East Devon District Council
21 August 2023
The Housing Ombudsman’s approach to investigating and determining complaints is to decide what is fair in all the circumstances of the case. This is set out in the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Ombudsman Scheme (the Scheme). The Ombudsman considers the evidence and looks to see if there has been any ‘maladministration’, for example whether the landlord has failed to keep to the law, followed proper procedure, followed good practice or behaved in a reasonable and competent manner.
Both the resident and the landlord have submitted information to the Ombudsman and this has been carefully considered. Their accounts of what has happened are summarised below. This report is not an exhaustive description of all the events that have occurred in relation to this case, but an outline of the key issues as a background to the investigation’s findings.
- The complaint is about the landlord’s:
- record keeping;
- handling of the resident’s reports of heating issues;
- handling of the resident’s reports of window issues.
- The resident holds a secure tenancy that began on 18 November 2020. The property is an electrically heated semi-detached house. The landlord is a district council.
- The resident’s original complaint to the landlord concerned the general condition of her property at sign up, with specific reference to the heating, windows, and garden. The resident has subsequently told this Service that her primary concerns were with the heating and windows. As such, this report is focused on those matters. Additional concerns raised by the resident are included for the purpose of context.
- The landlord’s procedure stated that it operated a two stage complaints process, with written responses provided to residents within 20 working days at both stages.
Responsive repairs policy
- The landlord’s policy explained how it would achieve the aims of its repairs service. This included listening to any problems that residents had about repairs, and trying to put them right.
- It stated the ways in which a resident could report a repair that the landlord would respond to. These included in writing, by email, and via any member of staff.
- It set out the landlord’s repair obligations, which included its commitment to repair and maintain heating equipment and windows.
- It defined what the landlord would classify as an emergency repair. It stated that all non-emergency repairs would be completed as soon as possible, and at a time that suited its contractor and the resident.
Summary of events
- On 18 November 2020, the landlord completed its ‘tenancy sign up checklist’, which the resident signed.
- On 16 February 2021, the resident made a complaint to the landlord via its webform. The resident explained that she had received the keys to her property on 17 November 2020, but had not moved in until 24 December 2020 due to the condition of the property. She said that she had been in contact with the landlord’s housing team, but had not heard from its maintenance team. She stated that as such, she had been advised to make a complaint. The key points of the resident’s complaint were as follows:
- She said that she had kept her electricity provider from her previous home, and had called it to give the meter reading when she moved into the property on 24 December 2020.
- She stated that on 24 January 2021 she received an electricity bill from the provider for £240. She said that she had called the provider to check if this was an error, as she could not believe that this could be the cost for one month. She stated that she had also called the landlord’s housing team about it.
- She said that she had reviewed the electricity bills from November and December 2020 when she was not living at the property. She said that she had noted that the night storage heaters (NSH) and panel heaters had been left on, but that a bare minimum of other electricity had been used.
- She stated that when she had received the keys to the property, there had been damp from recently completed wall plastering works that were still wet.
- She raised the following additional points:
- Despite its cost, the house was barely warm, and the heating ineffective.
- Her back door would not shut or lock correctly. This had been repaired but the door was still in poor condition and badly fitted.
- The front and back gardens had been left in a dangerous condition, scattered with glass, metal, felled trees, and broken pottery.
- The windows had gaps around them causing draughts.
- She had not seen the electrical performance certificate (EPC) completed following a recent domestic energy assessment.
- On 15 March 2021, the landlord sent its stage one complaint response to the resident. The landlord said that it was unsure why the resident had not been able to move into the property for over a month after her sign up. It provided the meter readings that it said had been taken on 12 November 2020. It explained that the wall plaster would not have been left wet, but that it was its standard to leave the heating on low to prevent damp and mould. The landlord responded to the resident’s other points as follows:
- It said that the heating had been confirmed as working correctly during the void period, and that it had been checked again the day after the resident’s complaint was received, with no issues reported back.
- It accepted that the NSH looked old fashioned, but said that they were still functioning properly and not in need of replacement.
- It stated that the energy assessment had been completed as part of its ‘green homes grant’ programme, but that the resident’s property was not within the current phase of upgrades.
- It explained that the resident’s door had been fixed within its usual timeframes, and the contractor had not reported back that it needed replacement.
- It advised that the garden was the resident’s responsibility, but that it had completed a garden clearance at void stage. It stated that it was not aware that anything had been left in the garden, but that if the resident provided photographs following her sign up, it would review this element of her complaint again.
