Case Study 25: Estate services – application of the dispute resolution principles

Mr A’s complaint was about the landlord’s delivery of estate services and the condition and maintenance of the block that he lived in. He specifically complained about the cleaning service, the upkeep of the garden areas, cracks and leaks in the communal corridor walls, and the landlord’s delays in undertaking renovation works to the communal areas.

The landlord considered Mr A’s complaint under its own complaints procedure. At the final stage of its procedure, it acknowledged that it had failed to follow up the actions it had proposed in its earlier responses. It therefore agreed to arrange clearance of the garden areas, to carry out repairs to communal walls, to review and monitor the standard of cleaning and to update Mr A on the outcome of this, and to offer him £150 in compensation for the time that had been taken to remedy these matters.

Mr A brought his complaint to the Housing Ombudsman. The landlord confirmed to us that all the work that it had agreed to carry out in its final response to Mr A’s complaint had been completed. However it also told us that the actions agreed in its final response with regard to the cleaning were not communicated to the Cleaning Team and as a consequence it was unable to evidence whether any visits took place to review the standard of the cleaning. The landlord also accepted that it could have done more to communicate the results of its monitoring to Mr A and to give him the opportunity to provide feedback on this. In recognition of this, the landlord offered to increase its offer of compensation to £200.

We noted that the Council had acknowledged its mistakes and had made an increased offer of compensation. However we identified further steps that the landlord could take to resolve the complaint. We therefore suggested that the landlord contact Mr A directly to offer an apology and to discuss the outstanding issues.

Following our comments, the landlord did meet with Mr A, and discussed the various issues and the actions it intended to take with him. Mr A then confirmed to us that he felt that the landlord’s proposed actions were fair. We advised both parties that we considered that the complaint had been satisfactorily resolved.

We also noted that the landlord had applied the dispute resolution principles in order to resolve the complaint. It had done this firstly by ‘being fair’, in that it had acknowledged its failure to follow through the actions that it had proposed at the final stage of its complaints procedure. It had then ‘put things right’, by meeting with Mr A in person to apologise and to discuss his complaint and the outstanding issues in further detail.  Finally the landlord had demonstrated that it had ‘learnt from outcomes’, in that it had explained the measures it had put in place to ensure that the cleaning is monitored in future and how Mr A could be involved in this process.