The Housing Ombudsman has published a report this week looking into how landlords deal with complaints about cladding, to ensure that the impact on all residents is recognised. The report focuses on where the Ombudsman Service has received most complaints – the response of social landlords to leaseholders and share owners seeking to re-mortgage, staircase or sell.
While social landlords have prioritised their remedial programmes based on the fire risk to residents, the concern of the Housing Ombudsman is that residents’ individual circumstances are sometimes at risk of being lost because of the scale of the challenge facing landlords. The report provides important lessons and practical recommendations that are within landlords’ control. The three key actions in the report are for landlords to:
- provide a clear road map on inspections, with timescales, that adequately considers the broader implications for all residents, especially those living in buildings below 18 metres.
- communicate effectively with residents, ensuring the strategy is robust, well-resourced and proactive.
- address residents’ individual circumstances, exercising discretion where appropriate as with other complaints.
The purpose of this report is to extend the Housing Ombudsman’s recommendations further, to the benefit of far more residents. Every regulated landlord whose residents are affected should consider the actions in the report. The Housing Ombudsman also urges senior leaders to discuss their recommendations at their governing body and share their response with their residents.
Further details and a copy of the Housing Ombudsman report can be accessed here.