A mother-of-three has been granted a £5,000 payout after enduring deplorable conditions in a Manchester council home plagued by damp, mould, and unresolved leaks.
The family’s struggle sheds light on a series of housing failures and a prolonged period of distress.
Uninhabitable Living Conditions:
The family, consisting of four members, moved into a four-bedroom property in Wythenshaw provided by Manchester City Council, fully aware of existing issues, including a rotten kitchen floor and damp in multiple rooms.
Despite nine requests for repairs, the housing provider failed to address these problems, leaving the family grappling with an uninhabitable living environment.
Ombudsman’s Critical Findings:
The Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, delivered scathing criticism, citing widespread, multiple, and serious failings in the case.
These included extensive delays, incompetence in inspections, poor-quality works, and insufficient coordination and oversight.
The combined shortcomings left the family essentially homeless due to an inhabitable home, with repairs taking an astonishing 67 weeks to fix a roof leak.
Failures in Complaint Handling:
In addition to the housing failures, the Ombudsman highlighted deficiencies in complaint handling.
The landlord’s response was hindered by its treatment of the resident’s pre-action letter, suspending repairs instead of resolving the complaint.
The six-month delay in providing a complaint response denied the resident’s right to have her concerns heard, revealing a lack of learning from the outcomes of the case.
Safety and Wellbeing Concerns:
The family faced immediate concerns, with mould on the walls and unsafe conditions such as an insecure garden path leading to a child tripping and suffering a cut lip.
The housing provider neglected to investigate the underlying causes of damp and mould, displaying a disregard for the family’s wellbeing and safety.
Self-Initiated Repairs and Financial Burden:
Facing incomplete repairs, including flooring in crucial areas, the mother felt compelled to undertake fixes herself, incurring significant costs.
Despite being fully aware of the situation, the landlord did not reimburse her. The financial burden further exacerbated the family’s distress.
Council’s Response and Reimbursement:
The council was ordered to calculate the costs of the self-initiated repairs and reimburse the family.
A detailed review was mandated to prevent future failures.
The council claims to have completed all repairs and added additional insulation, addressing the issues raised by the resident.
This case underscores the importance of stringent oversight and timely responses in housing management.
The £5,000 payout reflects the severity of the family’s ordeal and the need for comprehensive reforms to prevent similar failures in the future.
The council’s commitment to improvement is crucial in restoring trust and ensuring the well-being of its residents.