- It said that it had raised a job for the windows to be inspected, and its contractor would be in touch.
- It advised the process for escalating a complaint if the resident remained dissatisfied.
- On 18 March 2021, the resident replied to the landlord’s stage one complaint email. She provided two PowerPoint presentations that depicted photographs of her property and garden with accompanying brief descriptions. The key points of the resident’s email were as follows:
- She expressed her surprise that the information regarding her heating, given to the landlord by its contractor, conflicted with what the contractor had told her.
- She stated that her heating was an ongoing issue, and that the contractor who had attended had told her that two of the NSH had faulty thermostats. She said that the contractor had further advised that the heating would be consuming an extortionate amount of electricity. She asked that this be investigated.
- She said that she accepted that the garden was her responsibility, but that her PowerPoint presentation showed it had not been cleared. She asked that the landlord confirm how it would deal with this.
- She stated that the landlord’s contractor had attended for the windows, and had advised her that either the windows or their seals needed replacing. She said that this had been a few weeks ago and she was still awaiting the work.
- On 12 April 2021, the landlord emailed its stage two complaint response to the resident. The landlord’s key points were as follows:
- It stated that electrical heating did have a higher running cost than gas, but that the resident’s NSH had been tested and confirmed as functioning properly and as such would not be replaced.
- It said that its contractor was experiencing a higher than normal workload, but would contact the resident as soon as it was able to with regards to her windows.
- It said that it was concerned at the resident’s allegation that the photographs that she had provided depicted the state of her garden when her tenancy began.
- It advised that an appointment had been made for a manager to visit the resident on 16 April 2021 to re-inspect the garden and resolve that element of her complaint. It advised it would contact her again once the outcome of that visit was known.
- It thanked the resident for the photographs of the inside her property, and apologised that holes that had been filled during its voids works had not been sanded down. It confirmed that it would have expected its contractor to have done that.
- It referred the resident to this Service if she remained dissatisfied.
- On 12 April 2021, the resident replied to the landlord’s stage two complaint email. She thanked the landlord for arranging the garden inspection, but stated that she was upset that the contractor had reported that her heating was functional, which she said was not the case. She explained that some of the NSH thermostats did not work, and that the panel heaters gave off a potent chemical smell when used. The resident reiterated that £270 a month for heating was extreme.
Summary of events after the completion of the landlord’s complaint process
- On 4 June 2021, the landlord’s rent officer sent an internal email following a call from the resident. The email said that the resident had reported that the landlord’s contractor had attended three times with regards to her windows, but that the repairs were still incomplete. The rent officer’s email also said that the resident had stated that her heaters and garden still had unresolved issues from when she had first moved into the property.
- On 11 June 2021, the landlord replied to the internal email, confirming that it was asking the NSH manufacturer to visit the resident to show her how to use the heaters. It also stated that it was seeking a quote for the garden clearance, despite it having photographic evidence that showed the garden was cleared during its voids process.
- On 22 December 2021, the landlord replied to the resident’s email that it said it had received on 12 December 2021. The landlord’s email stated that the NSH manufacturer had serviced all of the resident’s heaters, and confirmed that they were working as they should be. It advised that it had reviewed whether the resident’s property could be included in its ‘green home grant’ scheme. It said that the resident’s property had a current EPC rating of D, and that the scheme was currently focused on properties with a lower rating. It stated that it would likely be another year or two before the scheme reached properties with a D rating.
- On 22 December 2021, the resident replied to the landlord’s email, and disputed that the heating manufacturer had said that her heaters were in good working condition. She said that the person who had attended had been honest, and had said that her heaters were too old to repair, and would need updating. The key points of the resident’s email were as follows:
- She said that all she wanted was adequate heating in her home, which she said she had not had since she had moved in.
- She said that she was struggling with the cost of running the heating.
- She raised the following issues with the heaters:
- The lounge heater had a broken dial that prevented her from being able to change the thermostat setting.
- The kitchen heater was stuck on a low setting that did not heat the room.
- The landing heater was stuck on a high setting, and could not be adjusted.
- All of the panel heaters let off an awful odour that caused headaches.
- On 23 December 2021 the landlord exchanged internal emails. The emails restated that the heating manufacturer had said that the resident’s NSH were dated and would need an upgrade at some point, but that they were fully functional. It said that if the resident was reporting that this was no longer the case, she should report it as per a regular repair.
