My Housing Officer is very unhelpful
27/04/2011 11:28 am
Im feeling very frustrated. On more than one accasion I have asked my housing officer for advice concerning housing issues and all I get is 'I dont know'. For example I have trees overhanging my fence I have asked my housing officer who responsibility is it he says he does not no whos land the tree is coming. The thing is he is never helpful what can I do to get him to do his job properly?
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27/04/2011 12:02 pm
ok, im not sure about "get him to do his job properly" but as for the trees, you are legally entitled to cut branches that overhang your boundary fence, if you can identify the trees it may be worth checking if they are a protected species as the liability will be on you if you damage them and they are.
27/04/2011 3:01 pm
Personally. I'd e-mail the Chief Exec and board members as a housing association tenant and would suggest that council tenants e-mail the person in charge of housing, the Chief Exec and the councillors dealing with housing and copy in the local media.
All this providing there is written evidence of inaction by staff.
27/04/2011 3:18 pm
I may be wrong but if you cut someone else's branches -- you have to return them otherwise you risk being prosecuted for theft. But maybe that's an urban myth?
27/04/2011 3:30 pm
I would contact the Local Authority to see if can advise you accordingly (who's land is that) if you fail then.
I would ask the Housing Officer for the Manager's name to look into the issue, concerns you have.
If that fails put in a complaint via the Complaints Department under Stage Number One. (this has to be investigated and a written response normally within 10 working days) (Look on the website of your RSL to see how to put in a complaint) or speak to Customer Services of the RSL
28/04/2011 9:52 am
It shouldn't be too difficult for your landlord to tell you whose responsibility the garden is. If it's your responsibility, you'll need to sort it out yourself. This may be why the housing officer is being unhelpful, or rather, not researching the land ownership on your behalf. If maintainance is the landlord's responsibility, they should do the work to the trees, or organise for the owner of the trees to do the work. Responsibility for this sort of thing is usually detailed in the Tenancy Agreement, so you should check this yourself.
There's no point escalating this to the C/Exec at this stage, and copying in the world and his wife. Presumably your landlord has a complaints procedure. If you remain unhappy about their response, initiate this.
28/04/2011 10:17 am
If a housing officer has given you repeated "I don't know" answers to your questions you should start a official complaint against this officer. A good - and by that I mean a 'normal' housing officer will say "I don't know but I'll find out and let you know" or "I'll pass your inquiry to someone who knows and they will get back to you."
Forget the tree and complain about the housing officer to your landlord.
28/04/2011 10:58 am
Why not put in writing to your landlord what the problem is? Do the overhanging trees block your light for example and include a picture. By putting this in writing you are askign for an official response which if you landlord does not comply by all means complain about the lack of response.
There is an element of why the landlord should be responsible for others naturally growing items such as trees and an overexpectation of your landlords responsibilities. This has been exacerbated by some comments above re email the chief exec etc. By simply writing to your landlord they need to respond to you and if not then issue a formal complaint
28/04/2011 8:11 pm
Are you kidding me Rick?
"Personally. I'd e-mail the Chief Exec and board members as a housing association tenant and would suggest that council tenants e-mail the person in charge of housing, the Chief Exec and the councillors dealing with housing and copy in the local media.
All this providing there is written evidence of inaction by staff." I really do hope I'm being naive and that you were being sarcastic, because that is just the most bizarre way to react. I'm a Housing Officer and a damn good one at that. I have around 10 tree enquiries a month that come through and I don't have the answer to half of them as i'm no tree expert. I simply send out tree surgeons to inspect and advise if it's a hazard of any sort. Rick your response is half the reason short notice inspections happen,Pointless complaints that have no basis. Furthermore this type of nonsense means many good housing staff simply feel they should move to another career when they end up spending all their time dealing with nonsense like this. I'm still confused as to whether this post is a joke or not.............
All this providing there is written evidence of inaction by staff."
I really do hope I'm being naive and that you were being sarcastic, because that is just the most bizarre way to react.
