The Housing Ombudsman has found multiple failures from the largest housing association in the UK, Clarion.
Clarion showed “evidence indicative of wider service failures” in areas including damp and mould, pest control and complaint handling, in a report published this morning.
The HO said when it came to mould, Clarion “did not have a sufficiently robust and detailed policy in place” and the issue persisted in “several local authority areas”.
It accused Clarion, which manages 125,0000 properties in 170 local authorities, of a failure to properly diagnose the cause of damp and mould, poor communication with residents, and a lack of updates on inspections and actions.
This comes after Clarion was investigated, initiated by a case with “severe maladministration”, with the report comprised of a review of 13 investigations.
It found that in three-quarters of the findings. there were “service failure or maladministration, including five findings of severe maladministration, and there were five findings of reasonable redress or no maladministration.”
It identified five key issues with recommendations, including damp and mould, pest control, complaint handling, compensation and record keeping.
“Over the course of the last few months we have been issuing individual decisions with orders and those orders, along with Clarion’s own work, seek to address the issues set out in the report”, Richard Blakeway of the Housing Ombudsman, said.
“This investigation has brought a focus to the key weaknesses we identified and makes recommendations for the landlord to further learn and improve.”
“The fact remains that residents had to raise formal complaints to prompt action from the landlord and the complaint handling was then often slow and ineffective, adding to their dissatisfaction.
Clarion admitted that in the 13 cases covered in the report, it had “not provided the quality of service we aim to, or that our residents deserve.”
“We have learnt from these cases and in every instance, we have made changes to our approach so that we reduce the chance of a similar issue arising.”
Saying “we collaborated fully with the Ombudsman” it added it has “invested in new equipment to tackle the damp and mould problem, while it has “taken advantage of new technology” to support data management.