The Guinness Partnership Limited (202216536)

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COMPLAINT 202216536

The Guinness Partnership Limited

17 October 2023


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:
    1. Handling of, and communication about, the repairs at the property.
    2. Response to the resident’s request of a goodwill payment.
  2. This Service has also considered the landlord’s:
    1. Complaint handling
    2. Record keeping.


  1. During a telephone conversation with the landlord on 30 August 2022, the resident raised a concern regarding heating and hot water issues she had in 2019. At that time, she confirmed that the landlord had offered £100 as a gesture of goodwill, but she had never received it.
  2. In its stage one response, the landlord confirmed that in line with its complaints policy, it was only able to investigate events that occurred within six months of a complaint being logged and that the resident did not bring the matter to the attention of the landlord as a formal complaint within the timescale set out.
  3. Under paragraph 42(c) of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, the Ombudsman may not consider complaints which, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, were not brought to the attention of the member as a formal complaint within a reasonable period, which would normally be within six months of the matters arising.
  4. This Service appreciates that this decision is likely to be disappointing for the resident. However, given the time that had passed between the complaint in 2019 and the resident raising the issue in 2022, the landlord acted in accordance with its complaints policy. The resident has not provided the landlord with any mitigating factors which may have prevented her raising the matter within a reasonable timescale. Therefore, complaint 1(b) is ruled outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to investigate.


  1. The resident is an assured tenant of the landlord, a housing association. She lives in a two-bedroom house with her two young children.

Summary of events

  1. On 17 August 2022, the resident reported repairs to her landlord. She said:
    1. The front and back doors were difficult to open, close, and lock.
    2. The windows and doors were difficult to open and close.
    3. The bathroom extractor fan and shower were working intermittently.
    4. The sink was cracked, and the taps were rusty.
    5. The bath was dipping, and the flooring was lifting.
  2. The landlord’s contractor inspected the repairs on 30 August 2022. The contractor emailed the landlord following the visit and said, “where to start with this one.” The contractor confirmed that:

Windows and external doors

  1. All the windows could do with replacing. Or all new hinges for every window as they were all rusty or bent.
  2. All the window handles were loose and at the visit the contractor only managed to tighten two of them.
  3. The windows needed to be siliconed externally.
  4. Three windowpanes had blown and needed replacing.
  5. The front and rear doors were poorly fitted with no “packers” and wrong screws on the top and bottom of the doors.
  6. A carpenter was required to repair the doors.


