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CASE STUDY

Anti-social behaviour complaint

Landlord fails to provide evidence or follow its policy commitments in dealing with anti-social behaviour case

Ms J is an assured shorthold tenant who reported problems with her neighbours, who she reported had been verbally abusive towards her. The landlord, a housing association, provided diary sheets to Ms J which she was asked to complete. The landlord also advised Ms J that the neighbour had been sent a written warning.

Within a week a further incident was reported with the neighbour allegedly deliberately damaging Ms J’s garden and gardening equipment. The problems continued over a period of 11 months with Ms J reporting further incidents including deliberate noise nuisance and verbal harassment and abuse. The landlord offered to refer the neighbours to mediation but when this was refused by Ms J it closed its case stating that the incidents did not amount to anti-social behaviour.

The landlord’s initial response to the reports of verbal abuse was outside its policy timescale by a number of weeks. There were no exceptional circumstances to explain this delay. There was no evidence of any investigation into the allegations of damage to Ms J’s property, and no response was provided by the landlord. There was also no evidence of engagement with the neighbour about the situation at the property. The landlord did not therefore meet any of its policy commitments in relation to how it would respond to reports of anti-social behaviour. The landlord’s decision that the reports did not amount to anti-social behaviour was not supported by information in its policy. None of the complaint responses explained how Ms J could escalate the complaint. This caused delays and inconvenience as she had to seek assistance to pursue the matter.

Outcome:

We made a finding of maladministration. The landlord had been unable to provide evidence to support its decisions, had delayed in taking action and had failed to adequately follow the commitments in its policy. The landlord was ordered to pay £350 compensation to Ms J for distress and time and trouble.

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