Social housing landlords slammed for not complying with complaint orders

Social housing landlords slammed for not complying with complaint orders

10:49 AM, 7th March 2023, About A year ago

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The Housing Ombudsman says that a quarter of the complaint handling failure orders (CHFOs) issued in the last three months to social housing landlords were not complied with.

The Ombudsman says it issued 38 failure orders, including the most orders yet for failing to fulfil membership obligations.

There were 38 CHFOs issued to 28 different landlords, a drop from 45 orders issued in the previous quarter.

Of these, 21 were issued to housing associations, 14 to local authorities and three to co-operatives.

‘It is disappointing for six landlords not to comply’

Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, said: “I recognise the pressures that complaint handling teams are under, yet it is disappointing for six landlords not to comply with these orders and three landlords to receive orders for failing to meet obligations under the Scheme.

“During challenging times, complaints matter even more and should be used as a tool to effectively respond to the issues the organisation faces.

“Good complaint handling should not be something marginalised because of other pressures.”

He added: “It is important for landlords who have received one of these orders to consider what steps they should take to strengthen their complaint handling procedures.

“This includes ensuring the complaints team has the resources and cooperation within the organisation to get issues resolved, without the intervention of the Ombudsman.”

Landlords that received the most orders

The landlords that received the most orders were Haringey Council with four orders and Hyde Housing had three orders.

Wandle Housing Association, Barking and Dagenham Council, Lewisham Council, A2Dominion Group, and Hexagon Housing Association each received two orders.

Most of the orders were issued while complaints were still within the landlord’s complaints procedure due to unreasonable delays in accepting or progressing a complaint through its process.

The Ombudsman says it issued three complaint handling failure orders where a landlord failed to comply with its membership obligations – the highest since the orders were introduced.

The landlords receiving this order were Charnwood Borough Council, Argyle Street Housing Cooperative, as well as Haringey Council for failing to comply with the three orders to provide information to the Ombudsman.

Haringey Council did not comply with any of the four orders issued

In 10 orders the landlord was non-compliant and Haringey Council did not comply with any of the four orders issued by the Ombudsman during the quarter.

The landlord is now subject to a separate wider investigation by the Ombudsman following concerns in its casework about leaks, damp and mould.

The Ombudsman says that the purpose of complaint handling failure orders is to ensure that a landlord’s complaint handling process is accessible, consistent and enables the timely progression of complaints for residents, as set out in its Complaint Handling Code.

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