CASE STUDY

Disabled adaptations delays

A landlord’s handling of a request for disabled adaptations and subsequent complaint was unreasonable due to delays and lack of redress

Ms C complained that the landlord declined to make the adaptations for her mobility condition recommended by her occupational therapist to enable her to continue to use her home almost a year and a half after she requested them. It also said there were no other adapted properties available for her to move to. Ms C reported that the landlord subsequently delayed responding to her initial formal complaint for over seven months and that it did not offer to compensate her for its delays.

We found the landlord’s delayed responses to Ms C’s adaptations request and formal complaint and its lack of compensation for them to be unreasonable.  Although it went on to apologise for the delays, assess the feasibility of the adaptations, transfer her to alternative adapted accommodation, arrange for removals, cover her expenses and agree a minor adaptation in the meantime, this did not reflect either the length of its delays or its lack of proactivity.

While the landlord suggested that Ms C was partly responsible for delaying her transfer by failing to submit her application sooner, its delays meant that she was not directed to do so in a timely manner and reduced her prospects of finding alternative adapted accommodation. It should have instead assessed the feasibility of the adaptations recommended by her occupational therapist at the time of her request and provided her with assistance to find more suitable alternative accommodation upon declining the adaptations as disproportionately expensive and impracticable. The landlord also failed to adequately explain its unreasonably lengthy delay in responding to her formal complaint, which was contrary to its complaints procedure.

Outcome:

As a result, we determined that the landlord was responsible for maladministration in its handling of Ms C’s request for disabled adaptations and formal complaint and ordered it to pay compensation totalling £150 for the distress, inconvenience, time and trouble caused by its delays. We also ordered the landlord to review its response to adaptations requests in view of the failings identified.