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Housing Ombudsman publishes severe maladministration finding for Birmingham City Council

The Housing Ombudsman has published a severe maladministration finding for Birmingham City Council, due to its handling of a disrepair claim, with the council failing on multiple occasions to take action when prompted by the resident and the local MP.

In the latest case the Ombudsman’s investigation found:

  • severe maladministration by Birmingham in respect of its response to the resident’s reports of disrepair at her property and
  • maladministration in respect of its poor record keeping.

The Ombudsman ordered Birmingham to:

  • pay total compensation to the resident of £1,050
  • provide the resident with an update following its recent inspection and, should any works be required, provide a timeframe for the works to be completed
  • review its current procedures or otherwise introduce guidance for instances where its contractors report that a resident’s behaviour has impacted the provision of any service and
  • review its current record keeping procedures and ensure that its repair records include detailed information in instances where repairs are suspended or withdrawn.

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “The number of failings in this case regarding poor communication, failing to provide services, and failing to follow up on promised actions would have caused significant distress for the resident.  Every landlord has a duty to meet its repair obligations. Should it leave repairs incomplete, it should have a clear and robust policy in order to make structured and reasoned decisions not to carry out repairs.  In this case, it is not evident that the landlord has any such policies, or that any risk assessment took place when it decided to withdraw its services and leave the works incomplete.  This decision reflects a wider pattern of poor performance by the landlord. This includes a high level of failure when dealing with resident concerns and recent orders made by us to progress cases in line with our complaint standards”.

Mr Blakeway also confirmed that he will shortly publish the outcome of a wider investigation into Birmingham, following a review of several cases promoted by serious concerns about the landlord’s approach to complaint handling and compensation.