We have published a report bringing together our insight from handling almost 2,000 complaints from leaseholders and shared owners over the last two years. These resulted in more than 800 formal investigations with redress required in some form in just over half of the cases investigated.
‘A new lease of life: Spotlight on leasehold, shared ownership and new builds’ shows complaint handling itself being the area of most consistent concern where maladministration (including partial maladministration) was found in 72% of cases. This is double our average uphold rate. Key issues identified are difficulties getting through the complaints procedure, delays and periods of inaction.
The report provides learning points on complaint handling plus three other areas where maladministration or partial maladministration are found most often. They are repairs, estate management and charges. It also looks at staircasing and issues related to cladding and building safety, areas where we have now received several complaints.
The report also identifies 12 landlords (six housing associations and six councils) with the highest number of maladministration findings (including partial maladministration and severe maladministration).
Case studies demonstrate the real life experiences of residents and illustrate the range of findings and outcomes in our work and how lessons can be drawn from those to share more widely.
In almost 40 recommendations, we urge landlords to improve lease agreements at the outset, strengthen systems and improve approaches to capturing and sharing knowledge and information within their organisations.
Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “The continued growth of home ownership through social landlords makes it timely to publish this report providing learning that is relevant throughout organisations. It is sometimes overlooked that we deal with cases brought by homeowners whose lease is with a member of our Scheme. Around one in five of our decisions follows a complaint from a leaseholder or shared owner. The lessons drawn from the cases are practical and common sense, covering different aspects of the customer’s journey, from initial purchase to staircasing, estate works and service charges. In particular we would encourage sector collaboration to find solutions to some common issues.”
‘A new lease of life’ is the second in our series of Spotlight reports which share the learning from our complaints and provide best practice to help landlords improve their services and complaint handling.