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Spotlight on: Dealing with cladding complaints

Published in May 2021

Report summary 

Following on from publishing guidance setting out our approach for considering what is fair in all the circumstances on cladding-related disputes, this report builds on the Ombudsman’s approach. Whilst each case is considered on its own individual facts and circumstances, the guidance set out a three-pronged approach:  

  • asking landlords about long-term compliance 
  • communication 
  • responding to individual circumstances 

This report assesses evidence against these areas. Whilst the Ombudsman’s evidence is just one piece of the jigsaw, the unique and entirely independent perspective as an Ombudsman means it provides important lessons and practical recommendations for areas that are within the landlords’ control. 

Actions from this report 

Firstly, it is clear most landlords are taking a risk-based approach to inspections and, whilst this is rational, these plans do not appear to adequately consider the broader implications for all residents, especially those living in buildings below 18 metres. The Ombudsman believes it is essential for landlords to provide a clear road map – with timescales – to all residents. 

Secondly, effective communication is vital, and landlords need to assure themselves that their strategy for this is robust, well-resourced and proactive. The risk otherwise is increased frustration and deterioration of the resident and landlord relationship. This extends to being open and transparent about long-term plans. 

Thirdly, landlords should always address the individual circumstances presented in a complaint and, where appropriate, exercise discretion as they would with other complaints. The longer this crisis continues the greater the impact will be on individuals’ life chances, their finances, mental health and well-being. Ombudsman investigations have found landlords could do more to respond to an individual resident’s circumstances which is why, in exceptional cases, it has proposed equity release instead of subletting as an appropriate remedy. 

The full report

Please view or download the full report pdf.

Spotlight report pdf

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