  1. The fan was faulty, but the contractor was unable to replace.
  1. A new shower was required.
  2. The bath was broken and leaking on the sides.
  3. The tiles had sharp edges.
  4. The radiator was rusty.
  5. Spotlights were missing in the ceiling allowing dust and fibreglass particles into the air.
  6. It was the operative’s opinion that a full bathroom refurb was required.
  7. As he was not a plumber, he could not repair the leak and only carried basic tools for emergency repairs.
  8. He had attempted to stick the flooring down but noted it was damp, and sat on a wet, wooden subbase. He confirmed it would need a joist survey to ensure the floor had enough support, as he suspected the joists were rotten.
  1. The same day, the resident contacted the landlord to complain, stating that she was “fed up” with the excuses she had been given. She confirmed she had no use of a bath for her children and had not received contact from the landlord. Despite a further call back request, the landlord’s records confirm that her call was not returned.
  2. The landlord raised work orders on 31 August 2022. It noted that work orders had been raised following the resident’s telephone call on the 17 August and were showing as “completed” on one system, and “op reviewed” with “very little done or fed back” on another of its systems.
  3. The landlord called the resident on 1 September 2022 to acknowledge her complaint. During the conversation, the resident expressed her concerns and said:
    1. She had previously had her bathroom floor repaired and stated it was a “very poor job.” The operative that attended on the 30 August 2022 only looked at the floor and has not heard anything since.
    2. She had previously requested that all repairs were booked on the same day, as she struggled to get time off work. The operative did not arrive on 30 August until 12:30 and was unable to complete repairs.
    3. When the operative arrived, he advised he was there to look at the doors, windows, and some of the bathroom repairs. The landlord had not issued an electrical certificate and therefore he could not repair the spotlights. A second operative arrived to look at the fan and shower and confirmed he was unable to replace the fan as it was too close to the shower, and the shower needed replacing.
    4. The communication had been poor, and she had been given conflicting information as to whether the contractors were attending to assess the repairs or complete the works.
  4. On 2 September 2022, the landlord requested that its contractor arranged an assessment of the bathroom.
  5. On 7 September 2022, the resident reported that her shower was not working, and she had issues with the bath and asked the landlord how she was supposed to wash her children. She was upset that she had not heard from the landlord, despite expecting a call the previous day.
  6. In response, the landlord left a voicemail for the resident, confirming that a supervisor would visit to compile a “definitive” list of her repairs and it would try to complete the repairs in one day, but did confirm that it may not be possible.
  7. A stage one complaint response was issued on 13 September 2022. The landlord stated:
    1. The visit on 30 August 2022 was to identify requirements of the repairs. Repairs would be completed on a second visit. On occasions when a repair was minor and did not require materials, it was possible for repairs to be completed in one visit. However, it had followed its process and attended within its 28-day timeframe.
    2. It had not promised that repairs would be completed in one visit, but its communication regarding the process could have been better.
    3. Calls to the resident had not been returned on the 17 and 30 August 2022.
    4. It was not able to investigate the £100 gesture of goodwill that the resident said she did not receive, due to the time that had passed since her complaint in 2019. It confirmed this was in line with its complaints policy.
    5. It offered £50 as an apology for its poor communication and had provided feedback to its repairs team and the customer liaison team regarding the complaint, to improve the level of service it provided.
    6. A supervisor would visit the resident on 13 September to assess the repairs and would contact the resident on 16 September with an update, and follow-on repairs would be completed within its 28-day repair timeframe.
  8. Following the supervisor’s inspection on 13 September 2022, an internal email confirmed that:
    1. The vinyl in the bathroom was ripped, unplugged, and needed replacing.
    2. The wash hand basin was cracked, and the taps were “loose and rusty.” The basin needed replacing.
    3. The bath panel needed replacing.
    4. The sustaining middle leg of the bath was a bit loose, but it did not identify any other problems.
    5. The fan was not working and needed replacing.
    6. The spotlights needed removing, but an asbestos survey was needed before they could be removed.
    7. The windows needed to be checked and the hinges needed replacing. All the bedroom windows needed overhauling and child restrictors were required.
  9. On 15 September 2022, the landlord emailed the resident to confirm that:
    1. It was raising an order for a full bathroom replacement that week.
    2. An asbestos survey of the bathroom ceiling was required, before works could start. It was aware that the asbestos company would not have availability until later that month.
    3. While it was unfortunate, it would give its contractor enough time to “mobilise for works.”
    4. The bath had been deemed as safe to use, and as it was acrylic, it was always going to have some “flex” in it. If care were taken there was no reason it could not be used.
    5. It would not be able to complete the above works, and other repairs (such as windows) in the same day but hoped that the resident would have enough time to plan for access.
  10. On 16 September, the resident called “very upset” that the asbestos survey would not been conducted until 27 September which she felt was “unacceptable.” She requested a call back. A further “urgent” call back request was made on 28 September 2022.
  11. The landlord returned the resident’s call on 29 September 2022. The resident advised that she had stepped into her bath, and it had cracked, which meant she was unable to use it. She had not received appointments for the windows or doors and her asbestos survey had been postponed at short notice. She requested a schedule of dates for all the repairs. The landlord confirmed it would investigate why the asbestos survey was cancelled, and that dates for the repairs would follow.
  12. The resident contacted this Service on 28 October 2022, unhappy with the landlord’s progress in completing her repairs. This Service asked the landlord to provide the resident with a complaint response. The landlord re-issued its stage one response and confirmed that if any of the issues reported remained outstanding, the resident should contact it.
  13. The resident escalated her complaint on 4 November 2022 and confirmed that she would like to have a working bathroom; she would like to have windows that opened and closed as her house was “freezing”; and she would like to have front and back doors that open and closed properly which was “a huge safeguarding concern” for her. She had been caused significant stress by the whole situation.
  14. On 7 November 2022, the landlord emailed its contractors to confirm the progress of the repairs. The contractor confirmed that the repairs would “probably be finished by the end of the week.”
  15. The landlord’s repair records confirmed that its contractor attended the resident’s property on 1 December 2022 to measure the windows. The resident reported that this had already been done.
  16. On 12 December 2022, the resident confirmed to this Service that her property was “so incredibly cold.” She had no choice but to put the heating on, which was all “going out the windows” and costing her an “absolute fortune.” This Service wrote to the landlord and requested that a stage two response was provided to the resident, by 19 December 2022.
  17. On 13 December 2022, the landlord’s internal emails confirmed that due to an “error” it had delayed escalating the resident’s complaint and it only had five working days to provide a response. It requested updates on the following:
    1. Its contractors had not sent a plumber, despite the repairs being a crack in the sink and rusty taps. One system showed the works as cancelled. It could see a full bathroom replacement had been raised and asked if this was correct.
    2. The repairs to the bathroom flooring and fan.
    3. An order for new doors was raised but “not pulling through” on its system and asked what was happening with the repair.
    4. Its contractor attended to measure the windows on 20 October 2022, despite the resident advising that her windows had already been looked at. It could not see any follow-on works had been raised.
  18. On 15 December 2022, the landlord emailed its contractor as it could see “a large number of orders cancelled” but it had “no information as to what exactly was carried out.” In a response, its contractor confirmed it was a “difficult experience in restricted access” and had completed a “best repair” on the doors.
  19. The landlord issued a stage two response on 16 December 2022 which said:
    1. It was sorry for its poor communication and reiterated the points made in its stage one response.
    2. It reiterated that it had attended the repairs within its 28-calendar day timeframe.
    3. A full bathroom replacement was delayed due to an asbestos survey, but works were completed in November 2022. It apologised for the delay, which it also attributed to access restrictions and resource issues.
    4. A full assessment of the windows was completed on 30 August 2022 and repairs completed between 14 October and 2 December 2022. It apologised for the inconvenience caused because of the delays, during a time when accessing the property was restricted.
    5. It had completed repairs to the front and back door on 30 August 2022.
    6. It apologised for the delay in escalating the complaint.
    7. It was sincerely sorry for the experience received, and distress this had caused. It offered £250 for the failures identified made up of:
      1. £75 for delays in completing repairs.
      2. £50 to apologise for its poor communication.
      3. £75 for the stress and inconvenience caused.
      4. £50 for the time and trouble pursuing the complaint, and the delay in escalating it.
  20. The resident responded the same day, “disgusted” at the response, which she stated was incorrect, as:
    1. The bathroom work was not completed as she was missing tiles, and the taps were “wobbling.” Despite assurances of a full bathroom re-fit, only the components had been replaced.
    2. The windows “had not been touched” making her house “freezing” and she was torn between allowing her children to be in a cold environment or putting the heating on which was “going out the broken windows.”
    3. Nothing had been done to the front and back door.
    4. She said the landlord was “making my house an unsafe, cold and miserable place to be.”
    5. She requested that the repairs were sorted.
  21. The landlord replied to the resident, confirming that it had been provided the information from its contractor. It had asked one of the contractor managers to visit and complete an inspection.
  22. The resident contacted this Service on 21 December 2022, and advised that the situation was “massively negatively” impacting her mental health.

