National Ombudsmen
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Lambeth Council criticised for “very poor service” on housing repair

Three Lambeth Council tenants experienced significant delays and inconvenience because of delay in putting right serious disrepair in their homes.

Three Lambeth Council tenants experienced significant delays and inconvenience because of delay in putting right serious disrepair in their homes, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, issued today, she says the tenants have received a very poor service since they raised their concerns, and added. “Even when some delay was unavoidable, there have been problems with the Council’s communication with all three tenants.”

Three tenants complained about the Council’s failure to put right serious disrepair in their homes – such as ceiling and other leaks, and windows needing repair – within a reasonable period, together with poor service and communication. This has caused them stress, inconvenience and frustration.

The Ombudsman said: “The Council has a duty to keep the structure and exterior of its homes in repair. Although the Council has shown a willingness to carry out repairs and to carry out additional work which it has no obligation to do, the work required has not been completed within a reasonable time period. I consider that the Council has taken too long to resolve the issues raised in this case and that this delay was maladministration and service failure which has caused injustice to the complainants.”

The Council recognises that there have been shortcomings in all three cases and has taken a number of measures with the aim of improving its service in the future. Nevertheless, in the Ombudsman’s view, the steps taken to date do not satisfactorily remedy the injustice suffered by all three tenants.

The Ombudsman said the Council should apologise and pay compensation of £1,000 each to two tenants, and £500 to the third, as well as completing the outstanding works.

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