Lumo Housing Advisors help to ensure that living in a Lumo home is safe and stable and that the atmosphere in the entire Lumo building is peaceful and harmonious. If you have any housing-related concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a Lumo Housing Advisor!
At its best, living in a Lumo home is cosy and runs smoothly but sometimes it may be difficult to find a common tune with a neighbour or to pay the rent on time. In these situations, the four-person Lumo housing advisory team comes to the rescue! Their ultimate goal is to prevent evictions, find a state of harmony among neighbours and resolve issues so that living is safe and nice for everyone.
“Our work is, first and foremost, preventive. The point is that everyone should feel at home in their Lumo apartment,” summarises Housing Advisor Veera Kantola.
In practice, the team resolves two kinds of challenges: Virve Harju and Ira Kosonen see to matters related to the payment of rent, Veera Kantola and Riikka Pasanen resolve other housing-related problems.
“Problems are often related to disagreements between neighbours or a way of living that is considered disturbing. Sometimes, memory disorders among the elderly may also cause challenges or even confusing situations,” Kantola says.
Often just talking is enough. According to Kantola, the best-case scenario is to resolve the issue among residents.
“For instance, if you hear a dog barking in your neighbour’s apartment, you should first mention it to them. Often the neighbour does not even know that their dog is barking when they are away from home. If you don’t want to talk to them personally, you can write them a friendly note, for instance,” says Kantola.
If opening a discussion does not help, it is time to turn to a Housing Advisor.
“And preferably with a low threshold as issues are easier to resolve before they have grown out of proportion”, notes Riikka Pasanen.
Enabling continued living at home
Many of the issues encountered by Housing Advisors are very personal.
“Each case is different and handling them requires discretion and respect,” says Ira Kosonen.
Sometimes Housing Advisors are contacted also because a neighbour’s behaviour has given rise to concern.
“For instance, an elderly person who has lived in the neighbourhood for a long time has started to behave differently. In such cases, we contact the resident and put out the feelers to find out what it is all about. If necessary, we direct the person to appropriate support services, such as services for the elderly,” Veera Kantola explains.
The goal shared by all the Housing Advisors is to ensure that the resident can continue living at home. Often all that is needed is more support services.
“Situations vary a great deal from one individual to another. In the best case, the resident’s family members participate in the process and we establish a contact with the resident, after which the resident gets support services from society and can continue living at home. When support services for an elderly person are in order, we can also trust that appropriate parties look after the resident,” Kantola adds.
Resolving challenges together
At times, a Housing Advisor is contacted when other residents’ behaviour is considered frightening or emotions become heated due to a negligence of the smoking prohibition or children playing on the parking lot.
Occasionally, different ways of living and cultural collisions, associated with multiculturalism, create challenges.
“Problems may arise simply from the fact that a neighbour acts differently than you would yourself, which may cause confusion or even disturbance. In this case, what is needed is cultural understanding,” says Riikka Pasanen, who works as a Housing Advisor in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
Challenges are often tackled together with property managers but also in cooperation with Lumo residents’ customer service, Kela and social services, for instance.
During the coronavirus pandemic, sounds made by children have evoked more discussion than usually.
“Especially in the spring, when the schools were closed, children might have played at home for long periods of time. In that situation, our task was to discuss what, in general, can be considered normal sounds of life,” Veera Kantola goes on to say.
According to Kantola, just referring to the house rules sometimes solves the problem.
“Common sense should also be used. Frequently, our task is to encourage customers to solve the situation themselves. When the situation can be brought back to normal, residents can often agree on things and the good atmosphere in the building can be preserved. You can get far with encounters that focus on the matter at hand.”
Assistance in rent-related matters
In addition to problems related to the residents’ comfort, many of the contacts with the Housing Advisors are related, one way or another, to the payment of rent. Especially in rent-related challenges, it is better to contact the customer service too early than too late.
“You should not let these things hang as it may make the problems bigger and become more difficult to solve. You should get the payment arrangements for a smaller debt over and done with quickly,” notes Ira Kosonen.
If there is a lot of rent in arrears and the situation is challenging, the resident may be directed from Lumo residents’ customer service to the housing advisory service, which will then analyse the situation more closely.
“We have a certain framework for our operations but during the coronavirus crisis, for instance, we have negotiated on payment periods whenever it’s been possible,” Kosonen says.
If you know that you might be facing a temporary lay-off or unemployment, Ira Kosonen and Virve Harju’s advice is to contact the housing advisory service in advance.
“The situation is easier to handle before it becomes acute. We know who to contact and, when necessary, we direct residents to apply for potential social assistance and housing allowance, for instance, in time,” says Harju.
Veera Kantola and Riikka Pasanen also point out that, no matter what kind of a problem a resident is facing, they should seek Housing Advisors’ assistance at an early stage.
“Sometimes when things have become really complicated, the resident may be very distressed and not thinking clearly. As professionals, it is our task to determine which party the resident should contact first. When things gradually become clearer, it also motivates the resident to take an active role in the future, too,” notes Kantola.
It is also important to remember that contacting a Housing Advisor is nothing to be ashamed of.
“People tend to try to cope and manage, even with gritted teeth, and they often think it is embarrassing to have financial problems or to not come along with the neighbours. However, we are here for the residents and no problem is too large to handle,” Riikka Pasanen says encouragingly.
Pasanen points out that Housing Advisors are not only true professionals but also under an obligation of secrecy.
“Life is always full of surprises and things can happen, but you can talk safely and confidentially to us. And even if the problem had been solved once, you can always contact us again.”
Contact Lumo Housing Advisors through our Customer Service
Lumo is a pioneer in housing advisory service
Lumo is one of the first developers of housing advisory service in Finland. It wanted to pay attention to the residents’ well-being also in this respect: every resident must feel good and safe at home. It serves no-one’s interests if someone has a nagging fear of losing their home or difficulty sleeping at night due to their neighbours’ different lifestyle.
The first Housing Advisor started working in 2014 and the two next ones in 2015 and 2017. As of the beginning of 2020, the housing advisory team has had four members.
At the moment, the housing advisory service has good resources for focusing both on the residents’ comfort and on rent-related challenges. That is good because there is plenty to do. Each year, the team is contacted thousands of times and the number of contacts is constantly increasing.
“The residents are clearly aware that they can get help from the lessor in challenging situations. We are also working to further increase the awareness of our advisory service. We care for our residents,” says Housing Advisor Riikka Pasanen.
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