Compensation

This fact sheet is aimed at residents who believe they may be entitled to a payment of compensation from their landlord. Accepting an offer of compensation from your landlord does not prevent you from contacting the Ombudsman or referring your complaint for investigation.

Compensation paid by landlords

There are two types of compensation; payments that the landlord is obliged to make, usually due to legal requirements, and discretionary compensation, which is a payment the landlord chooses to make.

Compensation required by law

If you are a local authority or housing association tenant there are certain situations in which you may be entitled to compensation from your landlord:

Home loss

Home loss payments may be made to tenants or owner-occupiers who have lived in their property for a minimum of 12 months and are required to move home permanently as a result of redevelopment or demolition of their home.

Disturbance

Disturbance payments may be made to people who are required to move to another property temporarily or to people who have lived at a property less than 12 months and are required to move home permanently. This payment is for reasonable moving costs.

Improvements

If your tenancy is ending and you completed improvements to your property after 1 April 1994 you may be entitled to compensation for those improvements. This does not apply to fixed-term tenancies.

Right to Repair

The Right to Repair scheme covers specific repairs, known as ‘qualifying repairs’ which cost less than £250 and should be done within a set time limit. If your landlord does not carry them out within that time you may be entitled to compensation. Your landlord can tell you if your repair is a ‘qualifying repair’.

To find out whether you might qualify for any of these payments contact your landlord for further information.

Payment for damage to your property/belongings

Generally it will be a landlord’s responsibility to insure the building and a resident’s responsibility to insure the contents of their home. If damage has occurred to your property and you think you may want to make a claim to the landlord’s insurer, the best place to start is by looking at your landlord’s repairs and compensation policies. If you want to pursue a claim ask your landlord for details on how to do so.

Discretionary compensation

Landlords are expected to have a compensation policy which provides guidance on when it will consider offering discretionary compensation. These are sometimes referred to as a gesture of goodwill.

If you are asking for compensation, or if you have been offered a payment and you are unsure whether to accept it, you may find it helpful to consider your landlord’s approach to such payments by looking at its policy. We cannot tell you whether to accept an offer and this is your decision.

Compensation payments ordered by the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman can provide fair and proportionate remedies to complaints where maladministration or service failure has been identified. There are a wide range of proportionate remedies which include both non-financial remedies and compensation.

Compensation will not be appropriate in every case. We will only order a landlord to pay compensation if, following an investigation, we find evidence of service failure or maladministration by the landlord that has not been put right by the landlord. In addition, we must be satisfied that compensation is the most appropriate action that will put things right, in the particular circumstances of the complaint.

We will consider whether the landlord’s offer was reasonable in the circumstances of the case. This includes considering whether it was consistent with the landlord’s policy and whether the sum being offered was proportionate to the shortfalls in service received by an individual and the impact this had on them.

All compensation calculations are based on what is considered fair in the particular circumstances of the case. We can order a landlord to pay compensation for:

  • actual, proven financial loss sustained as a direct result of the maladministration or service failure, and/or
  • avoidable inconvenience, distress, detriment or other unfair impact of the maladministration or service failure.

Factors we may take into account when deciding the overall amount include:

  • the duration of any avoidable distress or inconvenience
  • the seriousness of any other unfair impact
  • actions by the complainant or the landlord which either mitigated or contributed to actual financial loss, distress, inconvenience or unfair impact
  • the level of rent or service charges
  • the landlord’s own compensation policies
  • the levels of compensation for similar cases paid by other UK Ombudsmen.