- On 25 January 2022, the resident emailed this Service to raise her concerns with the landlord’s handling of her complaint. She stated that her main problems regarded the issues with her heating and her windows.
- On 26 January 2022, the landlord exchanged internal emails. The emails stated that the resident had emailed again regarded her heating, and that she had now also passed the matter to this Service. It asked if the resident’s NSH could be serviced again, as one was stuck on low and one was stuck on high. It also queried if the resident’s window seal replacements were still outstanding. The internal response expressed reservations about the resident’s NSH. It stated that the NSH were old but also functional, and that there were other properties with far greater need. It also stated that replacing the heaters would have negligible impact on the resident’s heating bills, and expressed concern that this was one of her key issues. It confirmed that it would ask its contractor to attend and provide a quotation to renew the NSH.
- On 9 February 2022, the landlord exchanged internal emails, chasing if a quotation had yet been received for the resident’s heaters.
- On 24 February 2022, the landlord’s contractor confirmed that it had attended the resident’s property to price up a quotation on 17 February 2022, but had not gotten access. It said that it had rebooked the visit for 28 February 2022.
- On 15 March 2022, the landlord’s contractor emailed the landlord confirmation that it had attended on 28 February 2022, and provided details on the proposed heater replacements that it said would take at least three days’ work.
- On 5 July 2022, the landlord sent an internal email requesting details regarding its contractor’s attendances at the resident’s property, that it could provide to this Service.
- On 6 July 2022, the contractor replied to the landlord’s email. The key points of the contractor’s email were as follows:
- With regards to the resident’s heating:
- It stated that it had first received an order from the landlord on 17 February 2021, to check the heating and report back.
- It said that following its February 2022 visit to the resident, it had emailed the landlord the same day and advised that all heaters were old and in need of replacement.
- It stated that it had struggled to provide a quote due to the heating manufacturer’s material shortages, and fluctuating prices, but that it was now awaiting the landlord’s verification on the quote it had since provided.
- With regards to the resident’s windows:
- It said that had received an order from the landlord to check the resident’s window seals on 17 February 2021, and had subsequently made contact with her after having twice carded her property.
- It said that the resident’s front door side panel glazing had been due to arrive on 30 March 2021, and that the work was confirmed as having been completed.
- It stated that it had received a recall works order for the resident’s property on 1 June 2021. It said that the notes from its windows subcontractor’s attendance had said that there were many repairs required to all of the resident’s windows.
- It said that it received an order from the landlord for the window repairs on 15 October 2021, but that there had been a huge delay with obtaining materials.
- It advised that it had made an appointment with the resident in February 2022, but that it had been cancelled due to the attending operatives both contracting Covid 19.
- It stated that the window subcontractor had since advised that as the resident’s property needed so many window repairs, with no guarantee that it would resolve all the issues, the best option would be full window replacement works.
- With regards to the resident’s heating:
- On 6 July 2022, the landlord’s repairs log stated that works were raised to replace the resident’s heaters. The repairs log showed that the works had a target completion date of 3 August 2022.
- On 21 July 2022, the landlord emailed this Service. The key points of the landlord’s email were as follows:
- It advised that it was aware that the resident’s windows were in need of replacement. It stated that this would be done as part of its ongoing window replacement programme.
- It said that it could not yet give a date for the resident’s window works, but that it would continue to repair individual issues if they arose.
- It stated that as a result of the resident’s complaint and continued dissatisfaction following her contact in December 2021, it had decided to take her property off of its heating upgrade programme to speed up the process. It said that it had asked its contractor to quote for a heating renewal.
- It said that it wanted to make clear that the resident’s heaters were old and due for replacement in the near future, but that they had worked satisfactorily. It emphasised that it had to prioritise properties with a lower EPC rating, and those with either faulty or no heating.
- On 17 August 2022, the landlord’s repairs record stated that the resident’s heaters had been renewed.
- On 3 April 2023, the landlord’s repairs log stated that works were raised for the resident’s windows. The repairs log showed that the works had a target completion date of 1 May 2023, and an actual completion date of 9 May 2023.
- On 11 May 2023, the landlord’s repairs log stated that further works were raised for the resident’s windows. The repairs log showed that the works had a target completion date of 8 June 2023, and an actual completion date of 15 June 2023.
- On 3 August 2023, the landlord emailed this Service and advised that it was renewing some of the resident’s windows on a reactive basis, separate from its main renewal programme. It stated that it was awaiting measurements for three of the resident’s windows, and that once they were received, the quotation would be assessed before work proceeded.
