Soon after my tenancy was acquired by property developer, Soho Housing Association, I and other tenants began to notice huge arrears recorded on our rent accounts. It proved impossible to get these errors corrected, although we petitioned Soho Housing Association for months and months. Eventually our rent accounts went back to recording accurate sums of money, but we never got an explanation for what had happened and the large arrears remained on Soho Housing Association main account, only now they were recorded as bad debts. As a shareholder in Soho Housing Association, I attended the Soho Housing Association annual general meeting to point out that it was unfair to record the missing money as bad debt, as this made it look as if the tenants had owed it in the first place, which we had not, and as if we had not repaid it, which was untrue, and as if Soho Housing Association were the sort of organisation that forgives financial debt owed by its tenants, which is most emphatically, not the case!
In those days, I was unaware of two things about Soho Housing Association.
- It is normally a total waste of time to try to bring up any issue at any meeting of Soho Housing Association and expect to see it resolved in the tenants favour. This only happens in the case of a few, privileged tenants.
- It is normal Soho Housing Association practice to blame the tenant when things go wrong. The reason for this practice appears to be financial. The cheapest option when it comes to insurance claims, lawsuits and so on, is to blame the tenant. If the mental health of the tenant can be impugned, then there is no liability and nothing to pay.
Contractors hired by Soho Housing Association soon become aware of the two points above and naturally they exploit them to the maximum, knowing they will never be blamed for any shoddy work or poor practice as long as they are careful to heap opprobium on the victim, ie., whichever unfortunate tenant of Soho Housing Association they are working for, at the moment.