The role of the Tenants' Champion
Sometimes you might experience problems with your housing association. It is important that if something goes wrong the first thing you do is get in touch with them and try to work out a solution. Initially this might be done informally, but sometimes you might need to go through a more formal complaints process with them.
If things don’t get resolved to your satisfaction then the next step is to contact your Councillor. However, some issues may be more complex, or be something that keeps occurring, or may affect many people - and it is here that the Tenants’ Champion can help.
The current Tenants’ Champion is Cllr Jane Boulton.
For information on the role over the last year you can download the Tenants' Champion Annual Report 2015/16(pdf, 1222KB).
Contacting the Tenants' Champion or Ward Councillor
- Tenants, leaseholders or representatives of their residents’ associations should contact the Tenants' Champion online or via our Customer Contact Centre on 020 8891 1411, where staff will log the enquiry.It is important that this short form is completed as this gives the Tenants’ Champion your correct contact details, and gives her your explicit permission to investigate issues on your behalf.
- You will be taken through a series of options to make sure your enquiry is handled in the best way.
- If you have not yet gone through the complaints process offered by your housing association you will be advised to contact them first.
- If it is more appropriate for your local Ward Councillor to handle the problem you will be asked to select one Councillor to act for you. The Tenants’ Champion will be sent a copy of all enquiries submitted via this process.
- If it is more appropriate for the Tenants’ Champion to support you, she will contact you within 7 working days. This will be by email, telephone or letter. You may be invited to an appointment at the Council Offices to meet her personally so that she can get further clarification on your complaint and can establish with you how best to target her support.
- Having contacted your housing association, she expects to be back in touch with a response after a further 14 working days.
- Complex issues are likely to take more time to investigate. Response times after this will depend on the complexity of the issue raised. The same timescales apply where a Councillor is helping you.
- There may be times when timescales cannot be met (for example, if a Councillor is on holiday or is sick and unable to work). If there is a delay please get in touch through the Contact Centre.
- If you are unsure about whether the Tenants’ Champion can help, you can call the Tenants’ Champion Support Officer for advice on 0208 831 6103.
- You can follow the Tenants’ Champion on twitter @LBRuTtenants.
What happens next?
In asking a Councillor to investigate an issue on your behalf, they will be acting as your representative and have the authority in law to discuss your situation without you needing to give them specific permission. If there is information of a confidential nature that you would not wish the Councillor to share with your landlord then please tell them. There may also be information that your landlord provides to your Councillor in confidence which they may not be able to share with you.
The Tenants’ Champion is not a substitute for the Housing Ombudsman Service. If you have been through your housing association’s complaints procedure and you are still not satisfied then you have the right to take your complaint to this service. They have the power to order and/or recommend remedies to the housing association that our Tenants’ Champion does not. The Housing Ombudsman Service will investigate complaints from leaseholders, where their landlord comes under their jurisdiction.
If a leaseholder wants to complain about the level of service charges then they need to contact the Residential Property Tribunal.
Private tenants and leaseholders can also get free and impartial advice from the Richmond Citizens Advice Bureau and LEASE.