Clarion Housing struggles after cyber attack

August 3, 2022


The UK’s largest housing association has been struggling to deal with a cyber attack in June.

Social housing landlord Clarion was hit on June 17 when problems emerged with emails, phones and IT systems.

The group has 125,000 properties and 350,000 residents.

In its latest annual report, Clarion reported a £944m turnover with an £258m operating surplus.

On its website, Clarion told its customers: “We are working urgently with our cyber security partner and other experts to restore our systems.

“To do this in a safe and secure way takes time and there will be a gradual return to services. We will continue to post updates on our website including how you can best contact us.”

Clarion claims to have notified the Regulator of Social Housing, the Housing Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner’s Office and The Financial Conduct Authority.

The landlord says it is working with law enforcement agencies.

But its customers are complaining that the issues have still not been resolved more than one month later.

Members of the Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC) are calling for the government to step in to remove and replace Clarion’s board in an open letter to housing minister Marcus Jones.

Former housing secretary Michael Gove had promised to take a “personal and direct” interest in Clarion as part of efforts to improve social housing standards.

Suzanne Muna, SHAC secretary, said: “We are asking for government to urgently intervene in the governance of Clarion after it shut down most of its services on June 17 2022 following a cyber attack. Services have not yet been restored and the organisation has yet to provide a date for doing so.

“Our members ask that the minister of state use his powers of office to remove and replace the Clarion board with competent governors in the immediate future, and engage with tenants and residents over the long-term future of the organisation.”

A spokesman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities told The Big Issue: “This situation is clearly unacceptable.

“We have previously written to Clarion about their failures and will be writing to them again – they must provide a much better deal for their tenants without delay.”

Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford posted on Facebook: “I have been contacted by a number of constituents in recent days with concerns following a cyber attack affecting Clarion Housing.

“I appreciate the concern that this has caused and my office have reached out to Clarion who have a dedicated page on their website for customers with the latest updates.

“During this time Clarion are unable to call customers and tenants that normally pay their rent via telephone will be unable to. Clarion have confirmed that customers can pay via standing order, using the Clarion Online Payment Portal or via the Allpay Card telephone number.

“I recognise that not everyone is confident or able to access services online, so if you know of neighbours or friends that may be affected please do check on them. Or encourage them to contact my office.”

According to Clarion’s website, it states: “The mission of Clarion Housing Group is to provide homes for those who need them most.

“With 125,000 properties and more than 350,000 residents, we are the largest housing association in the country.

“We are a developer as well as a landlord – building thousands of affordable homes every year.

“As Britain’s largest housing association, our residents are at the heart of what we do and we are committed to doing our best by them.

“And we invest in our residents and their communities through Clarion Futures, our charitable foundation. Clarion Futures transforms the lives of thousands of people every year – supporting them into work or training, enabling them to take advantage of the internet, or helping them to manage their money.”

Security Journal UK has contact Clarion for a comment.

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