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Housing Ombudsman publishes severe maladministration finding for Orbit Group

The Housing Ombudsman has published a severe maladministration finding for Orbit Group, due to its handling of reports of damp and mould leading to multiple failures to complete repairs over two years. It left a resident living in an unsuitable property with damp, mould and a slug infestation for an extended period, which the resident said had a detrimental impact on her and her son’s health.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found:

  • severe maladministration in respect of Orbit’s handling of reports of damp and mould at the property and
  • maladministration in respect of its communication and complaint handling.

The Ombudsman ordered Orbit to:

  • apologise to the resident for the failings
  • pay total compensation to the resident of £5,000
  • complete required works at the property within three months of the date of the Ombudsman’s report, or else find a long term solution for the resident, by sourcing alternative accommodation and
  • complete a review, at senior level, of the case.

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “It is concerning that the landlord referred to lifestyle issues as the cause of damp and mould, despite the history of failed works and its subsequent position that the property required disposal.  The landlord’s assessment of the condition of the property was confusing and contradictory. This raises questions about the landlord’s record keeping, communication and decision making”.