The difference between ‘confrontation’ and ‘co-operation' with my landlord

My personal experience over many years (since 1964) has shown me the difference in value between ‘confrontation’ and ‘co-operation’ when attempting to ‘achieve power and influence’ with the Landlord.  We should note that this is ‘power with’ and not ‘over’ the Landlord.

What we tenants need to have is the power (knowledge) to enable us to discuss and sensibly debate issues where we may have a difference of opinion.  This means we must, of necessity be prepared to accept and training offered to better equip ourselves to participate in any serious discussion.

My having been involved as a Tenant Rep in very many hours of discussion with my present landlord (A Housing Association) and before that with local District Council Housing Officers responsible for all housing matters in the District, I know the value of ‘give and take’ between landlord and tenant.  Each needs to show empathy with the other. 

The tenant is in need of a decent home to rent, a rent in accord with the quality of accommodation on offer!  With service charges if applicable, consistent with true value of such charges.  Landlord should be prepared to acknowledge and recognise such reasonable tenant desire.  Equally the tenant needs to recognise the landlord has criteria to comply with relating to the property he is offering for rent.  There are many rules and regulations with which the landlord must comply.  Some of these require funding which may run into £millions.

One such example of the level of financing requiring to be dealt with by RSLs was that which came about as a result of legislation introduced by the Blair/Brown Labour government in the year 2000.  This was a law known as ‘the decent homes standard’  whereby all RSLs would be required to ensure that all of their homes for rent, would by April 2020 comply with this new standard. 

Furthermore, by whatever means RSLs chose as their route to meet this target, they were also required to ensure that tenants ‘must be at the heart of the strategy’  RSLs  were given a number of options from which to adopt as their strategy.

1 They could choose to retain ownership (thus themselves being required to bring their homes up to the new standard) which some just could not afford to do.

2 They could transfer their housing stock to a Housing Association (known as Large scale voluntary transfer)

3 They could set up an ALMO (Arms length management organisation) In the latter, councils would still retain ownership of properties but they would be managed by a newly formed organisation.

4  They could use the facility of a PFI (private finance initiative)

Our local District Council elected to go down the LSVT route.  A new tenants federation was formed and interested tenants attended an inaugural meeting from which a committee of 14 was elected.

This new committee quickly set out to become a very efficient body.  We contacted Tpas who without hesitation quickly came to our aid with an advisor.

Our local District Council had chosen to obtain the support of a well established housing association based not too many miles away with which to arrange necessary financing, and with whose assistance and guidance, a new housing association was formed.

It quickly became a case of all systems go!  ‘A shadow board’ for the new HA was elected and 5 tenants were part of that board!