Metropolitan works on repairs service after Ombudsman report

Association on the job having been caught out over non-compliance.

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Caught out over non-compliance, Metropolitan has work to do on its repairs, with maintenance ordered by the Housing Ombudsman still outstanding six months on.

But with the point hammered home – Metropolitan’s on the job.

The Housing Ombudsman has published a special report concerning non-compliance with one of its orders issued to Metropolitan.

It follows the Ombudsman’s investigation of a complaint from a Metropolitan resident about cyclical maintenance not being carried out and how the landlord had handled that complaint.

The Ombudsman found maladministration and made a number of orders to put things right, including completing the cyclical maintenance works.

Some elements of the works remained outstanding six months after the timeframe specified by the Ombudsman with no date provided to residents on when these would be started.

Interim Housing Ombudsman Andrea Keenoy said: “It is important that residents have confidence in our service so, in those rare situations where a landlord does not comply with our orders, we must make sure they are held accountable for that non-compliance.

“Following a meeting with Metropolitan, I am pleased to report that they responded positively by providing confirmation that the works were underway and carrying out a wider review to learn from the outcomes.

She added: “Overall, we have high levels of compliance with our orders. We will continue to monitor the situation with Metropolitan to ensure that progress is made and the works are completed to schedule.”

The complainant claimed Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing had not carried out cyclical maintenance at a resident’s home or responded to the formal complaint in a timely manner in accordance with its complaints policy.

It was November 2017 when the Ombudsman issued a determination of maladministration in relation to the handling of the maintenance and the formal complaint.

The Ombudsman made a number of orders to put things right, including providing better information to the resident and payment of compensation for the complaint-handling failures.

As part of these, Metropolitan was ordered to provide a date by when the cyclical maintenance works were to be completed, and this was to be no later than 1st April, 2018.

The landlord complied with the majority of the Ombudsman’s orders but did not complete the cyclical works within the required timeframe.

By October 2018 some elements of the works remained outstanding, with no date provided to residents as to when these would be started.

The Ombudsman met with Metropolitan that month to address its non-compliance with the order to complete the cyclical works.

Metropolitan offered explanations for the delay in completing the works related to procurement and personnel difficulties, and it accepted there had been internal and external communication failures.

With confirmation that the works were underway, Metropolitan provided a copy of the learning review it had undertaken, which identified actions to improve its overall service delivery and its communication, both between departments and with residents.

Offering additional compensation, Metropolitan acknowledged that its non-compliance with the order had caused further distress and inconvenience to the individual complainant and to the other residents in the block affected.

Following further investigation into the level of works required, Metropolitan subsequently agreed to cover the full costs of the works.

The report says the Ombudsman was “satisfied” that the non-compliance was being appropriately addressed, both through the actions to put things right in relation to the complaint, and the wider review to learn from outcomes.

But the Ombudsman will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that “reasonable progress” is made and the works are completed by the landlord’s revised target date of early April this year.

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