Case Study 38: Repairs - Formally resolved

Ms M complained to us about the time taken by the landlord to repair a communal door to her building.

Ms M reported the broken communal door in August 2012, and then complained to the landlord a month later when it failed to respond. The landlord’s response to the complaint in October promised to replace the door, but did not address the past delays or lack of communication.

Although the landlord did raise a work order in October with a due date in November, the door was not replaced until January 2013 and the other works remained outstanding.

Ms M complained again to the landlord, and this resulted in a final response eight months later, in September 2013. The landlord upheld her complaints that the works were overdue, that Ms M had been left to organise the contractors herself, and that the complaint procedure had been delayed. It offered £125 as a goodwill gesture and explained that a new team had been set up to monitor similar issues in the future.

Ms M contacted us 6 months after the landlord’s final response to complain that the same problems persisted. The landlord explained to us that as it had received an invoice for the works it had assumed they had been completed. However once it inspected the door following our intervention it found the works had not been done (now 19 months after Miss M’s first report). Therefore we continued to monitor the complaint with the landlord and Miss M so that the works were completed by August 2014.

As a result of the landlord’s repeated failure to learn from the complaint, despite our intervention, we found that there had been severe maladministration by the landlord. Landlords must use complaints to review and, where necessary, improve their service. Where serious failures have been identified these must be learnt from, failure to do so indicates possible systemic weakness in the landlord’s culture and/or practices.

We ordered the landlord to provide a single point of contact for Ms M to improve its management of the repair and complaint and that it provide evidence of how it had reviewed its communications to tenants about repairs. We also ordered an additional £350 in compensation for Ms M in recognition of the further the delays she had experienced as a result of the landlord’s continued poor service.