Case Study 23: Compensation

Ms F complained about the level of compensation that her landlord offered her following longstanding disrepair.

There was disrepair caused by a leak which recurred over a 4-5 year period. Ms F reported the problems and the landlord made several inspections of the property, but did not follow these up with repair work. When repairs were eventually carried out they were sub-standard, leading to further problems.

The landlord apologised for the delay in carrying out the repairs and the standard of the work. It offered Ms F compensation of £1,200 for loss of earnings for 15 days she had taken off work for repair appointments, plus £500 for the distress and inconvenience - a total of £1,700. Ms F rejected this offer as she considered that the £500 offered for distress and inconvenience was insufficient, given the longstanding nature of the disrepair.

We decided to refer the complaint back to the landlord for reconsideration and to see whether it could resolve Ms F’s complaint. We pointed out that the landlord’s compensation policy stated that a payment of £10 a week may be appropriate for delays in carrying out repairs, but this did not appear to have been considered when assessing Ms F’s complaint.

The landlord responded positively to our intervention and, in light of our observations, offered Ms F an additional £1,850 to reflect the delays in addressing the disrepair (185 weeks at £10 per week). Ms F accepted this offer.

This case demonstrates how the Ombudsman’s intervention can help a landlord to resolve a complaint through the appropriate application of its own compensation policy.