Events after the completion of the internal complaints process

  1. The landlord confirmed that it ceased its third-party contractual relationship in January 2023, and repairs were brought in-house, to improve its service.
  2. Sometime later, on 15 May 2023, the Property Services Manager conducted an inspection which confirmed that:
    1. No adjustments had been made to the windows, and “every window had issues where the hinges had failed and seized.” Some of the windows did not open at all and several were seized in the open position making it constantly cold in the property.
    2. Most of the window handles were worn and needed replacing, as well as three double glazed units that had blown.
    3. The upstairs windows had no restrictors which was a health and safety issue.
    4. No adjustments had been made to the doors which required lifting on the hinges, further frame fixings and foaming in the gaps.
    5. The resident advised several times that doors and windows were being replaced which had been confirmed by a manager, but no job was visible.
    6. The resident provided an email from the landlord to confirm a full bathroom replacement, which had not been done.
  3. The resident confirmed to this Service that a further inspection was carried out on 24 July 2023, and that she had received a text message on 27 September 2023 which confirmed that repairs had been booked in. She called the landlord and requested a schedule of works, with dates and times.
  4. The landlord confirmed in an email dated 10 October 2023 that it had put together a scope of works, which was passed to the resident that day. This Service understands that the landlord has agreed with the resident for the works to be completed in December 2023.

