Case Study 31: Works to Resident Manager accommodation/ complaint handling - Formally resolved

Mrs A is a leaseholder and the Court where she lives has a residential on-site Manager. Mrs A complained that the landlord did not undertake sufficient consultation, or communicate its intentions, before carrying out works to the Court Manager’s accommodation.  Mrs A also complained about the landlord’s administration of the complaint.

The Ombudsman cannot make a binding decision on whether the works should be considered separately (and therefore costing less than £250 per leaseholder and not subject to section 20 consultation) or as one set of works and therefore subject to the consultation requirements. We explained to Mrs A that if she wanted to contest the way in which the landlord had charged leaseholders for works, she could contact the First-tier Property Tribunal Service.

Our investigation found that the landlord reasonably considered Mrs A’s point of view that it had not notified leaseholders of its intention to carry out works to the Court Manager’s accommodation and apologised for this. The landlord’s acknowledgement and apology were reasonable given the concerns raised and so we found there had been no maladministration on the part of the landlord.

We made a finding of service failure with regard to the landlord’s administration of the complaint because this was neither in line with the timescales which it provided to Mrs A and which she reasonably expected it to comply with. The apology that the landlord offered in its final response regarding the delay was not a sufficient recognition of what had gone wrong.  In addition the landlord did not identify how it would prevent such delays happening again.  

We ordered the landlord to pay Mrs A £30 in recognition of the time and trouble taken to pursue the complaint. The landlord did not show any commitment to prevent a recurrence of its failure to communicate an intention to carry out works chargeable to the sinking fund. Therefore we asked the landlord to consider how it has learnt from the outcomes of the complaint and communicate to Mrs A how it will work to prevent a recurrence of delays in complaint handling. We also asked it to confirm how in future it will communicate its intention to carry out any works funded by the sinking fund.