- On 14 August 2023, the landlord emailed this Service and advised that works to renew the resident’s three windows had been completed. It advised that the resident’s remaining windows had been inspected and confirmed as not requiring replacement, but that it would address any issues that arose with them as routine repairs.
Assessment and findings
- Clear record keeping is a core function of repair, and wider landlord services. It allows evidence to be provided to the Ombudsman when requested. More importantly, clear record keeping is essential to enable landlords to monitor outstanding works, contractor performance, and provide effective services to its residents. A landlord should have systems in place to maintain accurate records including, but not restricted to, resident repair reports, attendances, findings and actions.
- This Service asked the landlord to provide inspection, repair and other records, relevant to the resident’s complaint. The landlord initially provided the email records described above, along with current explanations and narrative. However, it provided almost no other relevant contemporaneous records. During the course of this investigation, the landlord was again asked to provide the relevant records, and reminded of the need for these to be contemporaneous.
- Following the further information request by this Service, the landlord provided a screenshot of a repairs log, and two further screenshots of corresponding works orders, that were undated. The resident made her complaint to the landlord on 16 February 2021. The earliest entry on the repairs log screenshot was the job raised on 6 July 2022 for the resident’s NSH upgrade. The only other two relevant repairs entries on the screenshot were the window jobs raised in April and May 2023, referred to above.
- However, as is covered in the assessments below, the landlord or its contractor made several relevant visits to the resident’s property from when she first raised her issues in early 2021. It is of concern to the Ombudsman that the landlord has been either unwilling or unable to provide contemporaneous records relating to these visits and time period.
- This failing is of particular significance as the resident expressed her frustration on several occasions, beginning from 18 March 2021, that the version of the heater inspection findings advised to her by the landlord contradicted with what she said that the contractor itself had told her at its visit.
- The resident’s original complaint also concerned the condition of her property and garden at sign up. Whilst matters related to the garden do not form part of this assessment, it does further link to the landlord’s record keeping. The landlord’s final complaint response referred to its manager’s upcoming visit to view the resident’s garden on 16 April 2021. This Service has seen no record of the outcome of this visit, but the landlord did provide two undated photographs that it said depicted the reasonable condition of the resident’s garden at sign up.
- The landlord’s internal email on 11 June 2021 appeared to express frustration that it would be undertaking the extensive and costly clearance works of the resident’s garden, despite knowing that it was not responsible for it. It may have been the case that the landlord would have agreed to do this work regardless of not being responsible for it. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to conclude that had the landlord been able to evidence a contemporaneous void condition report that included photographs, it would, as with the findings of its heater inspections, been better placed to respond definitively to the resident’s concerns.
- All of the above could have been improved or avoided by maintaining contemporaneous records of the resident’s reports, along with records of its attendances, findings and actions. Aside from providing the landlord with a ready means to evidence events to the resident and this Service, it is also reasonable to conclude that its poor record keeping contributed to the service failings detailed below. The Ombudsman has therefore found maladministration with the landlord’s record keeping, and has made an order in this regard.
- If the resident’s heaters were inspected by a suitably qualified person and assessed to be old but functional, it would be reasonable for the landlord to rely on this assessment and act accordingly. Whilst this is the scenario that the landlord has stated at various points to both the resident and this Service, the record keeping failings detailed above have meant that the Ombudsman has seen no evidence that would support it.
- The lack of contemporaneous records has also meant that the landlord appears to have not effectively communicated with the resident, nor monitored its contractor, and failed to follow its own policy in terms of the resident’s reported heating repairs. The Ombudsman has therefore found maladministration with the landlord’s handling of the resident’s reports of heating issues.
- The resident’s original complaint made to the landlord on 16 February 2021 raised her concerns with the running cost and effectiveness of her heating. The landlord’s stage one complaint response sent to the resident on 15 March 2021, referred to the outcome of an inspection that it said was undertaken on 17 February 2021. In her reply to the landlord on 18 March 2021, the resident expressed her surprise that the inspection findings reported back to the landlord by its contractor did not correspond with what she said that the contractor had told her in person.
- As such, it is not disputed that the landlord’s contractor visited the resident with regards to her heating on 17 February 2021. It is however unreasonable that the landlord has not provided any record of neither the visit, nor crucially the contractor’s disputed findings and outcome. In this instance, it may also have been to the detriment of the landlord, as a simple contemporaneous record of its contractor’s findings may again have allowed it to provide a more definitive response to the resident’s concerns.
