Social Housing tenants encouraged to 'Make Things Right'

£2 million advertising campaign empowering residents to report issues and make complaints as part of efforts to improve social housing conditions

  • £2m advertising campaign will empower residents to report issues and make complaints as part of efforts to improve housing conditions.
  • Adverts will run on social media, radio, and online search to inform social housing tenants of their rights.
  • Builds on progress to improve conditions, including Awaab’s Law.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is urging tenants in social housing to put pressure on failing landlords to improve their living conditions, with the government’s latest launch of the ‘Make Things Right’ campaign going live today.  

Social housing residents are being encouraged to report issues and make complaints to address hazards in their home in the next phase of the England-wide advertising campaign. 

Residents should feel confident to challenge unacceptable conditions and notify their landlord when things go wrong. The government wants to inform tenants of their rights and ensure they escalate complaints to the Housing Ombudsman if concerns are not addressed swiftly or appropriately.

Building on the success of previous campaigns, the £2 million campaign will see adverts promoted across radio and social media. 

Landlords have a responsibility to take action when complaints are made and support will also be available for them, to ensure they are supporting residents in the best possible way.

Given that 10% of social homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard last year, this is a serious wakeup call for landlords who must do better to provide decent and safe homes for their residents. 

Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said:

“Social landlords who fail their residents time and time again must be held to account.   

“The continued success of our Make Things Right campaign gives residents a greater voice to bring about real change – making sure they know their rights to stand up to bad landlords and go to the Ombudsman when issues remain unresolved.  

“Our Social Housing Act is now law and Awaab’s Law remains a firm reminder of the importance for all tenants to have the right to live in safe and decent homes while being treated with fairness and respect.” 

Social Housing campaigner, Kwajo Tweneboa, said:

“I have said from the very beginning, nobody should live in a home that’s falling apart or unsafe. If a landlord wouldn’t, neither should their tenants.

“Report to your landlord, complain to your landlord and if they still refuse to take action report them straight to the Housing Ombudsman.” 

As part of the government’s mission to improve the quality of social housing, the Housing Secretary has been naming and shaming landlords who have not taken their responsibilities seriously.  

Ground-breaking changes through the Social Housing Regulation Act, which has now received Royal Assent, will introduce new powers for unlimited fines and emergency repairs that landlords will have to pay for.

Following the tragic death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak, it is more important than ever to hold landlords to account when they have clearly failed their tenants.  

New reforms will mean residents can better understand their rights and strict time limits will be introduced to take swifter action in addressing hazards such as damp and mould. 

A new consultation is now open for views to help deliver part one of Awaab’s Law, improving tenants’ access to information about their rights when the Housing Secretary issues a new direction to the Regulator. A further consultation to address hazards will follow in the coming months.

Since last year, it has been quicker and easier for residents to raise complaints directly with the Ombudsman, removing requirements to write to an MP or local councillor first and wait 8 weeks after completing the landlord’s process.  

Referrals to the Ombudsman have spiked in demand with a 78% increase in March compared to the same month a year before.   

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: 

“Effective complaint handling is vital to ensure issues are resolved at the earliest opportunity. 

“A landlord’s complaint process should be accessible for any resident that wishes to make a complaint. The process gives landlords a fair opportunity to put things right for residents when things have gone wrong, whether that be through a repair, apology or offer of compensation.  

“If residents are still unhappy after the landlord’s final complaint response, they can bring their complaint to us at the Housing Ombudsman. We’re free, independent and impartial in order to help residents and landlords find a resolution to their complaint.” 

Further information  

The campaign will run across England from today to 31st March on social media and online search. There will be two phases of more intense advertising with adverts on commercial radio, digital audio, and community radio in non-English languages; the first until November and second from February 2024.

Adverts will give tenants key information about their rights, the responsibilities of their landlord, and give step-by-step advice about how to make a complaint via the website:

Social media advertisements – in image and animation formats – will target social housing residents on Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and NextDoor. 

Radio advertisements will run across commercial radio stations (including Capital, Gold, Heart, Hits Radio, Kiss, Magic, Smooth and more). The adverts will also run on community radio broadcasting across regional and national stations in English and also translated in Arabic, Polish, Romanian, Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali. 

Advertisements will also run on digital audio streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and SoundCloud, as well as on podcasts across the platforms. 

Paid search advertising via search engines such as Google and Bing will be leveraged to drive users to the campaign website, which gives advice on how to complain. 

A communications toolkit for landlords and partners (like advice organisations, charities, and community groups) have been made with printable posters and leaflets, as well as social media posts.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP