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Housing Ombudsman publishes severe maladministration finding for Catalyst Housing

The Housing Ombudsman has published a severe maladministration finding for Catalyst Housing, due to failings in handling a complaint from shared owners about cold and draughty rooms and other defects in their new build house.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found:

  • severe maladministration for the handling of the complaint
  • maladministration for the handling of the resident’s reports of cold and draughty rooms
  • maladministration for the handling of reports of other defects and
  • regarding the issues raised around complaint handling, there is presenting evidence of service failure that may be indicative of a systemic failing.

The Ombudsman ordered Catalyst to:

  • pay total compensation of £1,650 and
  • review the failings in complaint handling identified in this case, including why the complaint was not investigated or responded to in an acceptable way.

The Ombudsman also recommended that Catalyst should review its record keeping practices in relation to the logging and remedying of defects in new build properties.

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “This case raised serious concerns about the landlord’s complaint handling. Taken altogether the landlord missed opportunities to address the wider aspects of the resident’s complaint, show empathy and possibly improve the landlord/resident relationship. The landlord also delayed in sending its complaint responses, not meeting the timeframes set out in its complaints procedure at each stage.  Landlords must ensure they meet the standards set out in the Code, which aims to support a positive complaint handling culture and enable landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly”.