One Manchester Limited (201913776)

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COMPLAINT 201913776

One Manchester Limited

28 September 2021

Our approach

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

  1. The complaint is about the landlord’s response to the resident’s reports of repair issues at his property including a leak, mould, and issues with the ventilation system.

Background and summary of events


  1. The resident has been an assured tenant at the property of the landlord since 29 December 2014. The landlord is a registered provider of social housing.
  2. The landlord operates a two stage complaints procedure. Stage two of the procedure involves a review of the complaint by a ‘review panel’.
  3. The landlord operates a compensation policy. The policy notes the landlord may offer discretionary compensation of up to £250.
  4. The landlord operates a repairs policy. The policy notes that the landlord is responsible for leaks, ceilings and plaster works, and water/gas pipework. The policy notes the landlord will respond to emergency repairs within 24 hours and will aim to undertake a full repair when possible. It will respond to ‘appointable repairs’ (i.e. repairs which do not cause immediate danger) within 20 working days, and it will advise a timeframe for any works that will exceed this target. The policy also notes that during the period of 23 March 2020 to 1 June 2020, it would only carry out emergency repairs due to COVID-19 restrictions but would recommence routine repairs from 20 July 2020. From this date until 30 September 2020, appointable repairs would now be completed within 45 working days.

Summary of events

  1. The resident has advised this service that he first reported water leaking from the ceiling causing mould in or around August 2019. The landlord has noted in its complaint responses and in its repair logs as provided to this service that it initially received reports of a leak on 19 October 2019. The repair logs further note that the resident reported that his extractor fans were not working on 11 November 2019, and that he had observed that that his roof ventilation pipe was disconnected on 19 November 2019.
  2. The landlord’s repair logs note that it initially attended the property on 27 November 2019 and assessed that there was “damp in the bathroom going through to the kitchen,” that there were “pipes not connected,” and that there were “broken vents.” In its formal response, the landlord noted that it carried out a further investigation of the roof leak on 2 December 2019, and that it carried out a repair on 17 December 2019. It additionally noted it carried out a ‘ventilation survey’ on 12 December 2019. These dates conflict with the landlord’s repair logs which note that on 9 December 2019 the landlord determined that the ventilation system in the bathroom needed to be overhauled and that fungicidal mould treatment was required.
  3. On 29 January 2020, the resident reported to this service that the issue was still ongoing and that despite multiple attendances from the landlord, the issue was not fixed. He additionally reported the issue to his local MP and noted the landlord’s surveyor advised him that the repair “has to be done from scratch,” and that no reason was given for why the works had not been done.
  4. The landlord has provided this service with its internal communications from the same date. Having been alerted that the issue was ongoing, the landlord ordered the necessary materials to complete the works. It is not evident that any timeframe was advised to the resident about when the works would be completed.
