Brexit imposed on Halton Housing Trust tenants

The customer is sovereign unless your landlord is Halton Housing Trust.

There are some very disturbing changes made TO tenants by the impositions of landlords as the example below of Halton Housing Trust (sic) reveals.  Tenant rights are being eroded by alleged social landlords forcing tenants to communicate only by digital means leading to no internet no repairs for example and who knows shortly to be you can’t become a social tenant unless you have internet access.

Landlords are imposing change on tenants whether the tenant likes it or not and all done in the alleged name of greater efficiency and lower cost for the landlord and to hell with services to tenants.  These are services to which tenants have a right under their tenancy agreement and which asocial landlords like HHT (and others eg Severn Vale) are rapidly becoming.

Give asocial landlords an inch and they take a mile and it is time for direct action by tenants to prevent this and bizarrely as I explain below it is cheaper for tenants to contact their landlords by post than it is to contact HHT by phone – even by a landline!!! – and all social tenants should contact HHT by post for all non-urgent issues as that form of direct action.  Read on.

ralph post

Dear HHT Tenant

  1. If you need to phone your landlord then it will cost you as the phone number is now a chargeable one and up to 45p per minute too see here.  It is 10p per minute and a 17p set up charge from a landline too
  2. If you need to speak to a real person face to face then you can only do so between 10 am and 3 pm in one of HHT’s two very remote offices.
  3. If you are not online then it’s a case of tough shit

No longer is the customer sovereign with HHT, the tenant has had Brexit imposed on them.  No longer can HHT call itself a social landlord, HHT is a robotic digital one whose customers dance to its tune.

HHT wrap all of this up in the usual piece of spin and sophistry on their website (which of course those HHT tenants not online can’t see!!)

As part of our Digital First strategy we are constantly striving for greater efficiencies and looking to utilise technology more effectively, especially in light of the recent changes to the sector including the incoming Universal Credit changes and the rent reduction, so that we can continue to positively invest in our homes & neighbourhoods.

Read it again and it merely says we are imposing this so tough – although I am intrigued with ‘positively invest’ reader as it raises the concept of being able to negatively invest – oh hang on does that mean having staff on reception between 9 and 10 am and between 3 pm and 5 pm is a negative investment.  It would appear so!

Slowly the details emerge online only and with the usual spin …

This includes providing a self-service digital area at both our office locations (Daresbury Point & Foundry Lane) from 9:00am – 5:00pm where customers will be able to self-serve any queries they have, using our web portal. To accommodate these changes we are reducing our ‘in-person’ reception opening times to 10:00am – 3:00pm. Customers can, however access our online services from home 24/7.

Dear tenant, you can’t contact HHT if you are not online or are not IT literate as HHT has abandoned you and I wonder how long it will be before HHT assess all prospective new tenants for IT awareness and not allocate to them?!

As a Digital organisation with a number of class-leading self-serve communication tools, such as our app & web portal, we’ve taken the decision to amend our contact number to 0303-333-0101, please note this number is chargeable (costs will vary depending on your network provider and package) so we would recommend primarily contacting us through the digital tools available.

Can you picture it?

A frantic neighbour trying to report an emergency repair for a frail elderly neighbour but can’t as she has no credit on her phone and doesn’t have enough money to buy a £10 top-up as Universal Credit has once again cocked up her benefit.

Note I’m assuming here she can get through and the call wont last more than 22 minutes and use all the £10 top up in any case!

The graphic which accompanies this announcement says We are making changes for the better AT Halton Housing  – No! No! No! – We are making changes for the better OF Halton Housing  and not for the tenant they call a customer (sic) and who is definitely not sovereign!

hht

HHT is one of those landlords headed up by a Chief Executive who has an almost religious zeal in advocating digital digital digital.  Digital is the panacea for everything – probably the cure for cancer and the common cold too – and has been banging on and on and on about how digital is THE way forward.

Here is what HHT released two years ago :

hhtdigital

Note how many don’t have internet access and especially how many have it only on their phone.  How many of them are on pay as you go?  So despite the data not supporting this pre-determined digital digital digital approach HHT have gone ahead with it anyway to the detriment of the tenant.

HHT is having digital only platforms regardless of tenants is the HHT line and always has been.  HHT has always been this asocial and put its tenants last and itself first and now it is imposing that and using the 1% rent cut as the reason.

I love the irony that it is now cheaper for tenants to write in with a repair as the cost of postage is cheaper than a phone call – a 2nd class stamp at 55p is cheaper than the cost of a 4 minute landline call from BT at 10p per minute and 17p set up charge –  and they should do so for non-urgent communication and insist that a reply is received in writing too from HHT which will cost HHT far more.  Post will also give a full audit trail for tenants too should HHT play the “we don’t recall that conversation” strategy or the IT goes down or wrong at HHT or the tenant loses their smartphone.

Oh dear!!  I have just had a very quick trawl through the HHT ‘news’ section of its websithht1

Is HHT HQ on an analogue line phone system Nick Atkin or is it a digital one!?

Now what was I saying above about that neighbour with no credit on their smartphone trying to call in an emergency repair … still perhaps its for the HHT better that we do have Brexit as then the customer call centre will have no EU problems by being located in a black hole in Kolkata!

 

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6 thoughts on “Brexit imposed on Halton Housing Trust tenants

  1. Tweeted @melissacade68

    So for tenants who aren’t technologically savvie/can’t afford/are of an older generation & perhaps aren’t use to dealing in this type of format and want to speak with a human. . . .are they left without the support of their Landlords and their responsibility to them?? It’s utterly ridulous!

  2. Fully agree Joe, also there may tech savvie tenants like myself who prefer a choice of who to communicate with landlords digital or analog.

    To the digital zealous of UK housing I need to point out that the phrase “digital” is abit of misnomer to describe World Wide Web and Mobile techology. Why now go all cyber? I never hear of social landlords using and advocating pre-WWW and pre-Mobile tech before! Has any social landlord had a Prestel page, a sever on the Gopher space, hosted a dial-up bulletin board system, had a Usenet group and/or have a IRC channel?

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