The tactics of the East German Stasi re-created by NHG
There is this joke about the old East German secret police:
“Why do Stasi officers make such good taxi drivers? — You get in the car and they already know your name and where you live.”
While Germans are commemorating 30 years since the the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Stasi – NHG appears to be commemorating this event by re-creating the tactics of the Stasi.
Under the cover of a once-a-year friendly ‘housing officer visit’ NHG officers are asking completely inappropriate questions of tenants (1).
They are snooping on residents while pretending to be interested in the welfare of residents. Questions at a recent ‘housing officer visit’ included questions about: religion, children’s names, marital status, sexual orientation, copies of passport and national insurance number.
Even NHG’s own internal guidance does not allow this kind of questioning (see below).
This is intrusion into people lives for reasons completely unconnected to NHG’s role as landlord.
Also will they safeguard the information properly?
Not only that, but there is no evidence that they will protect the information they have obtained from unwary tenants who may give it.
NHG has ‘form’ on this. In 2015 the Information Commissioner had to write to the forerunner of NHG, Genesis Housing Association, complaining about incorrect information on service charges being given to private companies. Karen Buck picked this up in her survey of conditions Genesis residents in her constituency (2)
NHG management and Board should stop this intrusion in the lives of its residents immediately.
(1) See previous post “NHG snooping on residents. A resident’s experience of an NHG ‘housing officer visit.’”
(2) Letter (9 June 2015) from Karen Buck to constituents who had taken part in her survey of the numerous failures of Genesis Housing Association in her constituency in North Westminster.
“I have also received a response from the Information Commissioner’s Office, as I wrote to them to pass on the concerns many people raised with me about Rental Exchange – a scheme in which Genesis pass tenants’ financial information to the credit referencing agency Experian.
I am pleased that the ICO share our concerns about Genesis’ poor handling of service charges and how this may mean incorrect information may ends up on residents’ credit files. The ICO have written to Genesis to ask them to demonstrate that only accurate information is passed to Experian. They would also like to hear from residents directly if you have concerns about the scheme and their contact details can be found in the attached letter.”