, visit gov.uk/social-housing

Need more help?

Citizens Advice, Shelter and other advice organisations offer free and impartial advice on housing issues, including your right to raise your issue through the courts. You can also contact your local MP, councillor, or Tenants Panel to see if they can help.

Dealing with housing problems can be stressful. If you want to talk to someone, contact NHS mental health services or speak to a mental health charity.

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