Assisting public housing tenant with maintenance requests

What was the case?

Diane, an elderly woman, had been living in her home (a public housing property) for 19 years. Towards the start of her tenancy, the Office of Housing had provided a washing machine in her home.

In early 2020, the washing machine broke down. Diane contacted the Office of Housing’s maintenance service to have the machine fixed. When she had not heard back from the Office of Housing for three weeks, she contacted us for assistance.

She had also asked the Office of Housing to replace the property’s carpet with vinyl. She had developed sores on her body that may have been due to insects/pests in the carpet. She provided a letter of support from her doctor for this request.

Our enquiries

We contacted the Office of Housing. They said that in the past, they had provided washing machines to public housing tenants living in housing designated for older people, where there were no communal laundry facilities. They said it was no longer their practice to provide washing machines in these circumstances.

We asked them to consider if they would be able to fix the washing machine or source a second-hand washing machine, taking into consideration Diane’s circumstances as an elderly resident with significant health issues.


In March 2020, the Office of Housing replaced Diane’s washing machine. They also removed the carpets and laid down vinyl, as per Diane and her doctor’s requests.