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Housing Ombudsman publishes special report on Catalyst Housing

The Housing Ombudsman has published a special report on Catalyst Housing, after concerns about its complaint handling and aftercare for newbuilds.

The report is based on complaints initially made to the landlord in 2020/21 and that were brought to the Ombudsman for investigation over a six-month period from 13 May 2022. The Ombudsman made 31 findings across these 13 cases with a maladministration rate of 90%.

The Ombudsman has made recommendations to Catalyst across seven themes:

  • Informal complaints
  • Quality assurance
  • Complaint handling
  • Compensation
  • Repair records
  • Aftercare for new builds and

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said that the investigations “found the landlord routinely failed to recognise formal complaints and treat them as such. This caused unacceptable delay in dealing with issues and subjected residents to ongoing distress and inconvenience.  This could be compounded by poor internal communication, with one resident waiting 40 months for defects to be addressed, including stopping the water coming into the property.  Where compensation was offered, payments were haphazard rather than based on an investigation, and too often failing to take into account the effect on the resident.  Ultimately, a lack of defined quality standards means the landlord is stymied in trying to monitor and assess whether it is handling complaints well and appropriately”.