- The resident concluded the landlord’s complaint process on 12 April 2021, but continued to complain about the cost and effectiveness of her heating, and to dispute what the landlord had described as its contractor’s findings. Following the resident’s reference to this in her call with the landlord’s rent officer on 4 June 2021, it was appropriate for the landlord to state that it was arranging for the NSH manufacturer to visit the resident and provide support with their usage.
- Once again, it is not disputed that the NSH manufacturer attended the resident’s property at some point between June and December 2021. However, the landlord has again provided no record of the visit, nor the manufacturer’s findings. The landlord has also provided no record of any resultant communication with the resident prior to her email to it on 12 December 2021 (which was also not provided to this Service). As such, it is reasonable to conclude that the resident had to expend an undue level of time, effort and trouble in pursuing progress. The landlord’s actions were therefore unreasonable.
- The landlord replied to the resident on 22 December 2021. It advised that the NSH manufacturer had confirmed that all of the resident’s heaters were working as they should be. Again, the resident stated that the landlord’s advice contradicted what she was told by the manufacturer at its visit, and again it is unreasonable that the Ombudsman has seen no evidence that could corroborate this either way.
- The resident’s same email also raised specific issues with what she said were broken thermostats or dials on three of her NSH, as well as pungent smells from her panel heaters. The landlord’s internal email the following day reiterated the findings it said were made by the manufacturer, and advised that any specific issues with the NSH should be reported as regular repairs. The landlord’s limited records meant that it was unclear how, or even if, it conveyed this advice to the resident, as the next evidence of contact with her seen by the Ombudsman was over a month later.
- Regardless, the landlord’s policy stated that it would respond to repairs reported by email to any member of staff. The Ombudsman has seen no evidence that the resident’s reports of NSH and panel heater faults were either logged as repairs or responded to. As such, the landlord failed to comply with its own policy. Particularly during the coldest months, this would have left the resident frustrated and feeling that the landlord was not taking her concerns seriously. The landlord’s actions were therefore again unreasonable.
- It is of further concern to the Ombudsman that it appeared that the landlord took no further action until it became aware of the involvement of this Service in late January 2022. This Service was referred to in the landlord’s internal emails on 26 January 2022, which acknowledged that the resident’s NSH had issues that left them stuck on specific settings, and reluctantly concluded that it would seek a quotation for the heaters to be renewed.
- It was appropriate for the landlord’s contractor to visit the resident the following month to assess the potential works ahead of providing a quotation. The Ombudsman acknowledges that there were significant nationwide supply chain issues at that time. As such, the delays in the landlord receiving the quotation from its contractor were likely unavoidable.
- Nevertheless, given the delays, it would be reasonable to expect the landlord to attempt to address the resident’s responsive repair heater issues that she had raised in December 2021. It is therefore not reasonable that the Ombudsman has seen no evidence of any further relevant contact, works orders, or visits to the resident, until the heaters were renewed on 17 August 2022.
- The resident’s original complaint made on 16 February 2021 reported that her windows had gaps around them, and that the resultant draughts exacerbated her other heating issues. The landlord’s response on 15 March 2021 advised that it had raised a window inspection, and that its contractor would contact the resident directly. The resident replied three days later, and stated that the contractor had completed a window inspection a few weeks earlier, and determined that either the seals or the windows themselves were in need of replacement. She stated that she had heard nothing since.
- As with the heating assessment above, the landlord has provided minimal information on its initial actions regarding the resident’s windows, and no contemporaneous records before 3 April 2023. It is of concern that the landlord’s response to the resident on 15 March 2021 suggested that it was itself unaware of its contractor’s prior window inspection, or the outcome that the contractor had advised to the resident. It is reasonable to conclude that this was further indicative of the landlord’s poor record keeping that would have hampered its ability to performance manage its contractor and address the resident’s reported issues.
- The landlord’s final complaint response was sent to the resident on 12 April 2021, and advised that its contractor was experiencing high workloads but would contact her regarding the windows as soon as it was able to. The next relevant information provided to this Service by the landlord was its rent officer’s internal email on 4 June 2021. The rent officer’s email stated that in a call with the resident, she had said that the contractor had attended her property three times regarding her windows, but that the works remained outstanding. It is again unreasonable that the Ombudsman has seen no evidence of these visits, nor of their outcomes. The contractor’s repeated visits with no progress made would have caused further frustration to the resident.
