Social housing complaints soar amid poor conditions and safety issues

Social housing complaints soar amid poor conditions and safety issues

10:11 AM, 17th October 2023, About 8 months ago 1

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The Housing Ombudsman has published a challenging picture of social housing complaints with a 323% increase in severe maladministration findings against social housing landlords.

The Annual Complaints Review also reveals a 28% increase in complaints received by the Ombudsman last year, reaching more than 5,000 for the first time.

More than half of these complaints were upheld, and the main cause of complaints was for poor property conditions, which accounted for almost 2,000 findings.

The failure rate for this category rose from 39% to 54%, indicating that social housing landlords were not handling repair requests reasonably.

Health and safety complaints also had a high maladministration rate of 52%.

‘Sobering overview into social housing complaints’

Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, said: “Our Annual Complaints Review provides a unique and sobering overview into social housing complaints in this country.

“While the statistics reflect a picture of poor practice, they also reflect the increased pressures we know that social landlords are facing with a combined housing and cost of living crisis.

“However, despite some notable efforts, what our data shows is a fundamental gap between some of the services landlords deliver and the reasonable expectations of their residents.”

He added: “Too often residents with disabilities or mental health needs are falling between those gaps.

“Too often the basics are not being done properly, with straightforward communication or record keeping being missed leading to problems becoming more severe.

London has the highest maladministration rate

The review also highlights the regional differences in complaint handling with London having the highest maladministration rate and the most severe cases.

The South West had the lowest overall maladministration rate and the North East and Yorkshire had the lowest severe maladministration rate.

The Ombudsman has now written to the chief executives of social housing landlords who have a maladministration rate of more than 50%, urging them to improve their performance.

There are 91 landlords in this category, with 25 of them having a maladministration rate above 75%.

The Ombudsman has also recognised five landlords who had no findings upheld, praising their positive complaint handling approach.

When social landlords do not comply

The review also looks at Complaint Handling Failure Orders (CHFOs), which are issued when social landlords do not comply with the Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.

The Ombudsman issued 146 CHFOs last year, mostly for landlords with more than 10,000 homes.

The review also includes the results of surveys conducted by the Ombudsman’s Resident Panel and landlords from across the country.

The surveys show an encouraging trend towards promotion of the complaints process, signposting to the Ombudsman and sharing learning from complaints.

Residents also were more likely to believe that complaints would make a difference compared to last year.

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15:17 PM, 17th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Where's the comment from Shelter and Generation Rent?

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