Sanctuary Housing refuse meeting with representatives of 2500+ tenants

Final reply from Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Facebook Group to Kate Reynolds, Sanctuary Board members and Sanctuary Group executives (italics added afterwards)

Tues 25th Feb at 10.02

Dear Kate and Sanctuary,

Thank you for your reply.

As the existence of our now 2500+ group demonstrates (in fact the number is nearer 4000 if two other similar Sanctuary Facebook complaint groups are included), your strategy of supporting tenants and residents only when they contact you directly is clearly not working.

Tenants and others join our group as a last resort, when frequent attempts at contacting Sanctuary, their MP or other authorities have failed to resolve the often extremely serious problems. As Sanctuary frequently don’t listen to their tenants or others negatively affected by widespread Sanctuary bad practice, we have become their voice. Your comment that it is not appropriate to meet with people who are not Sanctuary tenants – some of us are – is just one more typical excuse for Sanctuary to avoid confronting reality.

You refer to “revisiting historic complaints” but we made no mention of this. We are more concerned with the widespread and ongoing serious problems that are repeated again and again – year in, year out. These range from the bullying and intimidation of tenants, to poor quality or non-existent repairs to mouldy properties, to continual mistakes with rent payments and a great deal more.

Simon Clark, Group Director of Housing. Willing to meet tenants “unconditionally”?

Our request for a meeting was prompted by Sanctuary’s recent (13th November 2019) Inside Housing comments, which you have chosen to overlook in your reply: ‘Sanctuary’s Mr. Clark strikes a more conciliatory tone, insisting that he is willing to meet members unconditionally. Kate Reynolds, head of external affairs at Sanctuary, adds that there has been a “breakdown of trust” with some tenants and acknowledges that the association “has to work to rebuild it”.’

The above all sounds good and Sanctuary claim to be committed to serving tenants and residents. Yet, in reality, your typically dismissive attitude towards our proposed meeting clearly shows that Sanctuary don’t care. You could hardly make it more obvious.

As requested, we will post your reply on the Facebook group page, along with this response. We are interested in open and honest communication to improve the situation for all concerned. Given the widespread damage to so many people’s lives, we find it extraordinary that Sanctuary remain so insensitive, inflexible and excessively corporate. The large number of resulting complaints from tenants and staff alike can be found on an increasing number of review websites.

Even after being shamefully exposed on national television, Sanctuary still appear to be in denial about how diabolically bad things are for so many tenants and residents.

(New Landlords from Hell, Dispatches, Channel 4, 22nd March 2019. Please see for yourself how bad things have got or search for easily found video clips of the programme, Tim)

We will continue to do our best in supporting tenants and others in any way we can, be it offering emotional support or practical advice such as help in contacting solicitors.

Because we personally have been on the receiving end of Sanctuary’s devastating and inhuman incompetence, we care.

Yours sincerely,

Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group Admins.

Kate Reynolds, Group Head of External Affairs. An odd approach to rebuilding trust with tenants?

Reply from Kate Reynolds of Sanctuary to our initial email approach on Wed 12th Feb, proposing a meeting

Tue 18 Feb at 14:50
Dear Mr Burness, Mr Greensmith, Ms Prime and Ms Charlton-Toye,

Thank you for your email. We appreciate you contacting us directly and welcome the opportunity to respond.

While we recognise that we won’t get everything right, we are determined to resolve issues when there are cases where we have fallen short. Our view is and has always been that if tenants contact us directly, we will look into any current issues they may have. However, we cannot commit to revisiting historic complaints which have already been brought to a conclusion.

While we would be happy to meet with current tenants and discuss present day issues, it would not be appropriate to meet with people who are not Sanctuary tenants.

If you have any current issues or concerns with a Sanctuary property that you are living in, or services that you are receiving from Sanctuary, we would encourage you to provide details so that we can assist you in resolving any outstanding matters.

We support open and transparent engagement, and in that spirit, we would ask that you post this email in full on the Facebook group.

We recognise this will not be the response you are looking for but we strongly feel that we are best able to support our tenants and residents when they contact us directly.

Regards,

Kate Reynolds

Group Head of External Affairs