Case Study 32: Disrepair - Locally resolved with intervention

Miss L’s complaint was about how her landlord had responded to her reports of damp and other disrepair issues at her property. She had been reporting these since shortly after the start of her tenancy in November 2012. However, there were significant delays in the repairs being done, and a lack of clarity as to what works would be carried out when.

Miss L’s landlord considered her complaint under its own complaints procedure and acknowledged that there had been failings in its service. It said that it would ensure that the works were completed and also made an offer of compensation to Miss L. The landlord therefore demonstrated its intention to resolve the dispute.

However, there were further delays in works being completed, and Miss L was given conflicting information about whether roof and rendering works would be carried out. There was also an outstanding issue about the amount of compensation that Miss L had been offered, as the problems had not been resolved.  Miss L had by this time exhausted the landlord’s own complaints procedure and asked the Ombudsman to help her resolve matters. We reviewed the case and considered that the complaint could be resolved by us working with both parties to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues and a way forward.

Miss L told us that the resolution that she was seeking was confirmation that rendering works would be carried out as well as the re-roofing that the landlord had already agreed. Given that there had been a significant period of disruption caused to her family as they had been unable to use some of the rooms in the property for nearly a year, she also wanted a refund of part of the rent that she had paid during this period.

We also discussed the situation with the landlord, which again acknowledged that there had been significant failings in how it had dealt with this matter, and told us that it was keen to resolve the situation. On this basis, it agreed to Miss L’s request for compensation. It also undertook a thermal survey of the property to identify the scope of works needed to address the damp and condensation, which concluded that external rendering of the property was not considered necessary at that time. However the landlord demonstrated to us that it had taken other measures to comply with the findings of the survey, such as installing extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom.

We worked with both the landlord and Miss L to understand the extent of the outstanding issues and to ensure that matters were put right.  The landlord had acknowledged that there were failings in how it had dealt with the case before it was brought to us, but had demonstrated that it was committed to reaching a resolution with Miss L. We decided that the complaint had been locally resolved by the landlord, through its actions in ensuring that all works were complete and by making a reasonable offer of compensation to Miss L.