Assessment and findings

Responsive repairs policy

  1. The landlord’s responsive repairs policy states that it will “deliver an effective repairs service which responds to the needs of, and offers choices to, its customers, which has the objective of completing repairs right first time.”
  2. It confirms that it will arrange a date and time to make a repair the first time the customer reports a repair, or as soon as practicable thereafter, to minimise disruption. It aims to complete repairs at the first visit. Where that is not possible (for example, where further investigation is needed, where the fix does not work, or where parts need to be ordered) the landlord will communicate clearly with the customer explaining why the repair cannot be completed at first visit, what it intends to do and what should happen next, including when it will return to complete the repair.
  3. The landlord’s repair policy considers “doors or ground floor windows that are not secure” an emergency repair which will be responded to within 24 hours of being reported and made safe. Routine repairs which do not require an emergency repair are aimed to be fixed within 28 calendar days, but sooner if it can.

The landlord’s handling of, and communication about the repairs at the property

Windows and external doors

  1. It is recognised that the situation has been distressing for the resident, for a considerable period, during which time the landlord has significantly delayed in repairing the issues reported. Furthermore, it has failed to act in accordance with its service standards, as set out in its repairs policy.
  2. The landlord offered its sincere apologies for the experience the resident received, and the distress that was caused. In addition to offering an apology, it offered £250 compensation.
  3. When there are failings, as is the case here, the Ombudsman will consider whether the redress offered by the landlord put things right and resolved the resident’s complaint satisfactorily. This Service considers whether the landlord’s offer of redress was in line with the Ombudsman’s Dispute Resolution Principles; be fair, put things right and learn from outcomes.
  4. The impact on the resident has been exacerbated by the landlord’s continued failures to resolve the repairs over an extended period. The failings in this case are significant as:
    1. The landlord has failed in its obligations under the terms of the tenancy agreement, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and its repairs policy, to repair and maintain the outside structure of the home, which includes outside doors and windows.
    2. In accordance with its repairs policy, the landlord was expected to attend the resident’s property, within 24 hours, once it was notified that she had difficulties opening and closing her external doors and windows. It is unclear why this repair was not prioritised considering the health and safety risks, and that the landlord did not assess the doors or windows for 13 calendar days. This is a departure from its repairs policy.
    3. It is reasonable to expect the landlord to have attended, as a matter of urgency, to ensure the property was safe and secure, and to inspect the doors and windows, before deciding on the next course of action. That it did not, does not demonstrate that it had regard to the health and safety concerns of the resident, or her children, or that it took the residents’ concerns as seriously as should have done.
    4. A property inspection on 30 August 2022 identified significant repairs to the windows, and that adjustments were required to the external doors. At this time, the landlord was made aware that windows were locked in an open position, and that the bedroom windows did not have restrictors. There is no evidence that the landlord took appropriate action to address the repairs, despite the obvious defects. The landlord and/or its contractors visited the property on at least three more occasions and identified the same repairs. At the time of this investigation, the window and door repairs remain outstanding, 14 months after the landlord was notified. This is unacceptable and does not demonstrate a proactive approach to resolving the repairs at the earliest opportunity.
    5. The landlord advised the resident in its stage one response that the first visit was to “identify requirements for the repairs.” This is contrary to its repairs policy which states that its objective is to “complete repairs on the first visit” to avoid “disruption.” The resident had advised the landlord of her difficulty in taking time off work and it was even more important to coordinate the repairs.
    6. While it was appropriate for the landlord to attend the property to clarify what repairs were needed, the repeated appointments, missed and delayed repairs evidence failings in the oversight and management of repairs at the property.
    7. There are times when repairs cannot be completed on the first visit. In these instances, the landlord should consider interim solutions, for example boarding the windows, or temporary repairs, to reduce the impact on the resident. There is no evidence that this was done or considered which is a further failing. Of particular concern is that the landlord has not evidenced how it assisted the resident in the interim, to manage the cold in her property and ensure she felt safe and had lockable doors. That it did not evidence that it tried to alleviate her worry, the excess cold, and her heating loss is a particular concern.
    8. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (the HHSRS) offers landlords a risk-based tool to enable them to consider potential hazards. This is useful as landlords have a responsibility to keep properties free from category one hazards, which includes excess cold. With this in mind, and noting the resident’s concerns about cold, the landlord was responsible for checking the thermal efficiency of the property and to determine whether the temperature in the property was adequate or not under the relevant regulations, especially given that the resident had young children. That it did not was a further failing which resulted in the resident having to endure a cold property for over a year which is unreasonable by any standards.
    9. The landlord’s approach to the repairs, including its communication with its contractor, was disjointed. It is evident that the landlord was unsure as to what if any repairs had been completed. This was a result of contradictory information on its systems, and little or no feedback provided by its contractors. The landlord’s poor record keeping, and lack of oversight impacted its ability to manage the repairs, and accurately record progress of repairs.
    10. Despite further reports that the resident’s house was “freezing” in November 2022, the landlord continued to miss opportunities to expedite the repairs or consider how it could reduce the detrimental impact of the cold on the resident and her children, given the time of year.
    11. Because of its mismanagement of the repairs, the landlord was unable to suitably manage the resident’s expectations and eroded her confidence in the landlord’s ability to put things right.
    12. The landlord did not act fairly by acknowledging that despite several inspections and visits to the property, it had not resolved the repairs. Furthermore, it failed to explain the reasons for the continued delays.
    13. The resident remains significantly impacted by the outstanding repairs to her doors and windows, which have remained outstanding for 14 months.


