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Council slammed for “severe maladministration” over damp and mould

The Housing Ombudsman - a service which deals with social housing - says it’s found severe maladministration in how Leeds council dealt with a water leak, leaving a resident without a repair and living with damp for over two years.

When the resident first reported the leak, the council - which was of course the tenant’s landlord - said it would replace the extractor fan in the bathroom and make multiple repairs to the kitchen, including new worktops and replacement cupboards. 

While the measuring up work took place, there was no indication of any other visits, and the resident contacted the landlord six months later to ask for an update.


Internal emails show the landlord did not action the major repairs, and therefore no quick action was taken. Two months after, when contractors did arrive, they were only tasked with removing units and fitting thermal boarding, which the resident refused as he didn’t believe it would fix all the issues.

The resident subsequently reported tiles peeling off the walls and floor, to which the landlord conducted an inspection of the property, but took a further month to do so.

The inspection found many of the problems from the initial complaint were still unresolved. While the landlord notes that the repairs were then completed following this inspection, they do not appear in any of the landlords’ repairs records and the resident later told the Ombudsman that several jobs were outstanding.

The Ombudsman’s report says: “We contacted the landlord to ask for the remaining repairs to be completed, but after a ‘no access’ report from the contactor, it took a further eight months for the landlord to be in contact with the resident about the repairs. While the landlord highlighted the impact of the impact of Covid-19 on its repairs service, the investigation found this did not account for the very long delays and seemingly poor management of the repairs.”

The Ombudsman ordered the landlord to pay the resident £1,000 in compensation, start staff training on complaint handling, and carry out a review of this case for future learning. Lessons identified by the landlord included introducing a new tracking system on repairs and creating a dedicated damp and mould team.

Leeds council has apologised to the customer for the delay in completing the outstanding repairs and the time taken to resolve the complaint, adding that: “On this occasion, the service that we offered fell below the standard that our customers should expect. We continue to review lessons learnt from all our complaints.”

It says that as a result of this case, it has given our ‘out of hours’ staff mobile devices allowing them to see what work is outstanding and ensure information isn’t lost, provided additional training and guidance to officers handling complaints, and introduced a new process to track repair work. 

It adds that is has set up a new Damp and Mould team that tenants can contact directly. “This makes sure that damp and mould reports are recorded and responded to quickly, and that tenants are kept updated.”

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  • icon

    Normal for social housing landlords, and yet we the private landlords are the rogues ?

  • icon

    Were the repairs ever completed?

  • George Dawes

    And they claim social housing is often superior ...



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