James Hadlee is the Tenancy Relations Manager at OCHT and his teams include maintenance, customer service, community development, asset management and placements.
His team includes some of OCHT’s more recognisable faces and voices, with many of his staff known to OCHT tenants on a first name basis.
“I have a team of 14 people. I’m very proud of them all. They truly care about our tenants and they put people at ease. It’s not always an easy job and it has its challenges. But it is an important role and we work to ensure people have a home to live in,” says James.
James has worked in community housing since he was 23 years old. He has spent time at Housing New Zealand and the Christchurch City Council.
“I was at the Council when OCHT was established. I came over because I liked what OCHT was trying to achieve and I wanted to work more closely with tenants to ensure better outcomes,” says James.
James is Christchurch born and raised. He says the size of the city and the ease of getting around is what appeals to him. He is excited about the renewed vibrancy in the city and is hopeful for the future.
“One of my most challenging career moments was during the earthquakes. I was working at the Christchurch City Council and in a very short space of time we had to relocate more than 150 people as a result of the loss of housing. I look back on this as a rewarding but difficult time. In terms of career highlights, working with the team at OCHT has to be at the top. They are exceptional. We are all working hard to take on board feedback and make small, but important, steps to improve the happiness of our tenants, “says James.
An example of small steps includes the change from a ‘mulching approach’ to mowing grass to OCHT’s new standard of removing clippings.
“It is a small detail, but many tenants have expressed how much of a difference it makes,” says James.
James works closely with the Tenancy Advisory Group. A group of tenants assigned with the task of representing the body of tenants. He regularly attends their monthly meetings.
“Working with the Tenancy Advisory Group has given me greater insight into the needs of tenants. The voice of our tenants matters. We are already starting to see some action from these meetings – better communication is one area we are working to get right,” says James.
James has interests outside of work, even outside of Christchurch. He is a keen skier, loves to travel and has a couple of overseas trips planned for this year.
“I love to travel. I enjoy seeing the world, but also our beautiful county. I took a trip to the Catlins last month and I want to see Milford Sound next. We are so lucky to have so many great destinations on our doorstep.”