  1. Following the residents reports of repairs in her bathroom, the landlord arranged to inspect the repairs on 30 August 2022. Following the visit, it recommended a “full bathroom refurbishment.” The landlord confirmed in an email to the resident on 15 September 2022 that an order was placed for a full bathroom replacement. It would have been reasonable, to manage the resident’s expectations, for the landlord to have explained exactly what this involved. While it is evident that the components in the bathroom were replaced in November 2022, the resident has not had the tiles replaced, or the radiator, which she had been expecting.
  2. Further indications of the landlord’s poor record keeping are evidenced by the landlord confirming that a job to “renew or fix new glazed ceramic wall tiles to splashback and sills” was completed on 1 December 2022. The resident disputed this with the landlord, which was corroborated by the inspection report in May 2023, which confirmed that the refurbishment had not been completed.
  3. The landlord was aware of an issue with the bathroom floor joists following the visit on 30 August 2022. At this point, it was recommended that a joist survey was carried out, due to the floor being damp, which raised concerns that the joists could be rotten. The evidence does not suggest that a survey was completed, to satisfy the landlord and the resident that there were no further issues with the floor. Given the resident’s concerns, it would have been an appropriate step to take, to relieve the stress that it was causing her.
  4. This Service understands that the resident’s working pattern attributed to difficulties in the landlord booking in works. However, the evidence confirms that many of the delays had been avoidable. The landlord has confirmed resourcing and material issues caused some of the delays, however, there is no evidence that the resident was kept informed of this, which resulted in her frequently requesting dates for repairs. Furthermore, it does not explain why the resident continues to experience delays, which appear in the most part to have been avoidable.
  5. Because of the previous issues the resident had experienced with scheduling in repairs, it was a reasonable request to ask the landlord for a schedule of works and ensure that all the required repairs were booked in. Additionally, this would have provided an opportunity for her to ensure there would be suitable access to the property. The landlord significantly delayed in providing the resident with a schedule of works which was only issued on 10 October 2023, despite the request being made on 29 September 2022.
  6. While the landlord confirmed that it had taken its repairs back in house in January 2023, to offer an improved service, the resident has continued to receive a poor level of service, which does not indicate any service improvements on the landlord’s part. Furthermore, it has not identified sufficient learning from this complaint to demonstrate that it has learned from outcomes.
  7. There were many and serious failings in the landlord’s handling of and communication about the repairs to the property. The cumulative failings constitute severe maladministration, having caused significant distress and inconvenience, and time and trouble, over a protracted period.
  8. In considering the level of redress offered to the resident, the landlord has not gone far enough to “explain how the service failures occurred” as detailed in its compensation policy. When deciding on compensation, the landlord considers the severity of the service failure, length of time the situation has been ongoing, number of different failures and the cumulative impact on the resident. The landlord’s compensation policy offers £250 where an issue has been resolved within a reasonable time. Where an issue has taken a long time to resolve, and resulted in significant inconvenience, it will consider awards more than £700.
  9. The landlord’s offer of £250 is not a sufficient, or a proportionate remedy in this case. As such, an order has been made for an additional award of compensation proportional to the level of detriment caused to the resident. The amount is in line with the Ombudsman’s own remedies guidance, which suggests amounts of over £1000 where there has been severe maladministration, which has had a significant detrimental impact on a resident.

