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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05/05/2011 7:18 am
anonym 04/05/11 9:37 pm
"...Do you know hard it is to manage approx 600 residents and everyone complained about something so silly the world would be a mad place."
It's not the tenant's fault you manage 600 residents. You should complain to your own manager or to your union about that. And you fight for more decent working conditions for yourself and other officers like you.
But as usual for housing officers, are the tenants to blame you have too much in your hands.
And you don't come across to me as a responsible housing officer in assuming this is a silly matter. On what basis have you draw such conclusions? It might well be the most distressing matter for this particular tenant, depending what is really going on, which you and your "don't know" colleague have no clue about until you investigate.
05/05/2011 8:25 am
Moaning about an overhanging branch is uber trivial.
Just get the saw out.
05/05/2011 10:10 am
Melvin, I think you're shouting in the wind, but I'm happy to join you:
Just cut the branches off yourself. If there might be a problem with this, go to the neighbour's house and ask them if they'd mind.
05/05/2011 11:40 am
Anon @ 9-37pm yesterday
I am really glad that my housing officer is not as bad as you seem to be -- I said what 1'd do to seek advice if the tenant wasn't getting advice from the housing officer.
It could have been that the tenant could choose to lodge complaints but I suggested that s/he might want to take a different rout in seeking advice from some people who may be able to point her/him in the right direction.
If I wanted to be a housing officer I would have taken that path but I don't see myself as taking on the role of "God" or looking down on tenants like some posters appear to be doing.
Your use of the words "these people" certainly demonstrates a mind set that does not come across as being tenant-friendly.
I am entitled to my opinion AND how the heck do YOU know what the tenant's issues are because the tree problem was a "for example" and this indicates that there are other issues which may not be 'minor' issues but I would certainly not be judgemental and would seek to get to the bottom of things -- but then, I'm not a housing officer with an attitude.
Many housiing officers come on here and slag off tenants (or "these people" as you call call them) -- and that, I am sure, is the exception rather than the rule. I am pleased to say that my experience of my housing officers has ALWAYS been positive and if they were typical of the 'industry' then the tenants' world would be a better place.
I am more thsan aware that there are some tenants who, no matter what, will never be satisfied, indeed I experience this on an almost daily basis, but "these people", as you refer to them as, need to be treated properly and not attacked -- after all, they may have support issues but I wouldn't expect judgemental housing officers to even consider this.
I don't go in for the demonisation of housing professionals but you are welcome to demonise/attack me because I am not a shrinking violet of a tenant that you may be used to dealing with.
You, like me are entitled to your opinion and I reply to your attack on me noting that you have not offered the 'frustrated tenant' any advice.
05/05/2011 11:53 am
"Just cut the branches off yourself. If there might be a problem with this, go to the neighbour's house and ask them if they'd mind."
What if the tenant cannot get on a ladder or use a saw?... What if it is too big a job for him her?... Or he/she is too intimidated to do it?... And if the tenant asking for help should not be asking for help why the officer in question has not come here and explained his/her "I don't know" ?
05/05/2011 12:14 pm
Anon @ 11:53am:
If the grass is too long but the tenant doesn't know how to use a lawnmower, does that mean the HO should do it? I don't, I should point out, work in housing management in any way, but the amount of time those guys seem to spend fiddling around with stuff like this is ridiculous. They are HOUSING officers, not carers or life coaches. If a tenant has support needs, they need to ask the right people, not just the most convenient person.
05/05/2011 12:51 pm
If your housing officer is regularly evasive and unhelpful, he is not doing the job for which he is being paid. In my view, all housing associations and landlords should make structured feedback from a cross section of a housing officer’s tenants a standard part of their annual appraisal so that performance against customer care standards is being proactively managed. Where this doesn’t happen, bad workers can get away with murder through lack of evidence-based performance management by the landlord organisation and – regrettably - it falls to the individual tenant to have to tackle the poor performance.
So in order to tackle it, you need to start keeping a log of dates, times and details of how exactly he has not been helpful. If you feel confident enough to do this, you should raise with him the ways in which he is not meeting your needs of him as your housing officer and give him the opportunity to change his behaviour and performance. If he fails to do so, or if you don’t feel confident in tackling him head on, or you think it’s gone way beyond that, then you should pursue the matter, giving all the specific details you have collected, through the landlord’s complaints procedure. And keep taking it through all the stages until you get a response and a level of service that you are fully satisfied with and which is sustained over time. If it slips, go through the process again.
