Case Study 38: Repairs - Locally resolved with support

Miss P complained to her landlord about her its decision not to replace the windows in her property following a report of failed sealed units in the kitchen windows. In response to her request, the landlord had written to tell her that it did not intend to re-glaze the windows. When reaching this decision the landlord relied on a visit to Miss P’s home by one of its surveyors around three months earlier.

We spoke to the landlord to explain that we were concerned that Miss P did not appear to have been contacted to discuss the details of her concerns, and that the landlord had not visited her property after she had made her complaint. We also noted that by prematurely closing her complaint Miss P had been denied an opportunity to ask for a review of the landlord’s decision.

We explained to the landlord that we encourage landlords and tenants to resolve complaints between themselves at the earliest possible opportunity. In our experience this improves the landlord tenant relationship and helps to build trust in dispute resolution. We also explained that when a complaint is brought to us we consider it by way of our dispute resolution principles and will always review if the landlord has also tried to be fair, put things right and learnt from the complaint.

Following our conversation with the landlord it spoke to Miss P and arranged for a further inspection of the property be carried out. It then agreed to replace the windows. The landlord also told us that it would remind staff of the importance of contacting a complainant to discuss the issues and ensuring that decisions being made were based on the most up-to-date information about a case. It also said that it would review its complaints procedure.

The landlord’s initial response to Miss P’s complaint had been inadequate. In particular it did not demonstrate that it had followed fair process in considering her complaint by ensuring that its decision was based on up-to-date information.  However, having had the opportunity to discuss the case with this Service, the landlord acted promptly to put matters right, by arranging an inspection of Miss P’s property, which then resulted in its decision to carry out the works. It also demonstrated that it had learnt from this particular case and how it had been handled, and that these lessons had been shared with staff.