Case Study 30: Complaint handling - Locally resolved with support

Ms F complained to us about the amount of time the landlord was taking to respond to her stage 3 complaint about outstanding repairs. When we contacted the landlord to discuss how it was being handled it explained that it was looking to complete all the repairs before sending its final response so that the panel would have the most up to date information to rely on. Whilst this is an approach landlords often adopt, it is better if possible to progress a complaint without waiting on the conclusion of any outstanding works. This is because if there is a problem with the work for any reason it undermines the complaints process as well as the tenant’s confidence in the landlord’s repairs process. If a landlord does wait on a repair or other action it is important both to tell the tenant what it is doing and to keep them updated; neither of which had happened in this instance.

We explained what the landlord was doing to Ms F and forwarded an up to date repair timetable from the landlord.

However, Ms F contacted us again when the repairs overran and explained that she did not want to wait any longer for her stage 3 panel meeting and response from the landlord. We asked the landlord to talk to Ms F directly and explain the reason for the delays. It agreed to discuss the complaint with Ms F without waiting for completion of the repairs.

The landlord explained to Ms F that it wanted to try and resolve the complaint without the need for a panel meeting. It believed this was appropriate because the repairs would soon be completed and the only outstanding matter was the issue of what compensation would be appropriate in the circumstances.  We explained to Ms F that this was a reasonable approach as it meant the complaint might be resolved sooner and our priority is to see complaints resolved locally between the landlord and tenant.

The landlord’s discussion with Ms F resulted in a compensation offer which she was satisfied with, and meant that a panel hearing was not necessary.