Case Study 37: Disrepair - Formally resolved

Mr F complained to us about his landlord’s handling of a leak and resulting damp and mould problems. He had reported a leak in his home in July 2012. The landlord carried out a temporary repair in November 2012 but then failed to complete a permanent repair. There was no dispute that this had caused damp and mould to spread throughout the house, making a bedroom uninhabitable.

Although remedial works were identified by the landlord as necessary, they remained outstanding over two years later when Mr F brought his complaint to us. This meant Mr F had to decorate the affected rooms to try and alleviate the problem but continued to suffer from the damp and mould, including not being able to use one of the bedrooms at all.

As well as the delays to the repairs, there had also been unreasonable delays during the complaint procedure. It took 9 months for the landlord to send its first formal response to Mr F, and this was only following our intervention. Mr F then escalated his complaint and again did not receive a response until we intervened. The landlord also repeatedly failed to keep the promises about the repairs it made in these responses.

As a result we found severe maladministration to reflect the number and severity of failures by the landlord, including some which remained unresolved at the conclusion of our investigations.  We ordered the landlord to complete the repairs within two months, and that it pay Mr F a total of £2250.

This case demonstrated a lack of understanding of the principles of dispute resolution, the landlord did not treat Mr F fairly nor did it try and put things right even when it acknowledged there had been a service failure. We are working with the landlord to try and help it learn from this and other complaints made to us by its residents.