  5. The resident raised a formal complaint on or around 11 February 2020 and the landlord provided its stage one response on 25 February 2020. It confirmed the repair steps taken as noted above and that the ‘ventilation survey’ had resulted in a report dated 20 December 2019 recommending a new part to be installed. The landlord advised that these materials had not been ordered until 29 January 2020 and that works were now arranged for 27 February 2020, with mould treatment to follow on 5 March 2020. It apologised for the delay in ordering the materials and offered £30 in compensation.
  6. The landlord’s complaint panel notes suggest that on 27 February 2020, the wrong ventilation unit was supplied, however the landlord’s repair logs do not note this, nor it is evident if or when the resident was informed of this. On 25 June 2020, the resident reported that a new leak had occurred and noted that following his earlier reports, “no measures have been taken to repair it.” The resident also passed on his reports to his MP, who in turn reported them to the landlord on 29 June 2020. The landlord replied directly to the MP on 10 July 2020. It noted it had carried out an emergency repair on the new leak on the same date as it was reported. A follow up repair was delayed until 7 July 2020 due to the landlord only carrying out emergency works during the period of COVID-19 restrictions. It also noted there were outstanding repairs to the ventilation system and that while it had attempted to complete these prior to the COVID-19 restrictions, the incorrect parts had been supplied. It offered its apology for the delay and advised that its contractor had also ceased trading during the lockdown period, but that it anticipated it would return to normal services shortly and that it would advise a new date for works once known.
  7. On 29 July 2020, the resident escalated his complaint to stage two of the landlord’s complaints procedure and, on 12 August 2020, the landlord’s complaints panel considered the complaint. It determined that despite the period of COVID-19 restrictions which prevented it from carrying out the repairs, the repairs had been unreasonably delayed and that the compensation originally offered was not sufficient. It noted that the areas in which the leaks occurred had remained useable and so recommended £100 compensation in the circumstances. The landlord provided its stage two response on 14 August 2020, in which it noted the above findings and offered the recommended compensation. It also noted the resident’s request that it carry out redecorations and advised it would provide him with dates for this shortly.
  8. Following the stage two response, the landlord carried out some redecoration works to the resident’s property and on 15 September 2020, the landlord’s internal communications noted that the resident had indicated he was satisfied with these works. It is not evident, however, that the works to the ventilation system were carried out and in October 2020, the landlord’s repair notes state that the resident reported further leaks. On 22 January 2021, the resident reported to his MP that the issues with the ventilation system were ongoing and that the landlord had failed to attend appointments in October and November 2020 to address the issue. This was also reported to the landlord on 12 March 2021. The landlord has provided this service with a timeline of events, which note that an appointment in November 2020 was rearranged, however, this service has not been provided with any evidence to indicate the resident was informed of this. The notes do however note that the resident was informed of a rearranged appointment in December 2020.
  9. On 15 March 2021, the landlord acknowledged the resident’s concerns. The resident advised that the landlord had attended and told him the leak was fixed, however, he provided video evidence which depicted that the leak was ongoing. The landlord’s repair logs note it attended the property on this date and carried out a further inspection. The landlord’s timeline noted that a further repair job was booked in on 22 March 2021 and that since that date, no further issues have been raised.