Complaint handling

  1. The landlord’s stage one response confirmed that it had attended the repairs within its 28-calendar day timescale, as detailed in its repairs policy. However, its repairs policy states that its aims to “fix” repairs within 28 calendar days, if not sooner. Therefore, the landlord applied the policy incorrectly, and failed to acknowledge that the resident’s repairs were not completed within its service standard.
  2. The landlord’s published information confirms that it deals with complaints by following the Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code (Code). The Code defines a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction, however made.’ The landlord recorded that the resident was “very upset” during a telephone conversation in September 2022 due to the “unacceptable” delays she was experiencing. Yet, it did not prompt the landlord to escalate her complaint. Given the clear dissatisfaction she expressed, it would have been reasonable for the landlord to have asked the resident at that point if she wanted her complaint to be escalated through its complaints process. As it did not, the resident expended further time and trouble in contacting this Service and later submitting an email escalation request.
  3. This Service asked the landlord to provide the resident with a formal response in October 2022. This was a further missed opportunity for the landlord to escalate the resident’s complaint, rather, it reissued its stage one response. It is not clear if the landlord had assumed that the resident had not received her stage one response and that was why it re-issued the response. It would have been appropriate for the landlord to have sought to clarify the situation with the resident, or this Service. Because it did not, the resident was unable to exhaust the landlord’s complaints process in a timely manner.
  4. It was unreasonable that the resident had to contact this Service again in December 2022, to prompt the landlord to escalate her complaint. The evidence confirms that the resident sent an email escalation request on 4 November 2022. The landlord did provide a stage two response within the timescale that was set by this Service. However, the resident requested an escalation on 4 November and the landlord has not disputed that it received it. Therefore, its stage two response was sent outside of the 20-calendar day timeframe, as detailed within its complaints policy.
  5. The landlord indicated that an “error” had meant it only had five days in which to send a stage two response. With that in mind, this Service can conclude that the landlord did not conduct a thorough investigation into the history of the complaint, which sought to obtain sufficient, reliable information from both parties (its contractor and the resident) so that fair and appropriate findings could be made. This Service is unclear what evidence the landlord relied upon to base its complaint responses, which undoubtedly will have negatively impacted the landlord-resident relationship.
  6. Paragraph 52(f) of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme sets out that the Ombudsman may find maladministration where a landlord has treated the complainant personally in a heavy-handed, unsympathetic, or inappropriate manner.
  7. The landlord has a code of conduct which states it must “maintain high standards of professionalism, fairness and courtesy in all dealings with residents” and that it must “treat others with respect at all times.” This investigation has observed some unsympathetic and unprofessional language from its contractor at that time, which demonstrates a less than positive attitude towards the resident.
  8. While the language and remarks appear to be an isolated incident, the landlord is reminded that all comments, directly or indirectly, should remain professional, and in line with its expected working practices, and code of conduct.
  9. Overall, there were many failings in the landlord’s handling of the resident’s complaint which amount to maladministration. The complaints procedure was not used as an effective tool to resolve the dispute and compounded the failings in the landlord’s handling of the substantive issues. Despite acknowledging that there were delays the landlord failed to recognise the extent of what had gone wrong. Furthermore, as it did not address why it had not followed its complaints procedure, it missed the opportunity to put things right, and apply any lessons learned, to avoid a reoccurrence of the same failings.

