Pests and gas safety checks are the focus of the Housing Ombudsman’s latest Insight report, showcasing key lessons for social landlords.
The report covers the first quarter of this year, and presents casework insights from the ombudsman’s Dispute Support team; often the first response to many complaints.
Among the themes that came to the fore in this latest release are pest infestation, tenancy warning letters, and gas safety.
Richard Blakeway, the housing ombudsman, said this latest report contains several “thought-provoking” cases.
He added: “Our investigation into a blind woman’s experiences of reporting a rodent infestation where the landlord, although responsive, failed to grip the situation, and inferred blame on the resident despite her disability, provides lessons for the whole sector on dealing with pest control better.
“We know how hard it can be to treat pest infestation at times, but the cases highlighted provide insights so that landlords can improve in this area moving forwards.
“This Insight report shows how landlords can better tackle issues within their own complaints system before we need to step in.”
Cases in the latest report include:
- A case involving Westminster City Council where the housing ombudsman found maladministration for pest infestation. The landlord failed to take into account the residents’ partial sight and therefore, despite being responsive, only prolonged the distress and time taken for the issue to be solved
- A maladministration finding for Solihull Council for its handling of gas safety testing, resulting in a period of 11 months where a vulnerable resident had no gas safety certificate
- A case about staff behaviour involving Places for People, in which the landlord failed to address the allegations of the resident or seek evidence for them. It also did not take the resident’s vulnerabilities into account when assessing the reasonableness of the steps it had taken
Alongside the publication of the Insight report, the ombudsman has also released its latest quarterly data. The statistics show:
- The ombudsman made 1,284 determinations – a 69% increase on the previous quarter
- Whilst dropping slightly from last quarter, property condition was responsible for 58% of all complaints received
- The ombudsman made 2,911 orders to make things right – a 91% increase on the previous quarter
- 52% of those orders were compensation for residents
Blakeway added: “The crucial insights from our frontline caseworkers should be essential reading to all in the sector, as they show what we are starting to see a lot of. Getting on top of this is vital before they turn into the investigations of the future.”
Image credit: wk1003mike/Shutterstock
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