The Housing Ombudsman has directed Yorkshire Housing to pay £3,780, citing three instances of severe maladministration in their handling of a leak, damp, and mold issues, as well as deficiencies in complaint resolution and consideration of the resident’s welfare. The Housing Ombudsman’s investigation highlighted Yorkshire Housing’s awareness of the resident’s poor mental health and the presence of two young children in the household. However, it pointed out the housing provider’s failure to take appropriate action, particularly during the family’s transition to temporary accommodation due to property conditions resulting from a leak.
Despite Yorkshire Housing’s knowledge of the resident’s vulnerable situation, the Ombudsman found that the necessary measures to address the mental health concerns and ensure the well-being of the two young children were not adequately implemented during the relocation process. The Ombudsman’s order for compensation reflects the severity of the maladministration identified in the handling of the reported issues, emphasizing the housing provider’s obligation to consider the holistic welfare of its residents in such situations.
The Ombudsman investigation revealed that the landlord neglected to adhere to its own decant and repairs policies designed for vulnerable residents. Furthermore, the landlord failed to consider the specific needs of the resident and provide essential support. Adding to these shortcomings, the initial complaint from the resident was disregarded, and a subsequent complaint went unanswered, contributing to the perception that the resident’s concerns were not valued, and the landlord demonstrated a lack of care.
Compounding the issues, the contractors employed by the landlord often relied on the resident’s return to their property before completing necessary repairs. This led to frequent disruptions and distress for the resident, particularly given their situation of working from home during national lockdowns. The identified failures underscore the importance of consistent adherence to policies and responsiveness in addressing residents’ concerns, emphasizing the need for landlords to prioritize effective communication and support for their tenants.
The resident persistently communicated with the landlord, expressing the adverse impact on her mental health due to the events, lack of communication, and inadequate support. She specifically detailed the challenges faced in the temporary accommodation, including instances of “eating Christmas dinner on the floor” and “sleeping on mattresses for months.” Despite these circumstances, the Housing Ombudsman highlighted the landlord’s failure to take appropriate action or provide additional support for the vulnerable resident.
The Housing Ombudsman’s findings underscored that the landlord neglected to address its own decant and repairs policies for vulnerable residents, failed to consider the resident’s needs, and provided inadequate support. Moreover, the resident’s initial complaint went unanswered, fostering a perception that her concerns were disregarded and that the landlord lacked genuine care for her well-being. Additionally, disruptions and distress heightened for the resident, particularly since they were working from home during the national lockdowns, as the landlord’s contractors often depended on the resident’s return to complete necessary repairs.
The landlord’s deficient communication, lack of oversight, and assertive approach proved especially detrimental to a resident with mental health vulnerabilities, exacerbating the challenges during a pandemic and national lockdowns. The Ombudsman criticized the landlord’s inadequate handling of complaints, citing significant delays in response times.
In response to the Ombudsman’s findings, a senior member of the landlord’s staff has been directed to issue a formal apology to the resident. Additionally, the Ombudsman mandated the completion of all outstanding repairs at the resident’s permanent address within six weeks and awarded £3,780 in compensation. To enhance future interactions, the landlord has designated a single named contact for the resident in case they need to temporarily relocate during repair work. Furthermore, a new Complaints Team has been established as part of the landlord’s commitment to addressing and improving its grievance resolution processes.