05/05/2011 12:52 pm
Indeed so Sancho but some tenants are rather more than a bit thick especially when it suits them.
I wonder if tenants expect more from their 'housing pound' than is reasonable or whether it is high rents that drive them to want more?
From what I experience there are more tenants happy with the services than others.
05/05/2011 12:54 pm
If customers are not getting the service they deserve from housing staff they need to take this further by complaining to the Manager of the service in question. The experience described here is not good enough - this is basic knowledge we are talking about here and to be honest, a "don't know" with no hope of him coming back to you with the answer is appalling!!
If a housing officer does not know the answer to a query I would always encourage honesty with the customer by admitting they don't know the answer, but I would always expect the "don't know" to be followed by "but I'll find out for you and sort it out".
Take this further - your rent is paying his salary, and the longer you put up with poor service, the longer he will continue to get away with it, good luck.
05/05/2011 1:20 pm
In terms of Coral being a customer and having concerns regarding the service she is or isn't receiving from her housing officer this is a very unfortunate position to be in. I would suggest that she sets her issues out in writing and does not receive a satisfactory service that she escalates her views via the organisations complaints policy.
Most organisations will operate a 2 or 3 stage complaint process whereby a service failure is investigated and hopefully a resolution is reached. If Coral exhausts this line of enquiry then the next stage might be to consider the Housing Ombudsman. I am sure that Coral wouldn't necessarily want to go down this line, but hopefully proceeding own a more formal route will get the right result
05/05/2011 4:36 pm
I have to agree with the Housing Officers who have commented on this thread previously. Look in an ideal world yes we would manage less properties per officer and the officer can then dedicate more time to each query, but lets be real, the world doesn't operate that way and for HA's to cut down the size of the average officers patch means more expense in employing more officers, in turn this would mean higher rents, thus defeating the object of social rents..................................
there does become a point when people have to develope their life skills. A previous comment rings true here, what would the person asking the question do if they were in a mortgaged property?
As a Housing Officer I would say, like most service providers, around 20% of my clients take up around 80% of my time. In some cases this is accepted as it's required, after all we are in a job which means we come into contact with vulnerable people who require more support or assistance than others..............................however, and I mean this in a constructive manner Rick, I have the odd resident like yourself. You seem to take some sort of offence to almost everything and you seem to think HO's try to look down on residents. I think whilst you add some sort of constructive feedback at times you on the whole seem to be on some sort of soapbox when there is absolutely no need to be. Housing Officers ensure tenants abide by their conditions of tenancy and assist, alongside other departments, in maintaining properties. The role in recent years has somehow unofficially gotten extended, in the main this is due to Labour's somewhat strange view of social housing. A previous post hit the nail on the head, we do not know everything, simple as. Believe it or not Rick.................we are human.
what I would suggest however Rick is that you do take the advice given by a previous post and do the job, even if you only shadow an officer for a day or two. You need a serious reality check buddy.
05/05/2011 11:35 pm
Now I have to tread carefully here so as not to give too many clues away so forgive me if i get vague.
This is where a lot of tenants mistake the work of housing officers. I'm not a HO but work closely with them, so see their work from the "outside".
My HA has over 5000 properties split between 4 HO's. One HO has just had a case to deal with where they have spent weeks dealing with a child abuse case which they discovered on a regular home visit. This officer has had to work with social workers, police and been to court to get the children in question moved to safe accommodation.
This officer has had death threats and needed time off work due to the stress of the case putting further pressure on the remaining officers. These officers have covered the extra workload as well as their own which although not as serious as the above case many issues have been of serious nature.
So forgive me if I defend HO's and say as others have said, learn to do trivial things like finding out who owns a tree for yourself and understand HO's have a difficult job. Sometimes they get stressed or don't even have the time or energy to devote themselves meaningless complaints and cases.
Kind of puts this complaint into perspective to me!!!!
06/05/2011 0:27 am
Anon @ 4-36pm
You will have noted that I have a very high opinion of my housing officers past and present?