I'm a Housing Officer and a damn good one at that. I have around 10 tree enquiries a month that come through and I don't have the answer to half of them as i'm no tree expert. I simply send out tree surgeons to inspect and advise if it's a hazard of any sort.
Rick your response is half the reason short notice inspections happen,Pointless complaints that have no basis. Furthermore this type of nonsense means many good housing staff simply feel they should move to another career when they end up spending all their time dealing with nonsense like this.
I'm still confused as to whether this post is a joke or not.............
30/04/2011 1:55 am
Anon @ 8-11pm
I indicated to the frustrated tenant where she/he might find the housing advice ... after all, it would be unusual for a Chief Exec and/or housing councillors not to know or be able to find out. The localmedia may know ;local tenants groups/activists who could help.
Iam disappointed that you as a £damned good housing officer" did not proffer advice to the frustrated tenant but chose to attack me for something you judged me to have done when I hadn't.
If you care to check the frustrated tenant's post and there is no mention of making a complaint -- there is an expressed desire to get the housing officer to do his job properly. I simply pointed the poster in a direction other than the brick wall of the housing officer.
Your judgement of me demonstrates why so many tenant posters are anti-staff and if you are a good housing officer I dread (based on your wrong assumption of my advice to the poster was designed to bypass the landlord's complaints processes) to think what a bad one would be like.
Perhaps you are in a job that allows you the opportunity to be judgemental and intimidate tenants -- well this tenant is not easily intimidated. So. kindly either give the frustrated tenant some advice or tell me where and how what I wrote is nonsense,
Unless of course, you were trying to kid me.
30/04/2011 12:04 pm
Rick no one is trying to attack you. I think you have maybe just had some realisation.
Trees are overhanging in someone's garden from other land and you feel that because a 'housing officer' is unsure of how it can be resolved you should contact the chief exec. and then local press.
I'd love to watch the conversation with the local press because they would laugh. As for a chief exec. he would no doubt be dealing with far more important things such as the changes to housing with a new government such as the effects of the localism bill.....................but no, your right, why tie his time up with nonsense like that when there is a tree to be cut.
It's not an attack Rick, I can see your rather defensive about it. I just want you to understand why your response is so far out of proportion, Housing Officer's also have far more important matters to be dealing with such as vulnerable people coming from vulnerable situations requiring support.
Trees........................................be serious people. Cut the branches off. Oh and if the local bobbies turn up because the land owner has claimed theft of his branches then get in touch with local media and the chief constable yes?
30/04/2011 12:57 pm
The point is a tenant has asked a landlord for clarification about an issue, as tree hanging, and as repsonse has goet a repeated chain of "don't know" from his/her housing officer.
How much serious is this issue for the tenant we don't know. But for the tenant to post it here one assumes as it being quite serious, maybe going on for decades. The tenant has repeatedly not been given a clear answer or a good answer by his/her housing officer concerning an issue having to do with the property about which the landlord should have full knowledge of and convey it to the tenant in a clear understandable way.
As has been posted earlier it seems to me for this tenant more important to complain about the housing officer than worry about the tree, as it looks like with any other issue coming up she will be getting exactly the same 'don't know' answer.
30/04/2011 1:03 pm
Anon @ 12-04pm
The original post and topic is about the frustrated tenant NOT getting housing advice, the tree as a "for example" is, therefore, as such, a secondary issue
My initial response was in relation to the alleged unhelpfullness and I sent a secondary post in relation to the tree branches.
My 'defensive' was indeed in defence as the Anon poster questioned my initial post and indeed suggested that the way I would act (in seeking housing advice was bizarre and then goes on to suggest that my response was "half the reason short notice inspections happen,Pointless complaints that have no basis. Furthermore this type of nonsense means many good housing staff simply feel they should move to another career when they end up spending all their time dealing with nonsense like this."
Am I not allowed to defend such an accusation and accept what this alleged "damned good housing officer" says without response? And by the way, the self-proclaimed "damned good housing officer" judged my response whilst knowing nothing about the circumstances of the response or, indeed, my circumstances.
