Shian HA ignore tenants’ boiler complaints, before calling the cops…

Outside Shian's officesOnce again, members of Haringey Housing Action Group found ourselves at the Hackney offices of Shian Housing Association, along with supporters from Fuel Poverty Action.

We were supporting one of our members, and her neighbours.  They are all tenants of Shian HA and have been living in new-build properties in Tottenham for over three years.  All that time they have been facing electricity bills four times higher than they should expect to pay.

We were met with similar stonewalling tactics to before.  No staff member who had any knowledge of the problem was able to speak to us – not even on the phone.  In a particularly twisted gesture, one male member of staff informed us that someone would be coming to speak to us, telling us to wait. When no one came, we chased it up with his colleague, she told us that in fact it was the police who had been called.

Is this really the best way of dealing with complaints from tenants struggling to pay their fuel bills?

The Dorothy Smith Lane homes were fitted with Nibe Fighter boilers, which use exhaust air heat pumps, with back-up immersion heaters. There have been numerous problems from the beginning:

  • some boilers were installed incorrectly and parts were missing
  • poor heating temperatures and high electricity bills

At the office today, the tenants were told they could make a formal complaint, despite the fact that they have already made a complaint, some of them more than once.  Shian appear to be using their complaints procedure as a way of not dealing with the issue.

Tenants from other housing associations have experienced the same problems. They’ve been reported on BBC News and BBC’s Rip Off Britain, with positive results.  A housing association in Runcorn replaced the boiler in 69 properties, following complaints.  Others have also compensated tenants for the extra money they have paid on electricity.

But Shian continue to put the blame for the high bills on the tenants of Dorothy Smith Lane.  They say it’s down to “user control”.

We want Shian to:

  • acknowledge that the problem of high fuel bills is not down to the tenants’ use
  • commit to fitting new heating systems for all tenants that want one
  • contact the Tottenham tenants to carry out surveys for a new heating system
  • compensate the tenants for the fuel bills already paid while the complaints have been going on


September 16, 2014  Tags: ,   Posted in: HHAG ACTIONS, LOCAL CAMPAIGNS