Record keeping

  1. The evidence confirms significant problems with the landlord’s record keeping, which this Service can conclude, hindered its ability to progress the repairs, and resolve the complaint satisfactorily. The evidence shows that:
    1. On 31 August, the landlord confirmed conflicting repair records with one system showing repairs “completed” and another showing “op reviewed” but with very little done or no feedback.
    2. On 13 December it stated:
      1. It could see a large number of orders had been cancelled but had no information on what exactly was carried out.
      2. A new door order was raised that was “not pulling through” onto its system.
      3. It could not see that any follow-on works had been raised.
      4. Due to an “error” the resident’s complaint had not been escalated.
    3. Wrong trades attended the resident’s bathroom repairs.
    4. The landlord’s repair log incorrectly indicates the repairs to the resident’s property have been completed.
  2. In reviewing the evidence, the landlord’s record keeping contributed to its poor management of the repairs, impacting both its ability to resolve the substantive issue as well as the associated complaint. This caused delays, as well as further annoyance and frustration to the resident, in her pursuit to resolve matters. There was maladministration in the landlord’s record keeping and an order relevant to this has been made.

Determination (decision)

  1. In accordance with paragraph 52 of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, there was severe maladministration by the landlord in respect of its:
    1. Handling of, and communication about the repairs at the property.
  2. In accordance with paragraph 52 of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, there was maladministration by the landlord in respect of its:
    1. Complaint handling.
    2. Record keeping.
  3. In accordance with paragraph 42(c) of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, the landlord’s response to the resident’s request for a goodwill payment was ruled outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.


  1. The landlord failed in its obligations to remedy the repairs within a reasonable timeframe and some repairs remain outstanding. It failed to effectively manage and monitor the repairs with its contractor. It still has not put things right for the resident or offered compensation that was reflective of the considerable impact the outstanding repairs had and continue to have on the resident. Because of the landlord’s failings, and its poor communication, the resident’s enjoyment of her property has been severely curtailed for a prolonged period.
  2. The landlord failed to apply the key principles of the Code, to be fair, learn from outcomes and put things right. There were delays in the landlord escalating the complaint, which resulted in unnecessary time and effort on the resident’s part in contacting the landlord, and this Service. It did not correctly follow its complaints process and failed to acknowledge the extent of its failings or demonstrate that it had learned from outcomes.
  3. The failings in the landlord’s record keeping hindered its ability to progress the repairs and complaint swiftly and effectively. The delays were exacerbated by internal emails chasing the status of repairs. Its failures added to the resident’s distress and inconvenience.


  1. Within four weeks of the date of this determination, the landlord should:
    1. Arrange for the landlord’s Chief Executive to apologise to the resident on behalf of the landlord in person (or in writing if this is preferred by the resident).
    2. Pay the resident a total of £5500 comprised of:
      1. £2500 for the distress and inconvenience caused by the failings identified in this report, associated with the repairs.
      2. £2500 for impact the failings had on the resident’s use of her home.
      3. £500 for the distress and inconvenience, time and trouble caused by the failings identified in its complaints handling.
  2. Within eight weeks of the date of this determination, the landlord should:
    1. Consider the fallings set out in this report which relate to the management of repairs and record keeping, and review how it can reduce the likelihood of similar failings happening again. This review should include, as a minimum, consideration of:
      1. Appropriate maintenance and retrieval of repair records.
      2. Its oversight of works completed by contractors.
      3. Whether improved processes, guidance, or staff training in relation to the above will reduce the likelihood of similar failings happening again.
      4. Whether action has been taken since this complaint which reduces the likelihood of similar failings happening again.
      5. If not, what action will now be taken to address this.
      6. The outcome of this review should be shared with the Ombudsman, also within eight weeks of this decision.
    2. Consider the failings set out in this report which relate to the handling of the complaint, and review how it can reduce the likelihood of similar failings happening again. As a minimum, the review should consider:
      1. How complaints may be addressed at the earliest opportunity, in line with the landlord’s complaints procedure and Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.
      2. Whether improved processes, guidance or staff training will reduce the likelihood of similar failings happening again.
      3. Whether action has been taken since this complaint which reduces the likelihood of similar failings happening again.
      4. If not, what action will now be taken to address this.
      5. The outcome of this review should be shared with the Ombudsman, also within eight weeks of this decision.


  1. The landlord should assess the resident’s heating bills and offer a reimbursement to account for any overpayment in 2022 and 2023 (based on the average of previous years).
  2. If the resident experiences further delays to her repairs after the agreed date in December 2023, the landlord should consider a further offer of compensation.