Freebridge Community Housing Limited
4 July 2022
What we can and cannot consider is called the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and is governed by the Housing Ombudsman Scheme. The Ombudsman must determine whether a complaint comes within their jurisdiction. The Ombudsman seeks to resolve disputes wherever possible but cannot investigate complaints that fall outside of this.
In deciding whether a complaint falls within their jurisdiction, the Ombudsman will carefully consider all the evidence provided by the parties and the circumstances of the case.
- The complaint is about the landlord’s response to the resident’s request to view its shareholder register and its response to their subsequent request for a copy of the shareholder register.
Determination (jurisdictional decision)
- When a complaint is brought to the Ombudsman, we must consider all the circumstances of the case as there are sometimes reasons why a complaint will not be investigated.
- After carefully considering all the evidence, I have determined that the complaint, as set out above, is not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
Summary of events
- The landlord is a co-operative and community benefit society required under 30(1) of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 to maintain a register of its members and officers, (“the register”) at its registered office, including information in relation to each member, such as their names and addresses and the number of shares held by each member. Section 2 of the Act indicates that the registering authority is the FCA.
- In December 2021, the resident informed the landlord that they would like to inspect the register and the on 19 January 2022, the landlord wrote to the resident advising that shareholders do not have a right to receive a copy of the register and invited the resident to visit its office to inspect this.
- On 18 February 2022, the landlord in response to the resident’s escalation request, issued its stage 2 review response to their complaint. The landlord stated that it had been unable to agree to the resident’s initial request to view the shareholder register because of covid pandemic restrictions in place at the time and that this decision was appropriate given the circumstances. The landlord further stated that it had acted appropriately in advising the resident that it was not obliged to send them an electronic copy of the register given their obligation to safeguard their wider stakeholder data and to consider requesting shareholder permission.
- The complaint was not upheld, and the landlord restated its offer that the resident could attend its office to view the register. The landlord advised that the resident had exhausted its complaints procedure and referred them to the Housing Ombudsman should they remain dissatisfied.
- Paragraph 36 of the Scheme states that the person complaining, or on whose behalf a complaint is made must have been, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, adversely affected by those actions or omissions in respect of their application for, or occupation of, property.
- The complaint concerns the resident’s request to view the landlord’s shareholder register and its response to their subsequent request for a copy of the shareholder register.
- The landlord is required under law to maintain a shareholder register, this is a list of members of the landlord. Maintaining this register is not a housing function, insofar as it does not relate to the provision of housing services to residents – it is done in order to comply with legislation and membership requirements relating to the type of company it is.
- The resident’s request concerns an issue which is not related to their occupation or the management of their home.
- For the reasons stated above, the complaint is not one that can be considered by the Ombudsman.
- We recommend that the resident can seek legal advice about the landlord’s decision or contact advice agencies, such as Citizens Advice.