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    [submitted by Lynne Palmer, Perth]

    There should be something in the Charter re.

    1 Getting officers & staff to implement everything in the Charter.

    2 " " " " " keep to the Charter.

    3 How staff are at the "coal face" & in one to one situations. It's about the way we are treated; there could be something in the Charter.

    4 What about loop-holes caused by the way we might be treated e.g. a prospective tenant told the council he didn't want a bedsit flat, then he ended up in one. How did this happen? There should be something in the Charter to protect our rights.

    5 Staff don't understand about true participation, they do participation to fit their idea of it e.g. rent setting. ( pages 11 & 20 of Discussion Paper ).

    6 Quality-- how can you talk about good quality housing when people are living in bedsits & bedsit/kitchenettes? The Charter Discussion Paper mentions the SHQS on pages 13 & 21; but where can we contribute or give our opinions about the type of housing offered to us as tenants or the type/style of housing being built?

    7 Stigma-- it's always 'hovering about', there should be something in the Charter.

    8 Equalities-- if officers, staff & services did not stigmatise people we would be getting our human rights met & the equalities issue would be met also.

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division - 23/05/2011
    Tagged as: customer service, housing quality, equalities, allocations

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    [submitted by P.C.]

    You asked for comments. Our housing association has just passed to us an outline of what the charter will try to do to improve equality, amongst other things.

    Some comments for you to peruse -

    There may well be performance standards that housing officers have to adhere to, but I can assure you that there is not enough overseeing done of our housing officer by our housing association. Our housing officer is never seen in the building and is merely reactive, instead of being proactive. Many tenants do not pay any attention to her letters informing them of how and when they have breached their tenancy agreement and this is not followed up. Regular estate walkabouts should be brought in to force and there should be unannounced building inspections to keep an eye on things at regular intervals. If anything is seen, then the door should be knocked on and the individual dealt with on the spot, completely out of the blue. Letters are frequently not replied to, or you have to wait at least 3 weeks for a reply, from the housing officer.

    The repairs centre is also slow to get back to a tenant who has reported a fault. I would expect to be contacted within 48 hours, but this is not the case, so sometimes up to 3 phone calls have to be made to get someone out to fix a repair. A landlord should also provide a handyman service to his tenants - some properties have very high ceilings, light flexes are too short and impossible to reach to change a light bulb, for example, or to change curtains, or put up a curtain rail. Tenants should not be expected to have family or neighbours to do these jobs for them. It should not depend on your old age or your disability to get this kind of service from a social landlord.

    Homes should indeed be clean and tidy at the point of entry, but this is not happening either. The housing association I belong to gives tenants a decoration voucher and expects them to do the decoration and cleaning up for them!

    The local Council is not allocating homes fairly in my opinion. There are far too many people living in properties that are far too big for them. Their families have moved on and those of us who really need a larger property simply cannot get it, not even after several years of being on the waiting list. Those with the bigger properties are often telling lies on the council tax registration form and the council does not check the information out. This is costing the council a great deal of unnecessary money in housing benefit payouts. These people just refuse to move on. They should be made to move on to a smaller property - with no cash incentive! The council believes too easily what it is told. Many people register as homeless and they are nothing of the sort! Many tenants pretend they are separated from partner or husband because they refuse to give up the tenancy of their own 2- or 3-bed flat and because they can squeeze out from the housing benefit office a lot more money, but it is all a pretence. Not enough investigation is being done by the council to ascertain the real truth. The only people who seem to be getting re-housed quickly are genuinely homeless people and lots of foreigners from eastern Europe who have never paid into the system. More fairness to our own people needed!

    Landlords need to be much firmer regarding anti-social behaviour! It causes loss of income, deterioration of health and makes it very difficult for tenants to move house away from such a troublesome building, as I have experienced myself over the past 5 years. Because the housing association was so lax in dealing with anti-social behaviour, from 2 neighbours, these problems went on and on for over 5 years! No amount of complaining improved the situation and indeed there is still no monitoring that I can see of this neighbour still misbehaving, so the situation is still going on! Tenants are fed up with such poor service! What are tenancy agreements for? A waste of paper!

    A probationary period of at least 1 full year should be brought in for new tenancies. The population in our town centres is far too mobile and it is difficult for the authorities to trace where these tenants have gone to to retrieve money owed to them. Tenants should be evicted more easily. There are far too many excuses found to give anti-social tenants a second or third chance, making other tenants' lives a misery for far too long. The police are not robust enough in their actions.

    There needs to be much more customer participation in the monitoring, assessing and reporting on the quality of services received from the landlord, and on the quality of the service provided by the individual housing officer.

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division - 23/05/2011
    Tagged as: repairs and maintenance, customer service, housing quality, anti-social behaviour, customer participation, allocations

    1 comment

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    [Submitted by Cait Ni Cadlaig by email]


    I would suggest a lot of what I've said about communication applies. Discrimination is rife I would suggest. It is just that people don't know how or don't wish to complain. I believe that many people do not know that certain things and behaviour is now unacceptable. Particularly among the elderly I have spoken to.

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division (admin) - 3/03/2011
    Tagged as: customer service

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