William Eichler 26 May 2022

Housing Ombudsman finds Hackney guilty of ‘severe maladministration’

Housing Ombudsman finds Hackney guilty of ‘severe maladministration’  image
Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com.

An investigation has found that the London borough of Hackney is guilty of ‘severe maladministration’ after delays in dealing with damp, mould and leaks at a resident’s home.

A resident had been left for two years in a house where mould was affecting the front room, kitchen, hallway and bathroom of the property.

The resident made a stage two complaint, which was upheld by the landlord who offered £60 compensation. The resident was not satisfied and referred her complaint to the Ombudsman.

Our investigation found that the landlord did not respond to the resident’s reports of the issues in accordance with its own timescales for repairs as set out in its repairs policy. It did not keep the resident updated, explain delays or manage expectations in any way. It also did not urgently decant the resident as had been advised.

The Ombudsman found ‘severe maladministration’ for the landlord’s failings in thoroughly investigating the resident’s complaint and extensive delays in providing a response at stage two of the complaint process.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: ‘In this case, the delay in attending the property, carrying out inspections, investigations and ultimately works to resolve the issues was unacceptable and inappropriate. The landlord missed opportunities to investigate what had gone wrong and to put things right accordingly.

‘Following our decision,?I welcome the landlord’s response on its learning from this case?and the changes being made to improve its?service.?I would encourage other landlords to consider the learning this case offers for their own services.’

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: 'We accept there were failures made while dealing with this case and that the service we provided fell well below that we expect to provide our residents. We are sorry for the distress this has caused the resident.'

The spokesperson also said that a cyberattack and COVID had caused a delay in the case.

They continued: 'We are disappointed with the finding, but we recognise our failings and we are continually taking steps to enhance the service we provide to residents including improving how we communicate the outcomes of any inspections our surveyors undertake. We will use the findings of this investigation to improve our processes to prevent issues like this occurring in the future.'

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