Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 31 Jan 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Mr X complained about the Council serving an improvement notice on a property which he says was managed by another party. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because it was reasonable for Mr X to appeal the notice to the Residential Property Tribunal.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains about the Council serving him with a housing improvement notice when he says the property is the responsibility of a management agency. He wants the Council to cancel the notice and a £520 penalty and pay him compensation.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a tribunal. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered all the information which Mr X submitted with his complaint. I have also considered the Council’s response and Mr X has commented on the draft decision.
What I found
- The Council served a housing improvement notice on Mr X and a management company for having Category 1 hazards which were detrimental to the health of the tenant. Mr X says he changed management companies and that the previous company was notified by the Council. The Council told him that the previous company was still registered as responsible for council tax and it had received no updates from him about ownership changes.
- Because of the unaddressed disrepair the Council served a penalty notice of £520. It told Mr X that if he disputes ownership of the property and the notice he could appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.
- The Ombudsman does not normally investigate where there is a right of appeal to an independent tribunal.
- The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because it was reasonable for Mr X to appeal the notice to the Residential Property Tribunal.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman