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Severe maladministration for Clarion’s excessive delay in removing resident from tenancy 

1 December 2022

The Ombudsman found severe maladministration for Clarion’s failings in handling a resident’s request to be removed from a tenancy. It had a significant impact on the resident as he was unable to start a new tenancy so did not have a secure home for two years and caused him considerable time and effort in pursuing the issue.  

Tenancy agreement signing

We found severe maladministration for Clarion’s failings in handling a resident’s request to be removed from a tenancy. It had a significant impact on the resident as he was unable to start a new tenancy so did not have a secure home for two years and caused him considerable time and effort in pursuing the issue.  

The resident held a joint tenancy with his former partner and asked to be removed from the tenancy as they were separating and he was moving out of the property. The landlord advised that he could not be removed as there were rent arrears, which the resident has provided evidence to show he paid in full within a week. Six months later his name was still on the tenancy and he raised a complaint and then later escalated it informing the landlord that he was unable to begin a new tenancy while the joint tenancy was still existing. He was having to stay with relatives until he could start a new tenancy elsewhere. The landlord said there were still rent arrears but these had been accrued since the previous arrears were paid by the resident.  

Our investigation found that the landlord’s handling of the issue was unacceptable and not in accordance with its tenancy change policies. The landlord’s correspondence was delayed, sporadic, and impractical as it was sent to the resident’s previous address. As a result, there was an excessive delay in removing the resident from the tenancy agreement, which caused a significant detrimental impact as he had been unable to move into a new property, so had to live with relatives for two years. The landlord did not acknowledge this within its complaint responses so had not responded to the complaint appropriately. 

We also found maladministration for the landlord’s complaint handling. Its failure to investigate the resident’s complaint led to a substantial delay in resolving the issue and the landlord failed to offer appropriate compensation. 

In October we issued a special report on Clarion following concerns about its response to complaints about damp and mould and pest control, together with complaint handling. It found poor complaint handling often added to existing delays in addressing the service provision issue. Of the findings outlined in the report, three-quarters were upheld. 

Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, said: “There were a number of failings by the landlord in this case which had a significant impact on the resident. He was put to additional time and effort in pursuing the complaint, which prolonged the stress and inconvenience waiting for his tenancy issue to be resolved.  

“The landlord engaged extensively with the Ombudsman during this year and used our decisions to help identify areas for service improvement.  

“Action is still required by the landlord to achieve a positive complaint handling culture. This needs to be driven by strong leadership focused on redress and learning, with its governing body continuing to play a key role to help achieve oversight and scrutiny. 

“I welcome the landlord’s response on its learning from this case and the changes being made to improve its service. I would encourage other landlords to consider the learning the case offers for their own services.” 

We ordered the landlord to remove the resident from the tenancy and to pay £1,000 compensation. We also recommended that the landlord review its policy on tenancy charges, provide staff training and review its record keeping.

Read the report 

In cases of severe maladministration we invite the landlord to provide a short statement on the lessons learned following the decision.    

A Clarion Housing Group spokesperson said: 

“We are extremely sorry for how this case was managed. Our resident had every right to be removed from the tenancy and we failed to manage the process appropriately. We will of course comply with the judgement from the Housing Ombudsman and are determined the right lessons are learned. 

“It is important to recognise that this case dates back to 2020 and that is when the mistakes were made. Since that time, we have introduced a number of changes to our customer service policies. We have a new process to ensure that in cases like this, our residents are contacted by the appropriate internal team within 48 hours. Colleagues have received further training and development and there is a drive across the organisation to improve direct communication with residents. In addition, we have developed and implemented new systems to improve how we identify and consider customers’ needs.”