Annual Report: Lost keys, delayed repairs and an expired gas safety check

Published on Friday, 09 June 2017. Posted in Case Studies

This dispute focused on the actions of an agent who had evaded the truth concerning a lost set of management keys, and had prolonged a maintenance issue. TPO’s investigation unearthed the truth and found the agent had failed to deal with the complaint or advise the complainant that the matter could be referred to TPO for independent review. 

In this case, the complainant was a tenant who was dissatisfied with the agent's response to maintenance reports and the handling of the gas safety check.

With regard to the gas safety check, the agent had persistently insisted that the complainant must be present to allow access to the contractor. He refused, being unable to get the time off work. As such, the gas safety certificate expired at which point that agent told the tenant that he could not use any of the gas appliances.

On investigation, it was noted that the agent, instructed to provide a full management service, had always arranged the gas safety check without requiring the Tenant, a busy A&E doctor, to facilitate access.  However, the branch file evidenced that the agent had lost their management keys.  Instead of addressing, or even acknowledging, this problem, the agent had instead merely focused on the tenant’s obligation to provide access.

The agent had taken a similarly belligerent tone when the complainant reported a lack of hot water, insisting that a contractor had already attended and left the boiler in working order, when this was not the case.

The review found that the agent had prolonged the issue and aggravated the complainant further by continuing to argue.   When the tenant had complained about these matters, the agent had failed to deal with the complaint or advise that he could refer the matter to the Ombudsman; this had caused further aggravation and delays.

The Ombudsman supported the complaint and made an award of £350 for the aggravation caused by the agent by failing to deal with these matters in accordance with the obligations set out in the TPO Code of Practice.