- The Ombudsman has also seen no evidence that the landlord kept the resident informed of any progress or delays, or that it was even aware of what its contractor was doing. With the exception of the resident’s email to this Service on 25 January 2022, which complained about the ongoing issues with her windows (and heating), no further information about the landlord’s handling of the resident’s windows was seen until its contractor provided it an update on 6 July 2022. Even then, the contractor’s update was only prompted by the landlord being required to provide information to this Service. The landlord’s actions were therefore unreasonable.
- The contractor’s emailed update to the landlord informed it that it had checked the resident’s window seals following the original complaint in February 2021, and had completed some works the following month. It stated that it had received a recall on 1 June 2021, and had noted that significant repairs were needed to all of the resident’s windows. It stated that it was over 19 weeks before it then received an order from the landlord for the window repairs, and that this lengthy delay was then further compounded by severe supply chain issues. It explained that over a year after the resident had first reported the window issues, it had been due to undertake works, but that the works had been cancelled due to operative ill health. It recommended that the extent of the window works needed at the resident’s property was such that the best option would be a full window replacement.
- Several aspects of the contractor’s update to the landlord are of serious concern, and the Ombudsman’s ability to assess it has again been severely hampered by the landlord’s poor record keeping. Were the landlord able to provide contemporaneous records of its own, and its contractor’s activities, it may have been possible to understand why such limited window works were identified at the February 2021 inspection, and yet such extensive works were noted at its June 2021 recall. Relevant records may also have explained why the landlord then took four and a half months to raise the necessary works. In the absence of any relevant evidence or information, it can only be concluded that the landlord’s actions and delays were wholly unreasonable.
- In accordance with paragraph 52 of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, there was maladministration in respect of the landlord’s:
- record keeping;
- handling of the resident’s reports of heating issues;
- handling of the resident’s reports of window issues.
- Clear record keeping and information management is a core function of a repairs service. This is not only so that evidence can be provided to the Ombudsman when requested, but because it allows a landlord to better understand the condition of a property and manage and monitor works more effectively.
- The landlord’s apparent absence of sound record keeping processes appeared to leave its contractor unmonitored, and the landlord at times seemingly oblivious to what its contractor had done. The lack of contemporaneous records also left the landlord unable to respond conclusively to the resident when she challenged its inspection findings. More importantly, it is reasonable to conclude that the landlord’s poor record keeping was at the very least a contributory factor in its service failings.
- The landlord’s original position with regard to the resident’s heaters could potentially have been reasonable. However, the lack of contemporaneous records or evidence to support it, meant that it was unable to demonstrate this either way. The landlord also failed to evidence that it had effectively communicated with the resident, or kept her appropriately informed throughout the significant delays. The landlord also failed to handle the resident’s reports of heating repairs in line with its own policy.
- This is also similarly applicable to the landlord’s handling of the resident’s window repairs or renewals. Again, the lack of records have hampered the Ombudsman’s ability to assess many of the related issues. This includes why, following the modest amount of work done in a relatively timely manner in March 2021, a recall was needed that then identified such substantial further window works. Whilst the supply chain delays were somewhat understandable, the significant delays in the landlord raising works were not. As with the heating, the landlord has also failed to evidence that it listened to the resident’s issues, and tried to put them right, in line with its repairs policy.
- With both the heating and windows, the resident has had to go to significant time, trouble and effort, over a prolonged period, to progress matters with the landlord. Both issues would have affected the thermal comfort of the resident’s property. The significant impact that this would have had on her ability to enjoy her home would have caused distress. The Ombudsman has made a compensation order accordingly.
- The Ombudsman orders that:
- A senior manager writes to the resident to apologise for the identified failings in this report.
- The landlord pays the resident £900 compensation, made up of:
- £450 for the time, trouble and distress caused by the failures identified in its record keeping and handling of the resident’s reports of heating issues;
- £450 for the time, trouble and distress caused by the failures identified in its record keeping and handling of the resident’s reports of window issues.
- It is the Ombudsman’s position that compensation awarded by this Service should be treated separately from any existing financial arrangements between the landlord and resident and should not be offset against arrears where they exist.
- The landlord should evidence compliance with these orders to this Service within four weeks of the date of this report.
- The Ombudsman further orders that within six weeks of the date of this report, the landlord reviews its repairs and maintenance record keeping processes against the Ombudsman’s Spotlight on Knowledge and Information Management (KIM) report, and provides this Service with a copy of its findings.