CASE STUDY

Property standard at letting

Complaint about the standard of a property at the start of the tenancy resolved with the Ombudsman’s assistance

Mr X, a tenant who was registered blind, complained to the landlord about the condition of his property at the start of his tenancy. Mr X took steps to clean and re-decorate the property and requested compensation from the landlord for costs incurred of approximately £4,000. The landlord acknowledged that the property had not met its void standard. It apologised and offered £140 in recognition of service failures associated with the condition of the property, the failure to inform Mr X of its reporting procedures, and the cost of cleaning materials he had purchased. Mr X was dissatisfied with the landlord’s offer and brought the complaint to the Ombudsman.

We facilitated early resolution of the dispute by exploring with Mr X what constituted a reasonable offer. Mr X acknowledged that he had decorated the property to a high standard and that the landlord was not responsible for decorating costs under the tenancy agreement. We also encouraged the landlord to consider whether it had done enough to put matters right.  We suggested that the landlord consider how it could learn from this complaint in working with vulnerable tenants and whether its offer of compensation was fair in all the circumstances, particularly given the works undertaken by Mr X to prepare the property for redecoration.

Outcome:

We brought the tenant and landlord together in a conference call. The landlord identified a number of ways to learn from the outcome of the complaint, including that Mr X would be invited to join its local scrutiny panel. It also increased its offer of compensation to £1,120 to cover the costs of works that Mr X would not have incurred had the property met appropriate standards at the start of his tenancy, as well as for time and trouble he had taken in carrying out the works. In Mr X’s and the Ombudsman’s opinion, this resolved the complaint.