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Housing Ombudsman publishes complaint handing failure orders report for January to March 2022

In July 2020 the Housing Ombudsman published its new Complaint Handling Code.  Under the terms of the Code, where a landlord which is a member of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme fails to comply with the conditions of membership, the Ombudsman may determine that there has been a complaint handling failure and order the failure to be rectified within a given timescale.

The Code also commits the Ombudsman to publishing the total number of complaint handling failure orders issued, the names of the landlords and the reasons for the orders.  The Ombudsman has published its fourth such report covering the period from January to March 2022.

During the quarter the Ombudsman issued 32 complaint failure orders, an increase from 19 in the previous quarter, and the highest number in any quarter so far, with 11 cases of non-compliance.  Over the course of the year to 31 March 2022, landlords complied with the orders in 81 cases and there were 20 cases of non-compliance.

The order types were issued:

  • Due to unreasonable delays in the landlord accepting or progressing a complaint through its process
  • Due to unreasonable delays in the landlord providing information requested by the Ombudsman or
  • Where a landlord failed to comply with its membership obligations.

The Ombudsman is formally investigating failures in respect of:

  • Lewisham Council
  • Clarion HA and
  • Riverside HA.

In launching the report, Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said “The number of complaint handling failure orders issued in this quarter and the high rate of non-compliance is concerning. Across the first full year of issuing the orders, it is disappointing to see that some landlords appear in most reports, some several times” and that “leadership [in landlords] needs to focus on learning and redress, not on being defensive when things go wrong”.