Perhaps there are people who see tenants as the lowest of the low and merely something that is to be treated derisivesly at every opportunity? This would normally lead me to a rant about the demonisation of the poor, vulnerable, social housing renters, elderly, etc. but on this occasion I shall forego that and defend the attack on me.
As for the tree, if one housing officer is receiving 10 tree issues a month then the likelihood is that others are receiving some -- this would indicate to me as a tenant that sending a tree expert out (not a cheap option) MIGHT not be a solution that the frustrated tenant would prefer.
Obviously with so many tree issues there is a quite a problem and I would have thought that the landlord of the self-proclaimed " damned good housing officer" would at least survey the trees and come up with a rolling programme.
Before I forget, my initial response included All this providing there is written evidence of inaction by staff." This was to be taken as advice to the frustrated tenant to revist the issues (not just the darned tree by the way) and keep a record -- I assumed that knowledgeable people would realise this -- indeed some posters went on the point out the steps the frustrated tenant shoud take before embarking on my method (if s/he even wanted to).
01/05/2011 4:13 pm
While I can see what approach/ end state you are going for, I feel that going straight for the "jugular" so to speak (ie the Chief Exec) is very disproprotionate in this case. In the long run you have effectively "pinged" that individual on the Chiefs "radar" and perhaps put them under more pressure, ultimately impacting more tenants.
I am a housing professional, been in the business for 9 years now, from Customer Service Officer, then Policy and now one of the ground troops as a Housing Officer.
Coral - Have you explained to your HO that you dont feel they are being very helpful? Perhaps it is a genuine lack of knowledge on thier part. I encourage my tenants to come to me first if they dont feel they are getting the service they seek, jumping straight to the top of the tree often gets my back up, and while I would never with hold/ not do something required of me I am often reluctant to go that extra mile with the tenant who "tucks me up" rather then seek productive dialogue with me.
01/05/2011 4:25 pm
Anon @ 4-13pm
I pointed out what I would do in similar circumstances -- but I would have gone through the landlord's processes (indeed I would have sought advice and guidance on here too) -- I would choose to 'ping' the Chief Exec's radar (a great expression which I shall unashamedly use in the future) only after approaching the housing officer's line manager and senior managers before going along the 'complaints route'.
I supposed I really should have explained my reasoning when I first posted on this threrad but often posters criticise detailed explanations.
03/05/2011 9:23 pm
You are correct on the tree front. You can cut the branches that overhang at the point they overhang but you have to offer them back to the neighbour as technically they belong to the tree!
03/05/2011 9:55 pm
Be careful here people!!!
Yes you can cut the branches back and offer them to the owner of the tree. The owner has no responsibility to take them.
If they are not offered, that is theft. If they are thrown back over the fence, as a lot of people think you can do, that is fly tipping!!!
You must first ask the owner if they will cut them back but again they have no responsibility to, but they do have liability.
Is the tree a health and safety risk? If not leave well alone. You can't just hack away at a tree, the work must be done to arboriculutral standards. Hacking away could lead to prosecution for wilful damage.
Remember also a tree will by its very nature take any pruning as a threat and rapidly throw out more branches and leaves to compensate for the damage to its ability to feed. This more often than not creates a bigger problem than the initial issue.
03/05/2011 10:05 pm
And to reply to the original question.
The housing officer will know who is responsible for the trees. Well they will know if its tenants or HA's responsibility.
As for who owns the trees. Anyone think the housing officer may not know?
If its in a neighbours garden its the neighbours responsibility. If its public land chances are its the councils responsibility. Sometimes with contested boundaries its not black and white who owns the trees. But may I also state that every tree does have an owner.
Would it be a reasonable request of a housing officer to spend days on one small case trying to find out who owns the trees?
04/05/2011 9:25 am
If the tree is not on Housing or Council land, it is highy likely that the Housing Officer does not know who the tree belongs to. The complainant should check with the land registry.
Before cutting anything back, you also need to check that the tree is not covered by a Tree Preservation order.
Also, how has the tree request been made? Has it just been thrown into the conversation whilst the housing officer has been on site, or has a formal question been asked? I think a lot more detail needs to be given on the matter prior to any complaint being made.