CASE STUDY

Standard of improvement works

Investigation finds maladministration in landlord’s handling of a complaint about standard of improvement works

Mr and Mrs S complained about the standard of improvements to their home and how the landlord responded to their individual needs whilst handling their complaint. Mr and Mrs S are both disabled and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance for mobility.

Mr and Mrs S had improvement works carried out at their property. They were moved to temporary accommodation while the works were done. On return, they found that the standard of works carried out was poor and the contractor had damaged several items of furniture in the process. Mr S complained to the landlord. It sent a supervisor to inspect the damage and instructed works to make good the damage caused by the contractors.

Contractors were again appointed to carry out works. However further furniture items were damaged in the process. Mr S complained again about the poor standard of works and damage to personal possessions and also requested compensation.

The landlord responded at stage one and two of the complaints procedure asking Mr S to provide evidence of his damaged furniture, despite a supervisor having attended the property to assess the damage. Mr S approached Citizens Advice for assistance.  They suggested a meeting with the landlord and asked the landlord to attend its offices. The landlord refused but welcomed a meeting at its own premises. Mr and Mrs S’s medical conditions were such as to prevent them from travelling. The advisor made this clear to the landlord who would not agree to make adjustments to meet Mr and Mrs S. Both stage one and two responses were not titled as such and Mr and Mrs S were not advised of next steps to progress their complaint if they remained dissatisfied. At stage three the landlord maintained that there was no evidence that the damage to the furniture was caused by contractors and no compensation was offered to Mr and Mrs S for the damage or inconvenience.

Outcome:

We found maladministration in the landlord’s handling of Mr S’ complaint taking into account how it responded to their individual circumstances.
We ordered that the landlord:
• Pay Mr S £500 compensation, comprising £300 for distress and £200 for time and trouble caused
• Apologise to Mr S in writing and explain how it will learn from this complaint and improve its service
• Review its complaints procedure and staff training.