Clarion Housing, the largest housing association in the UK, has been in the spotlight for months after an ITV News investigation exposed the poor living conditions of its tenants. The association’s Director of Housing, Vicky Bonner, issued an apology addressed to the residents and the public.
In a video that was uploaded on the housing association’s website, Bonner said the residents were not getting the kind of service they deserved. She also admitted that the standard was not on par with what Clarion wanted to provide. She then said sorry to the tenants.
Clarion’s response came after an ITV News investigation that came out earlier this year that showed several of the association’s residents sharing their appalling experiences living in a property with extensive disrepair. Some of the 500 tenants in the Eastfields Estate featured in the story pointed out damp issues, holes in ceilings and walls, and rodent infestation as contributing to their terrible living conditions.
Residents’ disrepair complaints
One of the Clarion residents who spoke up said that the hole in her home has been there since her tenancy started, which was 27 years ago. Janet Amedline also showed the ITV team her bathroom – that looked like it was about to crumble, and the black mould that had taken over her ceiling. Rats moving around the house also keep her wide awake at night.
Another Eastfields Estate resident, Juliet Arthur, pays Clarion £1,300 a month for a home that is in absolute disrepair. The lights on the top floor of the house aren’t functioning, including those in the children’s bedroom and their family bathroom. Juliet said this has been their situation ever since their ceiling collapsed because of unrepaired leaks. Her son was doing his homework when the incident happened, so she and her husband are also in constant fear for the safety of her children.
The Arthurs have been living in their Eastfields rented home for eight months – it has been that long since their ceiling collapsed. No repairs have yet been made on the disrepair in their home. Like Janet, Juliet has contacted Clarion several times since they first discovered the disrepairs.
Clarion’s Bonner, after learning about Janet and Juliet’s situation, responded that the Eastfields Estate has been set for restoration but plans haven’t progressed so far. She further stated that regeneration and demolition may be the ideal solution for the problems of an estate that is nearing its life’s end.
Nevertheless, Bonner assured residents that the repairs will be dealt with accordingly and even promised that representatives from the association will be knocking on the door of every tenant to check for their disrepair issues.
Clarion has established other plans and actions as well, including the building of an onsite estate office that residents can visit anytime they need to discuss housing and tenancy concerns. Additionally, the association has also created an email address where tenants can send their requests for – and reports on – repairs.
The ITV news investigation
The exposé on Clarion is just one of the several specials that ITV News featured in its investigation of the miserable living conditions of social housing residents. The first feature was aired in March this year and highlighted the disrepair in the home of Croydon Council tenants. UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick was alarmed with what he saw and immediately ordered the council to respond to the investigation’s findings.
As a result of the investigation, the Croydon Council was declared to have breached the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard; one of the standards that registered social housing providers are expected to follow.
Many tenants prefer to rent from housing associations because of the affordable rates, which are ideal for residents with low income. These providers offer significantly cheaper rentals compared to private landlords. However, it has its own downsides, particularly when it comes to the availability of properties. The waiting list for housing association homes is long – thousands of individuals and families are waiting in line to get the property that could be their new home.
The other downside is the many issues of disrepair, as is painted by the ITV News investigation. As associations continue to neglect their repair obligations, more and more tenants are forced to live in the worst conditions possible. Several of them have had to cope with the health risks of these disrepairs. So, the ITV News investigation is an eye-opener for everyone – the housing associations, other landlords, housing authorities, and government leaders.
Disrepair in your home
If your home has disrepair issues, you shouldn’t wait any moment longer to report the problems to your landlord. It is your right and responsibility to immediately inform them about what’s happening. Be sure to gather some proof of the issues and show them to your landlord. Take photos and videos, and document your experience in writing. If your landlord fails to respond or take any action after 21 days, you can use these as evidence when filing a housing disrepair claim.
Don’t allow your landlord to ignore your repair requests. Don’t allow yourself to go through what Janet and Juliet are now experiencing. Find a team of housing compensation claim experts, such as the ones at Disrepair Claim, and start getting back what all the disrepair in your home has cost you.