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Lambeth rebuked by Ombudsman for taking years to fix tenant’s window

The Housing Ombudsman has found Lambeth council guilty of “severe maladministration” over lengthy delays in repairing a window that has left a resident with boarded up bedroom windows since June 2019. 

The local authority initially made temporary window repairs with wooden boards after two panels fell out of their frames from the bedroom windows in the resident’s fifth floor flat on to the ground below.  

The resident immediately reported it and made a formal complaint eight months later when the window had still not been replaced. 

The delay left the resident with no choice but to live in a flat with a boarded bedroom window that let in rain and a cold draught which she said was intolerable in the autumn and winter months.  

Months later Lambeth council apologised and confirmed a window replacement would be fitted but did not give any timescale for the repairs. 

The Ombudsman’s investigation criticised Lambeth council for poor record keeping, the failure to include timescales for repairs and to adequately explain why there has been a delay of more than a year for the repair to take place. 

This comes as a report for Lambeth council’s corporate committee this week revealed there is currently a backlog of 1,017 housing complaints cases from residents that are overdue a response.  

Councillor Matthew Bryant, deputy leader of the Lib Dem council group, who sits on Lambeth’s corporate committee, said: “It is beyond belief that it can take over a year to replace a broken window, leaving residents living in such appalling conditions for so long. 

“This isn’t an isolated case at all. Since being elected in May, it has become clear to me just how bad an experience social housing tenants and leaseholders in Lambeth are facing. 

“As local councillors we have residents coming to us all the time to chase up on the status of housing repairs. There are cases we raised in May that still haven’t been fully resolved six months on.” 

The council has been ordered to pay £250 to the tenant for “distress and inconvenience.”

Lambeth council have been approached for comment.

Picture: Lambeth town hall (Picture: Wikimedia Commons / Reading Tom)

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