The Housing Ombudsman’s latest ‘Insight’ report, covering October to December 2022, has shown how they are impacting thousands of residents lives across the country, as well as driving up the standard of services by landlords.

Orders and recommendations following investigations made improvements for residents on 1,263 occasions during the quarter, up from 819 in the previous quarter July to September 2022 – a 54% increase.

However, the rate of maladministration has also risen. Full or partial maladministration had been found in 55% of cases this quarter, compared to 43% in the same period last year.

Other key statistics from the report:

  • 8,123 enquiries and complaints were received in this quarter – a 24% increase
  • While property condition remains the top complaint category, it has risen from 41% to 51% of all complaints
  • The second highest complaint category is complaint handling with 13% and third is ASB with 10%

The case studies in this report provide an opportunity to share learning more widely across the sector. They involve landlords operating in the North West and North East of England, as well as the Yorkshire and Humber region.

One case features Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council responding to a complex and challenging complaint after a resident reported multiple repairs and raised concerns about rent arrears. The landlord was able to demonstrate that they had promptly responded to the residents’ concerns to resolve repairs and answer the residents’ arrears enquiry.

Other case studies of good practice include Doncaster Borough Council’s effective inspection process and timely repairs, which meant the resident’s concerns were dealt with appropriately. Another example was Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council who dealt with an ASB case successfully by acting in a proportionate manner and evidencing the decisions they were making.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “We’re seeing the continuation of the surge in complaints we’ve experienced since last year.

“And not only that, we’re now finding more maladministration than before, showing some of the issues we’re uncovering are serious and have needed dealing with for some time.

“This also means we are issuing more orders and recommendations to make residents lives better and improve landlord’s services so that residents do not suffer in the future.

“This Insight report is also full of good practice where we have not upheld the complaints.  These lessons are invaluable for landlords to improve services and prevent complaints.  This includes how effective record keeping practices are integral to effective complaint handling and landlords’ overall service provision.

“We’ll soon be publishing a Spotlight report on Knowledge Information Management, which includes record keeping, and hope the sector takes the learning from that to improve in this key area of complaints.”