Neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Wales & West Housing Association
Mr Y complained that Wales & West Housing Association failed to appropriately investigate his complaints of Anti-Social Behaviour (“ASB”) against his neighbour, another tenant of the Association (“Mr X”), between June 2018 and May 2020.
The Ombudsman found that there was no evidence of any formal or informal complaints from Mr Y against Mr X between June 2018 and January 2020. However he found that there were shortcomings in the Association’s handling of Mr Y’s ASB complaints between January and May 2020, namely poor communication (including failure to respond to an ASB concern made by Mr Y by text) and failure to keep Mr Y informed of action the Association was taking in response to his complaints. These were contrary to the requirements of its ASB Policy. The Ombudsman was unable to evaluate the Association’s actions against its ASB Procedure (there was no documented procedure at the time – the Association said it used a different kind of guidance for staff) which inhibited the Ombudsman’s ability to determine whether it appropriately investigated Mr Y’s ASB complaints. The Ombudsman also found that despite being aware of the extent of the impact of the events on Mr Y’s mental health, it did not update his records, or ask Mr Y what his needs were, and whether he required reasonable adjustments. These shortcomings amounted to maladministration which caused Mr Y an injustice.
The Association agreed to apologise to Mr Y, and provide a redress payment for the distress caused by the way it handled Mr Y’s complaint. It also agreed to prepare and publish an ASB procedure, review its ASB Policy, and arrange training for relevant staff in relation to the ASB procedure.