ITV News in a series of broadcasts have given social (ahem) landlords a bit of a deserved kicking recently. The video footage of severe damp and black mould that Clarion Housing Group has known since 2015 yet done nothing about and its tenants told it will be another 5 years at least until something is done is but one example of a catalogue of abuse by social (ahem) landlords on tenants.
The Mother who says her daughter begged her NOT to be interviewed as her friends would see the shit hole state of her Guinness Housing property, a property her daughter refuses to bring any of her friend to see because of the black mould and damp is classic mental abuse as well as financial abuse that the landlord could possibly get away with charging rent on such a shit hole.
I use shit hole throughout this piece to describe properties that are dilapidated, injurious to mental and physical health and ones that are unfit for human habitation. There is no better or more apt term to use.
The fact that the board of Clarion Housing Group saw fit to award Claire Miller the chief executive with a £39k per year bonus on top of her £350k basic salary for knowingly operating these shit holes is just another point. That board includes the former Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell and the former chief executive of the housing association lobby NHF in David Orr CBE to make the arguments that (a) abuse of tenants is structural (no pun intended) and that the largest and leading social (sic) landlords and their boards (b) don’t give a toss about it, are easily and readily made.
When the current chief executive of the NHF Kate Henderson says that (a) severe damp and black mould only affects “around 5%” of HA properties, and (b) that residents FELT not listened to – we really see the extreme couldn’t-give-a-shit-ness that is the culture of social landlords coming to the fore.
In one of these ITV News broadcasts Kate Henderson states:
On the money paid to chief executives, Ms Henderson said: “Salaries of housing association chief executives are set by independent boards, various boards often have residents on them and they are comparable in the not-for-profit charitable sector.”https://www.itv.com/news/2021-06-24/national-housing-federation-sorry-for-unacceptable-living-conditions-exposed-by-itv-news
Kate Henderson fails to mention those “independent boards” comprise Gavin Barwell and David Orr in the case of Clarion who awarded Claire Miller a £39k bonus for operating these shit holes!
5% of English HA properties is 125,000 houses of their 2.5m total comprising 300,000 men, women and children who are subjected to these abuses which apparently is fine according to Kate Henderson as her member housing associations have fewer properties in severe disrepair than council or private landlords. Her statement that residents FELT they were not listened to rather than being not listened to at all for many years is an outrageous narrative yet regrettably so, so typical of the social landlord culture that the social rented sector simply refuses to believe.
However, the ITV News broadcasts have shown the video footage of severe damp, black mould, other severe disrepair and rat and mice infestations and even the social housing ‘professional’ cannot unsee what has been seen.
This is Abuse!
The latest ITV News broadcast showed a Guinness HA tenant Angela Price who was begged not to tell her reality to ITV News by her daughter who has never brought any of her friends back to their shit hole. The Mother must feel she has failed her child by forcing her to live in such a property and as well as subjecting the child she bore to ingesting damp spores every day and night, a physical health condition, her daughter suffers the mental anguish of not being able to bring her friends into her home, as does her Mother. That is physical and mental abuse. The fact she is charged for the privilege to subsist in a property that is unfit for human habitation is financial abuse by the landlord to the tenant. Imagine if that was your child reader!?
How about the numerous Clarion tenants in the previous ITV News broadcasts who are working two and in some cases three jobs to afford the £1300 per month / £300 per week shit holes to have the pleasure of living in ‘scarce social housing’ that is severely damp and black mould ridden properties as well as having mice infestations and rats scurrying above their heads every night while they try to sleep. That is also mental abuse and financial abuse from a purportedly social landlord -one which rewards its chief executive with a £39,000 per year bonus to operating these shit holes.
Does their landlord chief executive being financially rewarded for this exacerbate the mental abuse and anguish that Clarion tenants feel? You bet it will do. Does the 6 years to date of these abuses and being told it will be at least a further 5 years exacerbate these Clarion abuses? You bet it does! Does the NHF chief executive seeking to downplay these abuses exacerbate these abuses and make all tenants think that housing association landlords do not give a shit? You bet it does.
The purportedly social landlords need to wake up and smell the coffee and own these abuses. The Kate Henderson NHF narrative of it is only 5% (a mere 300,000 men, women and children subjected to abuse) and seeking to deny that landlords don’t listen is the damage limitation strategy of the incompetent buffoon. It aptly yet unfortunately describes the Teflon bubble within a Teflon bubble within a Teflon bubble that characterises the social rented sector to any criticism of social landlords however substantiated and however the videos or other fact proves.
The social (sic) rented sector has been found out. It has been exposed for what it has become which is as crass in its commercial focus as the private rented sector treating tenants as cash cows to be abused. It takes 50 years to build a good reputation but just 5 minutes to lose it and that is what has happened here with the ITV News broadcasts that nobody can unsee. The same old same old damage limitation exercises will no longer wash and the NHF and the rest of the social rented sector have badly misjudged this shit show they have caused with their shit hole properties.
The scandalous and appallingly judged NHF news release is here
NB: £5.7bn spent on repairs AND maintenance and English HAs make >£6bn pa in profit on their £22.1 bn turnover.
UPDATE 30 June 2021
Following a response which asked where did the “around 5%”National Housing Federation figure originate for ‘some kind of damp or mould problem’ as above I looked at the authoritative English Housing Survey for 2019/20 which said: –
“In 2019, 12% of dwellings in the social rented sector failed to meet the Decent
Homes Standard. This is lower than the proportion of private rented (23%) and
owner occupied (16%) homes.”
The same EHS goes on to say ‘damp’ as one category is in 4% of socially rented homes but what about black mould (aka abusive properties?) It seems that Kate Henderson and the NHF are selectively using data and known errors of commission and omission once more … Plus Ca Change!