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Council slammed for series of failings as a social landlord

The Housing Ombudsman - which assesses problems involving social housing landlords - has found severe maladministration in four cases involving Croydon council, urging it to use these problems as an opportunity to deliver better services.

In Case A the Ombudsman found severe maladministration after the landlord mishandled an upgrade and adaption to the resident’s kitchen and bathroom. It led the resident to believe it would carry out extra works that did not form part of an occupational therapist’s recommendations as long as she paid for these, which she agreed to.

Given that it was aware that she had physical and mental conditions, the landlord failed to take these circumstances into consideration and missed several opportunities to put things right. The landlord’s failure to follow its procedures, its lack of knowledge and its delays in investigating the case effectively negatively affected her day-to-day living.


On top of this, the landlord at one point incorrectly told the resident it would not undertake her adaptations at all. It is clear that the landlord’s lack of knowledge and procedure significantly contributed to these miscommunications. The landlord also failed to provide important evidence by way of emails or call logs and notes of outcome of visits with key people involved, and therefore failed to demonstrate that it handled the upgrade and adaptations requests to the resident’s kitchen and bathroom appropriately.

The Ombudsman ordered the landlord to pay £3,875 in compensation and organise an occupational therapist assessment of the entire property, following up on this with any adaptations that need to be made.


In Case B the Ombudsman found severe maladministration after the landlord failed to adopt a victim-centred approach or respond to the resident’s allegations of anti-social behaviour, including indirect racial harassment.

It failed to support the resident through regular communication and there was no evidence it liaised closely with partner agencies at the earliest opportunity.

Despite numerous reports and the resident stating the impact it was having on her mental health, the landlord failed to undertake a risk assessment and was unsympathetic to her concerns about attending court as a witness. Delays and failings led to severe distress for the resident who, by the end of this investigation, had been complaining of this for nearly five years.

The Ombudsman ordered the landlord to pay the resident £2,900 in compensation, for the housing director to apologise to the resident and for it to conduct a full review of its ASB policy and procedure, with particular focus on the use of the risk assessment matrix and action plans.


In Case C the Ombudsman found severe maladministration for how the landlord handled noise nuisance. The resident reported that this impacted her mental health.

The landlord did not follow its own anti-social behaviour policy during this case, and in particular did not keep the resident informed about the progress of the case until she complained again. This caused unreasonable delay and distress to the resident.

It also took five years to supply any sound recording equipment, and the Ombudsman made an order to ensure this happened.

The Ombudsman ordered the landlord to apologise to the resident, provide her with a device such as sound recording equipment so she can make accurate reports moving forwards and pay £900 in compensation.


In Case D the Ombudsman found severe maladministration for how delays in processing a mutual exchange application and arranging the inspection and repairs caused for the exchanged to be cancelled. This was despite a large amount of chasing by the resident over a period of months. It also meant that the resident was left sleeping on the sofa as her son was using the only bedroom.

The landlord accepted this was a failing on its behalf and the Ombudsman has not seen any evidence of it ever giving urgency to these works despite a 42 day deadline needing to be met. Instead, some of the works were completed two months after the exchange had already been cancelled.

The Ombudsman ordered the landlord to provide a written apology from the Chief Executive, pay £700 in compensation and review its mutual exchange process.

In its learning from this case, the landlord says it has complied with the orders above and has therefore made improvements to its mutual exchange process.


Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway says about this quartet of cases: “The landlord should reflect on these four cases and continue to make significant improvements to its services, building on the orders we made. Complaints act as a mirror to services and its handling fell far below what residents would expect of their landlord. The landlord should use this as a springboard to deliver better services for its residents.

“These cases cover a wide range of landlord responsibilities. Throughout there were opportunities for the landlord to put things right or repair the relationship with the resident, whether that be through communication or action in the form of an inspection or repair. And most of the residents involved had physical or mental health needs that were not fully accounted for by the landlord.”

In a statement, Croydon council says: “We acknowledge that there were significant failures in the way we handled these cases and would like to offer our apologies to these residents for the difficulties they experienced. We have embarked upon a transformation journey which seeks to improve the housing services we offer to our residents. The work carried out by the Housing Ombudsman continues to support us in this journey by highlighting areas for improvement.

We complied with the orders of the Ombudsman for each of the cases and we’ll continue to learn from these to improve our service for customers and mitigate the risk of similar failings recurring.”

It also lists a series of policy reviews and training programmes it is undertaking to address the problems.

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  • icon

    Again social housing landlords treated with kid gloves whilst PRS landlords issued astronomical punitive fines. Why is there a rogue social housing landlord charter or register being petitioned?

    Greenside Close

    Any word from Shelter on this or is their mouth stuffed with government's dosh!


    @ Greenside Close, you mean OUR dosh. The only dosh the government has comes from us, one was or another.

  • Peter Lewis

    A social landlord lets it’s tenant down, it’s poor communication and an administrative error, with maybe a small fine. A Private Landlord lets their tenant down, it’s hang the Bas***d.

  • icon

    “We have embarked on a transformation journey”. That, right there, explains why they got it wrong in those four cases. They don’t have anyone who speaks PLAIN ENGLISH. 😡 As others have said, they have been let off so lightly. I am surprised that they were not just told to write out a hundred times, “We must do better”.

  • icon

    But just look at the kind of low life tenants social housing take on, asking for trouble


    According to the television adverts, they now have their own dedicated firm of bottom feeders,🤬 sorry I mean solicitors. Now they can not ventilate AND get compensation for the black mould that forms.😱 Win, win for them. 🤣

    Greenside Close

    The law is turning good tenants into bad.

    E.g. Would you pay a full price at a supermarket if the board says everything is free?

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    There we have it a couple of quid and no more said about it.

    I want to know who has been fired or given a written warning?? Probably find the housing officer has gone off long term sick with stress for not doing his / her / genger neutral profile job properly..

    Greenside Close

    ..and where is the £10,000s fine and the threat of 10 years in prison?


    "It" is the only gender neutral or neuter case personal pronoun singular that I learned in 17 years of primary, secondary and tertiary education and subsequently 50 odd years of working in the real world.

    No doubt some of the youngsters who spend more time protesting than learning will know better?

  • icon

    No such thing as accountability in Councils or anyone employed by the Government.

    They don’t live in the real World, why should they when they get paid for being incompetent.

  • Greenside Close

    One rule for one!

    Poacher turns gamekeeper.

  • icon

    The irony is that the central government gave these councils the job of overseeing and penalising the Private Rental Sector on the same issues they had been failing with for decades.

  • icon

    Totally incompetent making licensing Schemes for landlords that they can’t do themselves so they lock the Civic Centre doors disconnect the land line sub-let the process to an on-line Company only and their website blockers you. There you have it they have successfully made us totally dysfunctional.
    Don’t know anything about Gender I think they have cancelled that.
    First place singular number hopeless case governed by the verb ugly face.


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