Tuntum warns tenants to be wary of ‘claims farmers’ operating in the area. Their calls may be from unknown numbers or even local lines.
These companies operate by cold calling, leaflets and social media to encourage tenants to pursue claims against their landlord for disrepair. These companies will claim to be calling from ‘The Housing Maintenance Department’, ‘Repairs Team’ or even ‘working on behalf of the Tuntum’. When asked, they will refuse to provide an authentic company name, and any call back number provided will be a false number.
Tenants’ details are often sold to ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors. This personal information is likely to be sold at a profit to these third parties, so we advise you only to share your data relating to you and your household if you are sure that you know who will be receiving it. It is worth thinking about who might benefit from having your details before disclosing anything to any callers.
In many cases, tenants will find themselves with legal costs to pay even if they later withdraw their claim. In other cases, any financial reward will be less than a tenant could have been offered with a genuine claim through the Housing Ombudsman Service.
We’ve heard of stories in the housing sector where such companies have targeted vulnerable tenants. Previous cases dealt with by the housing associations have seen claims management companies delay submitting the claim until the tenant’s cooling off period has ended. In these cases, the Housing Association has completed repairs, resulting in the claim not being upheld.
We urge tenants to be wary of any cold calls they receive and to seek advice from Tuntum’s staff or a genuine solicitor before signing any documents. Tenants are also reminded that they must let us know quickly if any repairs are needed at their home as part of their Tenancy Agreement.
Tenants can also track the status of a repair in the MyTenancy portal giving them up-to-date information on the work required.
What to do if you want to make a complaint
If you are dissatisfied with any housing or repairs services you have received, or feel that you are entitled to compensation, there are several options available to you, both informal and formal. Our complaint procedure allows tenants to raise concerns and request that Tuntum ‘makes it right’. Tenants can log complaints by phone, writing, email, or online.
Local Councillors, MPs, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, charitable organisations and legitimate solicitors can also support tenants with the complaints process. Where a tenant remains dissatisfied with the outcome through Tuntum’s complaint process, they have the benefit of the Housing Ombudsman Service, who can impartially investigate complaints and have the power to award compensation and order repairs.
In 2019-20, the Housing Ombudsman ordered landlords to pay a total of more than £400,000 in compensation, with 39% of complaints being found in favour of tenants.