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Housing Ombudsman publishes severe maladministration finding for Westminster City Council

The Housing Ombudsman has published a severe maladministration finding for Westminster City Council, after it failed to tackle damp and mould in a resident’s home for over two years, despite knowing that there was a four month old living there when the problem was first reported.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found:

  • severe maladministration in respect of Westminster’s response to the resident’s reports of damp and mould at her property and
  • maladministration in respect of its handling of the associated complaint.

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “There were excessive delays in the landlord progressing the works to remedy the rising damp that cannot be fully justified by issues with access.  The landlord failed to evidence that it had taken into account the individual circumstances of the resident either in respect of its handling of the repairs or in its decision to refuse to decant the resident and her son.  The landlord also failed to recognise, given the age of the resident’s son, the risk of detrimental impact on his health and well-being.  After the tragic case of Awaab Ishak, there is a need for landlords to ensure they know their residents and understand the individual circumstances in order to deal appropriately with any issues”.