Case Study 28: Water penetration - Formally resolved

Mrs S complained about water penetrating into her flat from around her bedroom and living room windows.

Mrs S first reported the problem in 2011 and made a formal complaint to her landlord later the same year. Other tenants in the block reported similar problems with their windows. Over the following three years the landlord made a number of inspections, held meetings with the tenants and arranged repair works. However, the problem was not resolved and the water penetration continued.

The landlord took five months to issue its final decision following the complaints panel meeting. The panel acknowledged that the time taken to find a solution was not satisfactory, but no further explanation or apology was provided to Mrs S. The landlord offered her £200 compensation for its delays in responding to her enquiries.

We found that there was maladministration by the landlord in its response to Mrs S’s complaint. There had been an unreasonable delay in issuing the complaint panel’s decision and found that the compensation offered did not provide appropriate or proportionate redress for the time taken to rectify the problems with the windows.

We ordered the landlord to pay Mrs S the £200 offered by the complaints panel, plus £120 previously offered for damage to her belongings. We also ordered it to pay £400 for any distress and inconvenience that may have been caused by the time taken to resolve the water penetration.

We also recommended that the landlord should keep Mrs S and other tenants informed about action being taken to resolve the problem and, once resolved, should redecorate or provide decoration vouchers.

Overall it so complaints process had not treated Mrs S fairly; its eventual offers of redress did not appropriately reflect the detriment to Mrs S and so could not have put matters right.