Housing Ombudsman sees 91% increase in complaints

Housing Ombudsman
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The Housing Ombudsman expects to double the number of investigations completed following another record year of complaints in social housing.

The independent body recorded a 91% increase in cases in the first nine months of 2023-24, compared with the same period the previous year.

The maladministration rate rose from 59% to 72% and compensation awarded by Q3 totalled £3.7m, compared with £1.1m for the whole of 2022-23.

The Housing Ombudsman said 2024-25 “is likely to be a difficult year for social landlords” and that it expects demand to continue to increase by between 50% and 80%, compared with the current year.

A difficult year ahead

To meet this increasing demand, the Ombudsman has launched a consultation, open until 5 April, on its business plan for 2024-25.

It is using this consultation to gather views on what learning tools it can provide to support landlords in improving their complaint handling and to test support for changes to the fee regime to incentivise better complaint handling. 

Housing ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “With an ever-increasing volume of complaints, we are using this business plan to look at how we can drive more learning and improvements in complaint handling.  

“This would help landlords resolve more complaints within their own complaint processes – providing residents with earlier resolution and improving relationships between landlord and resident. With a range of new statutory powers this year, we are considering how we use these to improve landlords’ services and culture.”

Last year, parliament passed new regulations to improve standards in social housing. The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 granted the Housing Ombudsman additional powers to publish best practice guidance to landlords following investigations and a closer working relationship with the Regulator of Social Housing.

Blakeway added: “Our focus on learning and helping landlords access the tools they need to handle complaints more effectively will help all landlords – and in particular those where a significant proportion of residents are coming to us – through what is likely to be a difficult year.”

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