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Housing Ombudsman publishes ‘spotlight report’ on leasehold, shared ownership and new builds

September 2020

On 7th September 2020, the Housing Ombudsman published ‘A new lease of life Spotlight on leasehold, shared ownership and new builds: complexity and complaint handling’.

The report brings together insight from handling almost 2,000 complaints received from leaseholders and shared owners during the last two years. This includes more than 800 formal investigations of social landlords.

Out of all the issues raised, the report highlights complaint handling itself being the area of most consistent concern where maladministration was found in 72% of cases. Within this, the key issues identified were difficulties getting through the complaints procedure, delays, and periods of inaction.

The report also provides learning points on complaint handling plus three other areas where maladministration or partial maladministration are found most often. They are repairs, estate management, and charges.

For the first time in a report, the Ombudsman has named the social landlords most found at fault in its investigations of leaseholder cases. The report identifies 12 landlords (six housing associations and six councils) with the highest number of maladministration findings (including partial maladministration and severe maladministration).

The report makes a series of recommendations covering:

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “The continued growth of home ownership through social landlords makes it timely to publish this report providing learning that is relevant throughout organisations. It is sometimes overlooked that we deal with cases brought by homeowners whose lease is with a member of our Scheme. Around one in five of our decisions follows a complaint from a leaseholder or shared owner. The lessons drawn from the cases are practical and common sense, covering different aspects of the customer’s journey, from initial purchase to staircasing, estate works and service charges. In particular we would encourage sector collaboration to find solutions to some common issues.”

Read the full version of the report here

LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.