Social Housing Activist Fighting Disrepair Gets Dragons Den Support
Social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa has been handed £10,000 from Dragons Den star Steven Bartlett to assist with his work helping social housing tenants living in disrepair. Mr Tweneboa started a social media campaign in response to his experiences living in serious disrepair as a tenant of Clarion Housing Group. His father, who had Stage 4 cancer, was a tenant of Clarion and Mr Tweneboa says the property had no bathroom, shower or kitchen, and with part of the ceiling missing over the winter months. He describes the feeling of dealing with Clarion as shouting at a brick wall and not being heard.
He started his campaign because he did not think that people cared about social housing tenants and the conditions they lived in. His campaign was so successful that Clarion produced a report about their failings on a particular estate and their CEO was interviewed about the report’s findings on Radio 4, see our previous blog here.
I think many people would be shocked to hear about the conditions that social housing tenants live in, and would assume that the failure to carry out repairs was limited to the private rented sector. Sadly that is absolutely not the case, and housing advisers across the county will be all too familiar with tales of social housing tenants living with roof leaks that aren’t fixed, rising damp that is not addressed, and boilers that don’t work.
Mr Tweneboa continues to help tenants in social housing who face disrepair and poor housing conditions. The money from Steven Bartlett, as well as his donation of camera equipment, will help him to keep his campaign growing and keep on helping tenants in need.
It’s fantastic to hear about the important work Kwajo Tweneboa is doing to help tenants in social housing. Tenants also have the option to pursue a legal solution through bringing a legal claim for disrepair. While the law doesn’t guarantee a quick fix, tenants can take their landlords to court for failing to carry out repairs or address poor housing conditions, and can also bring a claim for damages (compensation). We are doing this work every day in our housing team at Hodge Jones & Allen.
Social housing tenants shouldn’t have to live in disrepair and poor housing conditions. It is about time that campaigns like Mr Tweneboa’s shone more light on what has too often been hidden behind closed doors.