Leader – Home truths

The appalling conditions in which some people in Hackney are living have been laid bare in several recent stories.

Three of those stories, which can be found in our May digital edition, involve housing associations.

These companies may be not-for-profit, but they are private, and as such have no democratic accountability.

So where’s the oversight? You’d be forgiven for not being aware of the government’s social housing regulator, despite its stated aim of “ensuring that housing associations are well-governed and offer value for money”.

The Housing Ombudsman is a bit more visible, but was found in a 2023 Observer report to have handed out an average fine of just £445 over the preceding three years to housing associations found to have mistreated their residents.

Complaints to both of these bodies are often laborious and stressful.

One might suggest bringing housing fully under the control of local councils, but Pitcairn House is hardly a beacon of good practice.

The Social Housing Action Campaign recommends tenants act collectively, talk to the press, use social media, or, as a last resort, carry out a rent or service charge strike.

If you want a job doing, do it yourself, as they say.