Industry News

Housing Ombudsman starts publishing investigation reports on individual cases

The Ombudsman has started publishing all decisions on cases it has investigated and will continue to do so every fortnight, as part of a major step in increasing transparency of its work and of the social housing sector. Publishing outcomes like this will provide an

ever-expanding resource to promote learning across the sector and demonstrate the difference complaints can make for individual residents and be of wider benefit. The first cases published highlight the wide range

of issues considered, including Right to Buy, moving home, repairs and anti-social behaviour, as well as the type of outcomes following investigations. The landlord in each case is identified. Highlights of the first group of decisions to be

published are:

• A finding of maladministration (service failure) where Metropolitan Housing Trust failed to do enough or act quickly enough to address the anti- social behaviour issues reported, including noise nuisance (201905797).

• A Notting Hill Genesis case about the accuracy of information provided to a resident concerning their Right to Buy where an agreed settlement of £500 compensation was reached through a mediation process (201809422).

• A Stockport Homes case where no evidence was found that the landlord was required to reimburse a resident for improvements at a previous property and any alterations needed at the new property should be determined by an occupational therapy assessment (202002678).

• A finding of reasonable redress in a London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham case about repairs where the landlord took steps to acknowledge its failures in relation to delays and offered satisfactory compensation (202003176).

• A complaint about an application to move property where no maladministration was found

in how Thirteen Housing dealt with the resident’s application but service failure was found in how it handled her complaint due to delayed responses and poor record keeping (201910486).

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “This is a crucial step towards greater transparency, accountability and demonstrating the difference complaints can make. The first cases published show the wide range of issues we handle, and the different outcomes we reach, investigating in an independent, fair and impartial way. “Our investigations are a critical tool for learning.

Our casebook provides essential knowledge, helping landlords to improve performance and services. I would encourage landlord staff – whether a board member or frontline staff – and anyone who cares

about achieving excellence to regularly consult our casebook to develop their organisation and improve the experiences of residents. The publication of our investigations is also important to help residents to understand our work and see the decisions we make about their landlord.” See all decisions published This initial group of decisions provide lessons for

service improvement, particularly in the way landlords deal with cases of anti-social behaviour, as well as highlighting a number of common complaint handling issues including poor record keeping, delays in responding and the lack of clear and timely communication. This first set of decisions to be published were issued in early December 2020 as they are published three months after the decision date.

Landlord apologises after window falls from fifth-floor flat

One of the country’s largest social landlords has issued an apology after a window fell from the fifth floor of one of its blocks of flats in north London, landing on the patio of a ground-floor flat below. Following the incident residents at the block in

Bourne Place, South Kilburn, Brent, were advised to keep their windows shut while their landlord (L&Q) “urgently” carried out a full inspection.

Although no-one was hurt by the falling window,

a spokesperson for L&Q said it was a shocking and worrying incident. They added that the association’s surveyors assessed there was “no further immediate risk”. The spokesperson for L&Q said: “The safety

of residents is our number-one priority, and we are very sorry for the concern this has caused. Our surveying team attended the site

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immediately to make the window safe and begin a thorough investigation into why and how

this happened. “We were able to check the windows in the

homes where we were able to gain access. Our surveyors have assessed that there is no further immediate risk but advised residents to keep windows shut while we urgently complete a full inspection.”

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