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COMMENT 15


the sector has got to challenge myths about tenants, it also needs to look in the mirror and consider whether it contributes to the problem. “A lot of stigmatisation is about the place where tenants live,” she said. “If our core landlord service is not good enough and contributes to a place looking unattractive then I think we feed some of that narrative. So every time we visit our estates and we see rotten window frames, we see meter doors hanging off, we see rubbish, we see an estate that looks uncared for, we are feeding that perception. And I think we have to tackle that.”


felt like the least important people in their community.


BETTER CARE


As the owners of a significant number of residential properties (at least 17 per cent of the nation’s stock) social landlords often let and manage the majority of housing in many neighbourhoods. The housing is usually of a similar appearance


and often looks in need of further invest- ment, or just sprucing up. This can be difficult to justify in a time of austerity with limited resources, when the politicians are demanding more new housing, but no-one wants to live on a sink estate, or one suffering from multiple deprivation. Ruth Cooke, the new chief executive of Clarion Housing Group, appeared to speak for many when she said that while


After a while we can get used to our surroundings and we may not be good at picking up on what might be a gradual decline. But by engaging with local residents and dealing with the small irrita- tions, the small disrepair items and the little things that make a difference to the area around residents’ homes, there is a good chance we will make an important difference to people’s lives and their perception of us and of themselves. The challenge is out there for all social landlords to grab hold of this issue and work with tenants to find local solutions to local problems, rather than waiting for a top- down solution to be imposed from on high. After all, who knows best?


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