CASE STUDY

Disability adaptations

Investigation finds maladministration in landlord’s handling of a complaint about outstanding disability adaptations

Ms C complained that the landlord had not adapted her home to meet her disabled daughter’s needs as assessed by an occupational therapist. Ms C reported that her six year old daughter has mental health conditions and has limited mobility resulting in her using a wheel chair. Her daughter had experienced numerous falls from the front door step and required assistance in the bathroom.

Ms C initially reported her concerns about missing concrete from her front door step.  Rather than repairing the step, the landlord removed the step completely. The landlord then responded to a further occupational therapy assessment and a disabled facilities grant referral by explaining that it had spent its budget for the financial year, and would re-assess the referral in the next financial year and could make no temporary adaptations in the meantime.

The landlord denied receiving a disabled facilities grant to cover the cost of the works and instead proposed to move Ms C and her daughter into alternative adapted accommodation. The landlord also explained that it would not be making adaptations to the property as the work would exceed the allocated budget of £30,000 without obtaining quotations for the work. Ms C obtained an independent quotation which confirmed that the works required would cost less than £30,000.

Outcome:

We found that the landlord was responsible for maladministration in respect of Ms C’s complaint about disability adaptations. We ordered the landlord to:

• Pay Ms C £550 compensation for distress and inconvenience including sums for delays in consenting to fund major or starting minor adaptations and also delays in responding to her adaptation requests in writing
• Ensure that its review of its adaptations process includes consideration of funding major adaptations costing above £30,000 through its own resources in every case
• Review its staff training needs in respect of the application of its diversity and equality scheme and repairs policy
• Amend its adaptations processes.