Assessment and findings

  1. Keeping an accurate audit trail is an important part of a landlord’s service delivery. The landlord should have systems in place to maintain accurate records of any repair works and telephone notes so that it can satisfy itself and the resident (and ultimately the Ombudsman if necessary) that it took all reasonable steps when investigating a complaint. While the landlord provided this service with its repair history logs, there were discrepancies between the dates of some of the works noted on the logs and those referred to in its formal responses. Additionally, some of the events referred to in the timeline provided to this service by the landlord do not appear on its repair logs. The Ombudsman notes, however, that these discrepancies ultimately did not have a bearing on the landlord’s investigation and the outcome it reached in its formal responses, and so have not had a detrimental effect on the resident. Had they done so, the Ombudsman would have made an additional finding of service failure in relation to the landlord’s record keeping. In this case, a recommendation to implement improvements has been made below.
  2. The landlord’s repairs policy notes it will attend to an appointable repair within 20 working days. While the issues experienced by the resident would have caused him considerable distress and inconvenience, it is not evident that the issues were life threatening and so it was reasonable that the landlord did not treat this as an emergency repair. The resident has advised he initially made his report in August 2019, however, the landlord has stated the initial report of a leak was made on 19 October 2019. The landlord did not, however, attend the property to assess the reports until 27 November 2019. This was beyond its target service time, even if the later initial date is used, and this service has not been provided with any evidence to suggest the landlord communicated to the resident that it would be delayed. This would have left the resident distressed as he would not have known whether his issue would be resolved.
  3. Given that there was a number of interconnected issues reported by the resident, it was appropriate that the landlord carried out a number of investigations throughout December 2019 to fully determine the cause and remedy for the issue. Having determined that, among other repair works, a new ventilation system was required, the landlord subsequently delayed in ordering the parts until 29 January 2020 and only after the resident had made further enquiries. This was an unreasonable delay to the repair works, far beyond its targeted timeframes in its repairs policy. Following the resident’s formal complaint, the landlord appropriately acknowledged this service failure and gave a reasonable timeframe for the works to be completed. It also appropriately offered an amount of compensation but, as identified by the landlord’s complaints panel in its later review, the Ombudsman considers this amount to have been insufficient to provide reasonable redress for its service failure.
  4. There is no evidence to suggest that the landlord intentionally ordered the incorrect ventilation system, preventing the works from being completed, however, that having been the case, this service has not been provided with evidence that shows it provided this update to the resident, nor that it provided him with an updated timeframe to complete the repairs. This would have left the resident again unsure of how this issue would be resolved and inconvenienced him in having to chase an update.
  5. The landlord’s repair policy notes that it was unable to carry out appointable repairs during the period of COVID-19 restrictions. It was reasonable therefore that, following the resident’s further reports of a leak in June 2020, it initially carried out an emergency response to assess the issue, and then carried out a further repair following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. It also appropriately advised that its contractor was not yet active to fit the ventilation system and that it would keep the resident updated.
  6. The landlord’s stage two investigation appropriately acknowledged that there had been significant delays to the repair works, despite the period of COVID-19 restrictions, and an increased amount of compensation was offered in its stage two response. While it was appropriate to increase the amount of compensation for the delays, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, this amount does not fully reflect the significance of the ongoing delays, nor the resident’s inconvenience caused by having to chase updates due to the landlord’s poor communication, which would have left him unsure of how the complaint was being resolved
  7. Additionally, while the landlord subsequently carried out redecoration works, it still did not carry out repairs to the ventilation system, which the resident was still chasing up in March 2021. Furthermore, while the landlord appropriately kept the resident informed of a rearranged repair work to a further leak in December 2020, it is not evident that it communicated to him that a repair appointment in 2020 had been rescheduled. This would have caused yet further distress to the resident.
  8. Given the ongoing issues with communication, the continued delay to the repairs initially identified in November 2019, and the failure to keep the resident updated with timeframes for the works, there was service failure by the landlord, and it is appropriate that additional compensation be offered. The landlord’s compensation policy does not give specific guidance on the amount for delays to works such as this, however, in the circumstances, the Ombudsman considers an amount of £350 to be appropriate, being £250 for the unreasonable delays to the works, and £100 for its continued poor communication with the resident.
  9. The landlord has advised this service that it considers the works to have been completed given that there were no further issues raised by the resident noted in its repair logs. Given the delays and communication issues experienced during this case, the Ombudsman would consider it best practice to gain positive confirmation from the resident that the issue has been resolved.

Determination (decision)

  1. In accordance with paragraph 54 of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme there was service failure by the landlord in respect of its response to the resident’s reports concerning repair issues at his property including a leak, mould, and issues with the ventilation system.


  1. Having initially identified the works required to rectify the issue reported by the resident following a delay to its investigation, the landlord further unreasonably delayed in ordering the necessary parts. Having identified that the wrong parts were ordered, the landlord failed to communicate to the resident an updated timeframe for its works. Similarly, following the period of COVID-19 restrictions, the landlord failed to carry out the works relating to the ventilation system within a reasonable timeframe, or communicate sufficiently with the resident. While it appropriately apologised in its formal responses and made an offer of compensation, the offer was, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, not sufficient given the level of service failure.

Orders and recommendations


  1. The Ombudsman orders the landlord to pay compensation of £350, comprising:
    1. £250 for any distress and inconvenience caused to the resident by its delays in completing the repair works;
    2. £100 for its failure to keep the resident updated.
  2. This replaces the landlord’s previous offer of £100. This amount (less any amount already paid by the landlord) must be paid within four weeks of the date of this determination.
  3. The landlord to contact the resident within four weeks of the date of this determination and enquire as to whether there are any ongoing issues with the ventilation system.




  1. The landlord to take steps to ensure its repair records are accurate and contain sufficient detail about the works carried out.