Government Promises Robust Action Against Bad Landlords After Record Complaints

or call Legal HD on 0161 974 7350

Black mould claims

Government Promises Robust Action Against Bad Landlords After Record Complaints

or call Legal HD on 0161 974 7350

The Government has promised to drive up standards across the social housing sector and enforce the requirements of Awaab’s Law, after the Housing Ombudsman Service reported a record high in ‘escalated complaints’ against landlords over the course of 2023. The figures showed that social housing tenants had made 5109 escalated complaints in the year from October 2022 to October 2023. Cases of ‘severe maladministration’ had also increased from 31 to 131 across the UK, representing a “sobering overview” for the industry and a clear indication that housing disrepair complaints are not being suitably dealt with.

Severe maladministration is the term used to describe cases where there have been excessive delays in taking action, or there has been no consideration given to the vulnerabilities of the tenants in question. The figures also showed that there was a fundamental gap between the service being provided by social housing landlords and the basic expectations of tenants. It was reported that this was particularly the case with people suffering from disabilities or mental health issues.

The findings come in the light of the introduction of ‘Awaab’s Law’, which was a landmark amendment to the Social Housing Act requiring landlords to fix reported hazards in social housing situations in a “timely fashion”, or make moves to help re-house the tenants. This followed the high profile case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition after prolonged exposure to mould in the social housing he was living in.

Awaab’s Law helping to drive-up standards

Housing Secretary Michael Gove stated that the Government’s introduction of Awaab’s Law was in response to the falling standards of landlords within the social housing sector, and he also claimed that amendments to the Social Housing Regulation Act would help “…tenants to feel empowered to stand up to bad landlords and report issues.” He wanted the toughened regulations to drive up standards across the industry and that the Government “will not hesitate to take robust action” if landlords continued to let down tenants.

According to the Housing Ombudsman Service’s figures, the leading cause of the rise in complaint figures was “property condition”, which led to 37% of complaints, while the manner in which complaints were handled was the second most popular cause. The ombudsman admits the rise in complaints is mainly due to poor conditions, but also cites the media attention caused by issues such as Awaab Ishak’s death, which has encouraged more people to report ongoing repair issues in social housing.

An ombudsman spokesperson admitted the figures were a “unique and sobering overview” of the poor practices ongoing in the social housing sector, but they claimed that housing shortages and the cost-of-living crises were contributory factors. 62% of the maladministration cases were filed against local authority housing landlords, and the ombudsman defended council housing chiefs by claiming they had less resources and were under severe financial constraints. But the spokesperson also admitted that too often “basic” tasks were not being completed, such as communications and record-keeping, which was leading to residents being treated unfairly and ultimately experiencing a financial detriment.

Contact Legal HD if you have a housing disrepair claim against your landlord

Maladministration is defined as a formal decision taken by an ombudsman in cases where a landlord has failed to act upon a housing condition or repair issue when it has been reported, has carried out the incorrect course of action or has unreasonably delayed any course of action. If you are a tenant in social housing via a local authority or housing association and you have reported an issue to your landlord that fits into any of these categories, then you can contact Legal HD to take on your case.

In support of the Government’s response, Legal HD can help you to feel empowered if you have been let down by your landlord. We can assess your claim and progress it through the legal system to ensure you are suitably compensated for your discomfort, poor health and financial loss. So let Legal HD help you drive up standards in the social housing sector by making a housing disrepair claim, to ensure that landlords start to make better and more timely responses to housing disrepair complaints.

Andrew Dow - Legal HD Co-Founder
Peter Hartley - Legal HD Co-Founder

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