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CASE STUDY

Residents’ support removed

Severe maladministration found in group complaint from 29 residents about reduction in support services

Ms C complained on behalf of a group of residents about the housing association’s decision to reduce the level of support services at their block. The complaint was from 29 residents in supported accommodation for the elderly.

Following the withdrawal of local authority financing of support the landlord withdrew the daily support visits to its residents, initially replacing these with weekly support visits. These weekly visits were later withdrawn leaving residents with an alarm service. It notified residents in writing and kept an unsigned copy of this letter on the housing file.

The residents concerned held one of two types of tenancy agreement, depending on when the tenancy commenced.

Group 1 held tenancies with terms specifying that the landlord would visit each day of the residency and would respond to any emergency alarm, and, that should supporting people funding not be available the residents would have to pay for the cost of the service.

Group 2 had tenancies that did not include these terms, but included a charge for the alarm and intensive housing management.

Outcome:

We found severe maladministration for the residents in Group 1. The landlord had removed a contractual service from these residents without following an appropriate legal process. We made a further finding of maladministration for all residents as the landlord had failed to appropriately consult residents about the changes to the service until 16 months after the change was implemented. We ordered the landlord to pay all tenants £250 for the distress and inconvenience caused with an additional £250 for those in Group 1. We also ordered the landlord to write to all residents apologising for its failure to appropriately consult before removing services.

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