Podcast – Borough-wide housing association tenant organising in Camden: Camden Housing Association Residents Group (CHARG) – Robert Taylor, CFPT

Published on February 28, 2023

Published on February 28, 2023

In late January, LTF and CHARG (Camden Housing Association Residents Group; part of CFPT — Camden Federation of Private Tenants) held a conference for housing association tenants from across London.

In this recording, Robert Taylor (CFPT) speaks about the work being done by Camden Housing Association Residents Group (CHARG) — which is part of CFPT — and how borough-wide housing association tenant groups can help to amplify HA tenants’ voices and hold HA landlords to account.

Camden Housing Association Residents Group (CHARG) – set up in 2016 – holds a series of quarterly meetings organised by Camden Federation of Private Tenants, in a central location in Camden. Any housing association resident, regardless of their tenure, can attend and share issues that they are having. 

The group was created following an investigation by Camden Council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee. Tenants were invited to a number of meetings to talk about their experiences with HAs. As a result of what tenants shared, the Scrutiny Committee suggested that a group be set up, covering the whole of the borough. CFPT was asked to host the group. 

CHARG directly engages with HAs themselves, specifically Origin and One Housing (merging with Riverside). It is likely to start meeting with Clarion given what tenants have been saying. CHARG puts together a list of questions which HAs have to answer and resolve. 

CHARG works closely with the Housing Partnerships Team at Camden Council. If CHARG is stonewalled by the HAs, they will get in touch with the officers in the HPT (who liaise with HAs on a daily basis). The Housing Partnership Team is able to give contact details of relevant officers or they can get a direct response to the questions submitted by CHARG. 

Ward councillors have been very helpful as well; the benefit of using ward councillors is that if you are not getting a response from within the Council (from officers), they can raise a member’s enquiry, which obligates the officers to respond to them. 

You can also write to your MP – HAs are duty-bound to respond to a letter from a Member of Parliament.

CHARG is looking at a set of proposals for how HA accountability can be improved. It is currently in draft form but will be shared for consultation and feedback in the coming months

HA tenants in Camden who would like more information about CHARG – to be added to the CHARG mailing list and receive invites to future meetings and group activities or to find out how CHARG might be able to help them with their housing association – should email admin@cfpt.org.uk.

See also:

  1. Agenda and resources for the conference
  2. Recording of Robert’s talk on what the Social Housing White Paper means for HA tenants
  3. Conference Report