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Leeds City Council (20 012 293)

Category : Environment and regulation > Trees

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 26 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council not cutting back overgrown trees in his garden. Mr X is a Council tenant. His complaint is about the management of his housing, let by the Council acting as a registered social housing provider. So we do not have jurisdiction to investigate the complaint.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council has failed to cut back overgrown trees on the boundary between his and a neighbouring property. He says he has tried to get the trees reduced in height since 2017.
  2. Mr X says the overgrown trees are causing inconvenience to him and other tenants, and causing upset to him because of the delays and the failure to get the trees cut.
  3. Mr X wants the Council to cut the trees to a manageable height so he can maintain them himself.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate complaints about the provision or management of housing let on a long lease by a council acting as a registered social housing provider. (Local Government Act 1974, paragraph 5B, schedule 5, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. As part of my assessment I have:
    • considered the complaint and the documents provided by Mr X;
    • discussed the issues with Mr X;
    • issued a draft decision, inviting Mr X to reply.

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What I found

  1. Mr X says he initially approached his landlord, the Council, in 2017 to ask for the trees to be reduced in height. His request was referred to the Council’s Forestry Department which determined the work was not urgent. Officers scheduled the work but they say it has been delayed by more urgent tree work coming in, particularly after severe weather events.
  2. I do not consider we have jurisdiction to investigate Mr X’s complaint. I say this because we cannot investigate complaints about the management of housing let on long leases by councils acting as the complainant’s landlord. Mr X is a Council tenant and his complaint is about the Council in the role of his landlord, failing to maintain an aspect of the property. Maintenance is a housing management issue.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because:
    • the complaint is about the Council acting as Mr X’s landlord regarding the maintenance of the property; and
    • we cannot investigate complaints about the management of housing let on a long lease by a council acting as a registered social housing provider.

As a result, the complaint is outside our jurisdiction.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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