Some HOs on this thread launched attacks on me on this thread and, naturally, I responded as I do to anyone who does such things. Am I, as a tenant, not allowed to do this -- or am I supposed to accept it meekly? You will have noted that I did not start any attacks?
If I wanted to be a HO, then I would have taken that career route but I don't and didn't want to and am I wrong for doing that? You proffered your advice, and as you can gather, I choose not to take it or is that something that I am going to be derided for?
Of course there are many people who come on these threads and proffer views which may not be reflective of their own personally held views -- I state this on these and other threads quite regularly but nonetheless other posters decide to have a go at them.
I only' take offence' when it affects me personally (just like other posters do) -- so am I, just because I am a tenant, supposed to take it lying down?
I, did I not, proffer the opinion that some HOs on here came across as 'talking down' to people by getting on their soapboxes -- but of course, surely, I am to be afforded the same opportunity?
I have simply defended my stance and believe it or nor quite often do reality checks -- and the reality here is perhaps different from the realities that other people have to endure if the postings of other tenants on IH (about their landlord's services) are to believed.
Maybe these threads could be far more effectively used if posters didn't so readily take umbrage at other peoples' postings?
Some HO posters did not give the frustrated tenant any advice and some even referred to "these people". That does not exactly show them to be the true caring professionals they claim to be, does it?
I explained that I thought that the 'frustrated tenant' might seek advice from people who would (or perhaps wouldn't) be able to point the tenant in the right direction and I also intimated, did I not that the tenant should have written evidence of unhelpfulness, did I not?
If I was to be subject to the alleged "very unhelpful" service (which I never have) then I would seek advice anywhere I could and I would have thought that pinging peoples' radar was a better option than getting the HO into trouble via the complaints processes.
I have, by the way, not been offended by your remarks -- everyone is entitled to their view.
06/05/2011 8:59 am
Well there is a cash for reward schemes being bandied about. I think each tenant should be given something like £1000 a year for small jobs some posters here think tenants should do themselves, like buying saws for cutting brahnches, buying ladders, etc. like that tenants wouldn't need to upset HOs who seem already very distressed by death threats and taking time off to recover and be back to their job god knows when.
06/05/2011 10:43 am
From the tone of your question I guess it is not just that this housing officer responds to all your questions with " don't know" it's the fact that they make it clear that they don't in tend to do anything to find out. May be they don't know but it also seems they don't think it's their job to find out. Rather than keep banging your head against this particular wall the best advise is when you meet an immovable object go around it.
06/05/2011 11:19 am
Coral, go on your local authority website and find the 'contact us' page. Fill out the 'general enquiry' email section, giving details of the tree in question and ask for the environment officer that has responsibility for trees to advise you on the best way to deal with the overhanging branches.
The local authority will (or should!) have published service standards so you will know how quickly you should receive a full response.
The 'tree man' will have a statutory responsibility to ensure any protected tree is not inappropriately lopped and will act/advise to prevent any damage to the tree as per the details of any TPO (Tree Preservation Order).
If the tree is causing any statutory nuisance, the council can order the landowner to take action as necessary. If the landowner is your landlord, they will then have to take ownership of dealing with the issue.
You gave the tree issue as an example of the ineffectiveness of your HO but stressed that he is 'unhelpful' with other issues you have raised. Next time you raise a tenancy or community safety issue with your housing officer, make a note of the exchange, including dates etc and details of your concerns as well as his response to them. Tell him that you anticipate a response within a specified time (check the landlord's service standards and pin this deadline to that criteria). Then write to the housing officer confirming the details.
If you still fail to receive a satisfactory response, utilise the landlord's complaints procedure. Include copies of the details of the initial contact as well as a copy of the letter of confirmation.
06/05/2011 7:49 pm
Anon @ 7-17pm
You may well be right but the vitriol against me was too --- perhaps in this modern day Blue society we're supposed to have a moronic outlook.
And as I often say ... some posters express views that not their true views to encourage discussion but the HOs certainly took a criticism that was not there.
As I have stated before , my personal experiences of housing officers is certainly better than my experience on this thread,
I wonder if I had posted it anonymously (and not indicated that I was a tenant) if it would have attracted so much bile being aimed at me.
Have a nice weekend posters.
09/05/2011 9:22 am
Coral. Did you do any tree pruning at the weekend?