The social rented sector is as hypocritical as it gets. It rightly emphasises the huge importance of the stability of a good quality and genuinely affordable social housing property gives and roundly and loudly pats itself on the back. Not a problem with that nor can there be.
However when bad social housing (that is unaffordable too) is exposed as in a recent series of ITV News broadcasts the ‘sector’ seeks to blame anyone and everyone else and scrambles for excuses instead. That is rank duplicity and hypocrisy.
The ITV News broadcasts revealed not just unfit for human habitation properties but actual abuse of tenants by some of the largest social (ahem) landlords. You can’t unsee what you have seen and the social rented ‘sector’ cannot spin their way out of this by creating false narratives or seeking excuses, it has to own the problem and do something about it.
I will not stop reminding the ‘sector’ that they are shithouses seeking to excuse their shit houses when they say that “tenants felt not listened to” which was the truly offensive narrative of Kate Henderson; or when Alistair MacIntosh shamelessly says Government must cough up more money to address the issue and ever so conveniently forgets to mention the £37 billion coughed up by Government in the Decent Homes Programme.
Dear social housing professional:-
- Imagine for a second that the ITV News broadcasts were about PRS landlords and imagine the howls of outrage from the SRS at the audacity of the private landlord arguing for more government money to operate fit for human habitation properties, or saying that tenants FELT not listened to when the broadcast revealed those landlord to be as deaf as a post to tenants legitimate concerns over years and years!
- Imagine if Angela Price was a private landlord’s tenant not a SRS tenant whose daughter begged her not to talk to ITV as it would reveal the shit hole she and her daughter live in and a shit hole to which her daughter has always refused to bring her friends to because it was a shit hole?
Would you be outraged? Would you be saying these landlords are criminals and should be taken to court and never allowed to rent properties ever again? Would you be calling this the abuse it is?
There is and never can be any excuse for these shit hole properties. There is and never can be any excuse for the abuse perpetrated on tenants by Clarion, Guinness or any other purportedly social landlord, or indeed any social or private landlord. Yet Alistair MacIntosh of HQN is saying this here:
ITV won’t go away till we spend money. In a way that makes them our best friend. Let’s put a price on turning the homes we are ashamed of into ones we can all be proud of. How should we split the bill between landlords and the government? That’s never an easy dilemma to resolve.https://hqnetwork.co.uk/news/opinion-we-must-find-the-cash-to-fix-the-problem-of-poor-housing-5365
Let’s be clear this is abuse and not just abusive practise. The Angela Price tenant experience screams abuse not ‘merely’ abusive practises.
Let’s also not kid ourselves that these shit holes are atypical or minimal as Kate Henderson the Nat Fed chief executive tried by saying this is only around 5% of housing association properties. Five percent of 2.5 million English HA properties is 125,000 shit hole properties affecting 300,000 or so men, women and children who live in HA shit hole properties. That is not a small number or a fact to be minimised as excuse or explanation. It is the shameful state of play and context of what is mistermed social housing and thoroughly asocial.
To those social housing ‘professionals’ ready to respond with the How dare you say that arguments / blaming the messenger strategy I ask what the fuck are you doing in social housing and get the fuck out of it if you are happy that tenants are abused by any such landlords.
You cannot throw stones when you live in glass houses.
I have no doubt the vast majority of social housing is NOT the shit holes that ITV News has exposed yet 300 social tenants being abused is never acceptable, neither is 300 or 30 or 3 but by the pen of the chief executive of the National Housing Federation, it is 300,000 men, women and children who are abused in housing association shit holes. IF that is replicated in council housing it takes the figure to 500,000 men, women and children across all ‘social’ housing just in England who are abused and living in shit holes.
That can never be excused or attempted to explained away so casually and glibly as Kate Henderson has tried. It can never be blamed on a lack of funding as Alistair MacIntosh has stated and who also conveniently omits that housing association in England have for the past four years made in excess of £6 billion per year in profits on turnover of £22 billion per year.
There is no acceptable excuse or ever can be for the abuse of tenants, of half a million men, women and children in England alone. Stop blaming the messenger. Start owning the problem and get your head out of your arse that is hiding behind the myth of social purpose and stop glibly saying the litmus test is would I live there and simply saying No but then doing sod all about it or even worse defending it!