Last year, the Farooq family* (*not their real name) sadly lost their father. The family are tenants are in a housing association property and expected that the tenancy would pass to their mother.
Instead, they received a letter without right of appeal from the housing association saying their mother could only have tenancy on a new property.
This is what Rashad* said in March:
My mother is particularly affected. She is constantly in tears and has fainted twice since receiving the letter. We fear losing her because her health has deteriorated to such an extent after this news.
We have lived in the property over 25 years and we’re proud to be part of the community here, especially on this estate. We have wonderful friendships here and don’t understand why we would have to move.
The housing association upheld the decision, telling the family that the mother did not have the right to inherit the tenancy because she was not the father’s first wife. This was despite their marriage of over 40 years, including the entire duration of the family living in the property.
Thankfully this decision has now been overturned.
Housing associations have been discussed on this blog before (see here) where a possible critique concerning their lack of transparency was mentioned in passing.
The decisions made by housing associations have potentially life-changing consequences – as made evident by the experiences of the Farooq family* – but they can operate according to their own rules, This gives at least some validity to the accusation that they act as a ‘law unto themselves’.