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February 2013

HAWTTMFOF! We’re sure you worked it out, but that’s an acronym for ‘Hello and welcome to this month’s Fact or Fiction’. Like most of the busy modern world, the housing sector loves to shorten stuff (especially tenancies). However some of its time-saving phrases (TSPs) can be a little baffling. So will the experts out there be able to SOTBA (sniff out the bogus acronym) among the FTAR (five that are real)?

Max Salsbury
24housing Magazine


Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Wrong, this is nothing to do with the famous charity. It actually stands for ‘Social Housing organisations and European professionals Linked and acting together for Testing and promoting professionals’ co-ordination in Energy Renovations.’ If you know what any of that means, PDTU (please don’t tell us). Other options using the same words include HEATER and EAT PI. If anyone has their number, by the way, we’d love to know how they answer the phone: “Good morning, Social Housing organisations and European professionals Linked and acting together for Testing and promoting professionals’ co-ordination in Energy Renovations… Hello?”


As any fool knows, the Homes for Islington Housing Management Team has sometimes been called HFIHMT to save time and increase efficiency. Rumour says it was dreamt up during a HFIHMTMCB (Homes for Islington Housing Management Team Meeting Coffee Break). All seems fine until you try to actually say HFIHMT quickly and coherently. It can’t be done. Try it. ‘Red lorry, yellow lorry’ never seemed easier.


Walk into 1,000 pubs in England and we reckon you still wouldn’t find anyone who knows what the initials CECODHAS stand for. NHF chief executive David Orr is a past president of this European group and his efforts for more clarity led to the improved current name of CECODHAS Housing Europe. The network of 45 national and regional housing federations together manages over 27 million homes and clearly does what it says on the tin. Or ‘le tin’ if it’s a crafty French acronym as we suspect.


The housing sector and its business suppliers have faced thousands of extra regulations in recent years and this directive is no exception. As the world becomes increasingly high-tech, how do you get rid of ‘old’ stuff? By following the WEEE (waste electronic and electrical equipment) directive. From state-of-the-art bed alarms to Barry Manilow collections on disturbed memory sticks, we’re not sure just how many housing associations are affected but the acronym made us giggle.


‘Kent’s integrated localism applied levy’, a revenue-raising project from Perama Housing Association, was carelessly concocted in 2011 before anyone in the marketing department had realised how violent it sounded when read out. ‘KILL ALL’ triggered a mixed amount of alarm and media mockery before it was quietly put to sleep. One paper ran a tongue-in-cheek ‘Kill a tenant, Win an iPad’ competition which, rather alarmingly, attracted 25 inquiries. Aimed at maximising structural income, the acronym was designed to save time in departmental meetings. However, the implied command was interpreted by some as a desire to remove social housing clients from its lists and replace them with richer private tenants. One local councillor called the slipup “very unpleasant”.


Sensing a cover-up, this protest group certainly made itself heard in London. THATCH (‘Tower Hamlets against transfer of council housing’) involved a group of local residents who showed it was possible to grab the headlines and get their concerns taken seriously. Not to be confused with BRUSH (Bognor Regis Undertakers Special Hour).

Click here to reveal the answer

ANSWER: Number 5. There’s no such housing association and genocide has yet to be adopted as an official policy for dealing with troublesome residents.