members.parliament.uk Michael Gove https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

07 Mar 23

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is urging tenants to complain about sub-standard housing with the government’s ‘Make Things Right’ advertising campaign.

Social housing residents are being encouraged to make 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 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 in several languages.

The campaign will also fund training for Citizens Advice staff in two pilot areas – London and the North West.

Gove says: “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.”

Findings from the government’s social housing resident panel – bringing together over 200 residents across the country – has found that 65 per cent 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 Housing Secretary has also today demanded answers from Lambeth Council about its failure to handle complaints, following a severe maladministration finding from the Housing Ombudsman earlier this month calling for radical improvements on damp and mould and complaint handling. This comes a year after the publication of a special report into Lambeth following numerous complaint handling failure orders.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says almost a third of all social renters considered making a complaint in 2020-21, but 27 per cent chose not to because they thought nothing would be done in response.

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