Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council (15 016 278)

Category : Housing > Private housing

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 11 Feb 2016

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Ms Y complains the Council failed to ensure the landlord at her previous property carried out repairs. The Ombudsman will not investigate as the complaint is made late and there are no good reasons to investigate now.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall refer to as Ms Y, complains the Council failed to ensure the landlord at her previous property carried out repairs.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate late complaints unless she decides there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to the Ombudsman about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information Ms Y provided about her complaint.

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What I found

  1. In February 2014, the Council carried out a Housing Health and Safety Rating Inspection (HHSRS) at Ms Y’s rented property which identified issues with damp and water ingress. The Council wrote to the landlord listing the issues which required attention and that he must contact the Council within 28 days to confirm how he intended to progress the works.
  2. Ms Y complains the landlord did not carry out the repairs and that the Council took no action against the landlord.
  3. A different officer at the Council carried out a further inspection in October 2014. That officer found issues with damp again though he did not consider the situation was so severe as to warrant further action by the Council.
  4. Ms Y does not consider this inspection was carried out properly and remains of the view that the Council failed to take action against the landlord when he did not respond to the letter in February 2014.
  5. Ms Y says the conditions at the property affected her health and her son’s. Ms Y moved out in March 2015. Ms Y complains about the Council’s delay and inaction.

Analysis

  1. Ms Y knew about the alleged Council inaction after the inspection in February 2014 and at the latest after the October 2014 inspection. Ms Y has therefore known about this problem for more than 12 months before complaining to the Ombudsman. The complaint is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s remit and I have seen no good reasons to investigate now. Even if the Ombudsman did investigate, it is difficult to see what she could achieve for Ms Y now that she has moved out of the property.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms Y’s complaint as it is made late and there are no good reasons to investigate now.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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