Friday, September 17, 2010

Housing Associations

Here in the UK, it seems apartments are usually grouped into "housing associations", whatever the heck they are or do. I suspect they are the real owners of the flats.  The problem is, the tenants, even though we have "bought" the apartment, we really don't have any power outside the apartment, so if the street door need fixing and they don't care, we're just f***ed.

Back in Denmark, they have a different system, "boligforeninger" (which also means housing associations). I must admit, I don't really understand how they work, but it must be something government mandated, because if you're in one and have waited long enough (years) to get an apartment, you can get it much cheaper than if you buy one.

But they do have this going for it, those who manage the apartments is a group of people actually living in the apartments, they see the other tenants all the time, so they pretty much have to care.

That can suck too, but sometimes I miss it. Because the Association where I live now have been promising me for years to put up clearer numbers by the apartments so drivers can find where they're going, but it just keeps not happening. And now they are being bought up by a bigger company for the second time in a few years, it's clear that is it's just a cold business where nobody cares about anything other than the bottom line in the bank statement.


George said...

Home owner association is the entity which manages common parts of a building in the States. In many cases, HOA appoints (and pays) external management company to deal with that, and HOA are given quite a lot of power (even to the point where monthly fees due to HOA are reason for home' foreclosure).

Alex said...

I seem to have a good HOA, the building exteriors are painted every 5 years, the gutters cleaned annually, roof overhaul is frequent, then common amenities such as pool, playground, baseball diamond are all included. Sure it took them a month to rebuild the play equipment, but then again, streetlights are never out, any damaged trees are cleared within a day or two, and the lawns and gardens are very healthy. Our HOA management is over the Bay, but they are reasonably responsive, I guess they know we can go elsewhere for management if we choose, as there is committee of residents who steer it all.

It most be a newer thing in Britain, as we all used to be either in a private house or a council flat/corpy house. Oh, then again, they did start building those apartments in London and other big cities, like where Bertie Wooster lives.

eolake said...

Well, maybe I was feeling bitter when writing, because most of what you say, Alex, is also true here. The basics are all fine. It's only when it goes a little beyond the norm, as with the numbers on the doors, that the are very unresponsive.

The issue, by the way, is that the only numbers are on the post boxes, and they are sort-of hidden behind the little brick sheds for the bins. So it's impossible for anybody who comes in to quickly orient themselves as to where a particular number is. (Doesn't help that the sequence is not very logical either, at first glance.) There should be big numbers just over the doors, but there ain't.

Philocalist said...

Just a really way-out radical thought, but if you are THAT concerned about the post / deliveries finding YOUR door, why not simply put up a bigger number yourself?
Screwdrivers are not exactly high technology ... Hell, even I can use one! :-)

eolake said...

I would, except we are not allowed to make any changes to the outside!

Also, just one number might confuse more than it helps. All the doors need all their numbers.

Philocalist said...

'I would, except we are not allowed to make any changes to the outside! '

Nuts, innit? BUT, if it IS a big problem to you, and it was so easily solved (by putting up numbers yourself, either in isolation or with neighbours) ... what do you REALLY think the Housing Association would do? ... from what you've already said, they appear to take very little interest in any event! :-)

eolake said...

Yeah. Although they care enough to hassle anybody who leaves anything in the stairway.

But maybe I should do it, just cuz either it works, or they might take the hint.

Heck, maybe I'll just pay for buying numbers for all the six entrances, and bribe the caretaker into putting them up.