Our tenant's view
Patricia was a Wycombe District Council tenant for 40 years before the transfer. She was not in favour of the transfer from the Council to Red Kite and voted against it. Patricia is now a volunteer tenant and sits on our Board. Here she explains why she is now glad that Red Kite won the vote.
When I first heard it was proposed by Wycombe District Council they would sell all their homes to Red Kite I was really worried. I thought, ‘Who are Red Kite and where will they get the money to buy the homes?’. It just seemed too big to me to comprehend how it could happen.
Red Kite were making lots of promises about new kitchens and bathrooms, it sounded too good to be true!
I wasn’t happy with the Council, but for me it was a case of better the devil you know. The Council clearly didn’t have the money to maintain the houses they had and there was always poor workmanship when things were done. The perception of tenants was that some staff and contractors treated tenants like second class citizens and had no respect for us or our homes. You were made to feel grateful that you had a house and were reminded it wasn’t really your home.
Despite all this I still voted against the transfer.
It just seemed such a scary prospect and I was worried I would lose my house.
When I heard it had been agreed there were a lot of us that just couldn’t understand how it happened. We accepted it, but I clearly remember thinking, ’Oh my goodness, what’s going to happen now?’.
No long after the transfer a letter arrived telling me I was getting a new kitchen and furthermore I was invited to go and choose it! I was so excited. It was lovely to have a choice and that went down well with me!
A couple of years later I was told I was getting a new bathroom too. It looked fantastic when it was finished, but I had some issues with how it was installed and had a number of leaks, so I wasn’t happy with the contractor who put it in.
Due to the problems I experienced I was invited along to a feedback meeting. I felt really nervous, but then I got angry. I stood up and told the manager of the company that had done the bathroom exactly what I thought of their workmanship. When I had finished everyone cheered!
Straight after the meeting I was asked if I wanted to become a volunteer and I thought ‘why not’. I had never done anything like it before, I had never been in an office.
I have been a volunteer since 2015, I started by helping carry out surveys on the phone, being a member of the focus groups and now I am also on The Board.
There are always going to be the tenants who say, ‘I want this, and I want it now’, but that isn’t how things work in the world. It’s not because you are living in a housing association home, it is because that just isn’t always possible, (that’s true even if you owned a private home).
A lot of things people complain about are actually government regulations that Red Kite have no control over, but they just don’t understand that.
I can honestly say that Red Kite does care. It IS tenant led and people do genuinely care.
They don’t get it right every time, but from what I see they strive to achieve the best, As a tenant I feel I am treated as a human and I am treated with respect. My home is treated with respect. Contractors don’t just walk in as if they own the place and I should be grateful they are there, which is how I felt under the Council. They take their shoes off, they take care.
My house is my home and it is treated like that.