Case Study 13 – Reasonable redress (including compensation)
Mrs C complained about the redress, including compensation, offered by the landlord following improvement works to her bathroom.
In April 2012 the landlord confirmed it would replace Mrs C’s bathroom and the main works were carried out in July. A month after completion was due Mrs C complained that the workmen were rude and unable to communicate. She said they had damaged her property, cut her phone line extension and left debris in inconvenient locations. She also expressed concern about the quality of works, noting that the floor was not level, the shower had not been connected and the standard of finishing was poor.
In response the landlord agreed that she had received an unsatisfactory service due to delays, inadequate communication and disruption. It provided a schedule of snagging works which were then carried out but not signed off as issues remained.
After further contact with Mrs C the landlord arranged for outstanding works to be completed by different contractors, usually employed by a neighbouring local authority. It also agreed to complete snagging works over the weekend. Both these decisions were outside of its usual maintenance and repairs policy.
Two months after final completion, in January 2013, the landlord agreed to Mrs C’s request for reimbursement of specific costs of £135.99 including for time taken off work. It also offered £35 for the initial delay in completing works plus £50 for time and trouble in pursuing the complaint. However Mrs C asked for £50 per week for the 12 weeks that her family had had to live with this issue, a total of £600.
In considering the landlord’s actions in resolving this complaint we took account both of its specific actions and its offers of compensation. We therefore considered its acknowledgement that things had gone wrong in terms of the actual works, and the steps it took to put these right. That included going beyond standard policy and procedure by arranging for alternative contractors to complete works when Mrs C wouldn’t allow the original contractors to return. In addition, it arranged for works over the weekend because Mrs C had already taken off work to provide access. Such flexibility did, however, increase the total time required to complete works.
We spoke to Mrs C and explained that we considered £50 per week disproportionate to the inconvenience experienced given that this was equal to a 45% rent reduction. We discussed the distress, inconvenience and disruption she had experienced but noted that she was able to remain in and use the property. We concluded that the landlord’s offer of compensation was fair in the circumstances. This was because it had addressed: Mrs C’s time and expenses in resolving the issues; poor service from its contractor; and the time taken to finalise works. Overall we concluded that, taken altogether, the landlord’s actions had satisfactorily resolved the complaint.