We know that most Sandwell landlords work hard to keep their properties in a good state of repair. After all, it’s in their interest to look after their assets and keep the customer (their tenant) happy.
In the limited number of cases where there is a repair problem and the tenant is not satisfied that the landlord has dealt with issue adequately, they can refer the matter to us – more specifically, the council’s Housing Quality Team. There’s a list of issues around health and safety in a property where we have a legal duty to intervene if the landlord is not doing what he or she should. Most of these are covered under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and this document gives you a useful, if very basic guide.
To handle complaints from tenants – we have a new online form that tenants must use. The good news for decent landlords – (the vast majority) is that we are finding this discourages tenants from making unnecessary or even frivolous complaints to us, helping ensure things are done properly with clear procedures to follow.
Before we will accept a complaint, tenants must prove that they have actually reported the matter in writing to their landlord, twice and have not had a proper response. They are also very clearly advised the Housing Quality Team can’t help them get a council house because they might have issues around disrepair. Tenants are also given information before they can submit a report about damp and condensation, problems that we know are very often due to tenant lifestyles rather than failings by landlords.
In cases of real emergency, where there is an actual threat to someone’s safety, we will take reports from tenants by phone, but this will only be in exceptional circumstances. Otherwise – all reports must be made online.
If we do contact you about something your tenant has reported, it certainly doesn’t mean that we automatically consider you to be at fault – simply that we have had a problem raised with us that we must investigate. (It’s a legal duty on us). If there is something wrong, we will always do our best to get it sorted out amicably We would far rather be giving people helpful advice about how things can be put right, than taking enforcement action. But if we need to, we do have teeth and will prosecute landlords when we have to.
If you need more information about what you need to do to make sure your property is up to standard, email the Housing Quality Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org