Case Study 24: Compensation and complaints handling

Mrs B was a leaseholder who had paid for the replacement of the windows and a door at her property in 2007.  In 2013 she discovered that maintenance of these was the responsibility of the landlord. Mrs B complained that the landlord gave her incorrect information regarding her obligations under her lease and wanted to be reimbursed for her costs

The landlord accepted and apologised for service failure due to its misinterpretation of the lease also that it gave incorrect information to Mrs B.  The landlord’s customer panel considered Mrs B’s complaint. It recommended that the landlord offer Mrs B compensation but that it take into account that the value of the windows had diminished, given that they were now 6 years old, and their life expectancy was less.   The landlord offered Mrs B £746 which was calculated on the basis of 10% reduction for each of the years the windows had been installed. Given the ten year guarantee, this was a fair calculation.  

However, using this formula meant that the landlord’s failure to inform Mrs B of its original mistake benefitted it financially. The more time that passed from the date of purchase the less the windows would be worth.  This cannot be seen to be fair to Mrs B or anyone else in her position.   To put the matter right and provide appropriate redress the compensation offer should also recognise the length of time that it took the landlord to provide Mrs B with the correct interpretation of the lease. 

We made a finding of maladministration as the landlord’s offer to purchase the windows and doors at a depreciated cost did not provide appropriate redress to Mrs B for the length of time it took the landlord to correct the information it gave to Mrs B regarding the lease. We ordered the landlord to pay Mrs B £300 compensation, in addition to its original offer of £746 for the windows, in recognition of this.