The total number of complaints received by the Housing Ombudsman this year has risen by more than 10%, according to a new report by the organisation
The total number of complaints received by the Housing Ombudsman this year has risen by more than 10%, a new report by the organisation has revealed.
In 2018/19, the ombudsman received 7,623 complaints, up 12% from 6,806 the year previously, according to its annual report for the year. A total of 8,671 enquiries were also received, an increase of 14% from 7,639 the year before.
Individuals can submit enquiries when they would like information, assistance or advice, rather than submitting a formal complaint against a landlord.
Those making enquiries can escalate them to a complaint, or individuals can complain directly without submitting an enquiry.
Of the 2,214 cases the ombudsman issued decisions on in 2018/19, 814 (37%) were determined to involve ‘no maladministration’, meaning no mistake had been made by the landlord.
Maladministration is defined by the Housing Ombudsman as a landlord failing to do something, doing something it shouldn’t have, or in the ombudsman’s opinion has delayed unreasonably.
In comparison, 651 (29%) of the cases were found to involve maladministration, while 180 (8%) involved ‘partial administration’.
The Housing Ombudsman is an independent body set up to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Membership with the scheme is compulsory for social landlords, while a small amount of private landlords are signed up on a voluntary basis.
The report also found that landlords were more likely to report they are satisfied with the ombudsman service, with 99% of landlords surveyed saying they felt they had been treated well during the determination stage – the stage where the Housing Ombudsman takes a decision. This was compared with just 71% of complainants, which can be from tenants or leaseholders.
Responsive repairs is the largest category of the 7,623 complaints received by the ombudsman, with 39% of all complaints relating to repairs. Tenant behaviour (15%) was the second largest reason for complaint and complaints handling (10%) was third.
The government is in the process of choosing a new Housing Ombudsman, with their preferred candidate being London’s former deputy mayor for housing Richard Blakeway.
Interim Housing Ombudsman, Andrea Keenoy said they have made great strides over the year in improving and developing their service, despite a substantial increase in case volumes. They have also succeeded in maintaining positive customer feedback.
Keenoy said their new three-year corporate plan will help them tackle the relentless rises in demand by increasing internal efficiency, but also working with others so that more complaints can be resolved within landlords’ complaints procedures at a local level without the need to come to them.
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