Housing Compensation Policy
Kingston Upon Thames Council is committed to excellent customer service however we recognise that sometimes things may go wrong.
The policy outlines the course of action and criteria required in such circumstances and where we will consider Reimbursement or Compensation for service Failures. The policy also details the mandatory payments we make, such as Home Loss payments.
It should be noted that any discretionary offers of Compensation are made without prejudice and as a good will gesture and does not signify the acceptance of legal responsibility or liability on the part of Kingston Upon Thames Council. Therefore all such payments made under this policy will be issued as full and final settlement for the complaint.
If services fail or fall below acceptable standards then we follow the Housing Ombudsman/Local Government Ombudsman remedies. We will try to put the matter right and say sorry to the customer and try to ensure that problems are resolved quickly and efficiently and we will always try to resolve the problem before the need for compensation arises. Where financial payments are appropriate, they are proportionate to the loss or inconvenience caused, and all customers are treated in a fair and equitable way
This Policy applies to all current and former tenants, leaseholders, and customers of RBK’s Housing Service except where specified.
Complaints which are unable to be resolved relating to the Community Housing team are dealt with by the Local Government Ombudsman and complaints relating to Housing Landlord services are dealt with by the Independent Housing Ombudsman.
Links to other policies
On the Council website you can find the policies & information which link to this policy. You can find these online under housing policies. These provide more detail and additional guidance on various housing topics.
Types of Housing Compensation paid by RBK
Please note that in most cases except where the tenant/licensee has rent arrears compensation payable will be paid directly to the rent account and any remainder after this will be paid directly to the tenant/licensee.
Home loss payments may be made to tenants or owner-occupiers who have lived in their property for a minimum of 12 months and are required to move home permanently as a result of redevelopment or demolition of their home. Home loss payment is only payable where a displacement (move) is compulsory.
Disturbance payments may be made to secure tenants who are required to move to another property temporarily or to people who have lived at a property less than 12 months and are required to move home permanently. This payment is for reasonable moving costs. Disturbance payments cover 'reasonable expenses' incurred by the entitled person during moving.
If your secure tenancy is ending and you completed improvements to your property after 1 April 1994 you may be entitled to compensation for those improvements. The right to compensation for improvements is subject to certain qualifying criteria and regulations contained in The Secure Tenants of Local Authorities (Compensation for Improvements) Regulations 1994 Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 613.
The Secure Tenants of Local Housing Authorities (Right to Repair) Regulations 1994
The Right to Repair Regulations covers specific repairs, known as ‘Qualifying Repairs’ which cost less than £250 and should be done within a set time limit for Secure Tenants. If these are not carried out within that time you may be entitled to compensation.
Landlords are expected to have a compensation policy which provides guidance on when it will consider offering discretionary compensation. These are sometimes referred to as a gesture of goodwill.
Compensation as part of complaint resolution
Compensation may be considered at any stage in our complaints process. Our complaints policy promotes resolution to the situation as quickly as possible. As part of our approach to resolving complaints we may offer compensation if;
- Following investigation of the complaint, it is found that a service has seriously or consistently failed;
- A member of staff has not communicated appropriately or within an acceptable timescale with a customer who has raised an issue regarding a service provided by RBK.
- if a nominated contractor acting on behalf of the council causes damage to a customer’s property, RBK will refer the matter to the contractor. RBK will mediate so that the contractor reaches a fair and reasonable settlement with the resident
- Other methods to resolve the complaint, such as an apology and/or explanation are not considered sufficient, or our previous responses have been inadequate
- We have taken an unreasonable amount of time to resolve the issues complained about;
Each case will be considered on its own merits; Such discretionary payments will generally be of low value and are part of restoring positive customer relations. This may be in conjunction with or separate to any other compensation payable for loss.
We would require supporting information to consider each claim. For example, claims for damage to belongings would need to be supported with the appropriate receipts.
Some complaints may result in a goodwill gesture for incidents where monetary compensation would not be appropriate.
Compensation payments ordered by the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman can provide fair and proportionate remedies to complaints where maladministration or service failure has been identified. There are a wide range of proportionate remedies which include both non-financial remedies and compensation.
Make a claim
We have a two stage complaints process
You should tell a member of staff or the manager responsible for the service as soon as you can and they will see if they can sort it out.
We aim to respond to you within 15 working days. If we cannot reply within this time, we will let you know.
Stage Two - Review
If you remain dissatisfied with the response to your stage 1, please contact us within 28 days and request a stage 2 review.
You will need to state the issues you remain dissatisfied with and the outcome you are seeking. This request will then be reviewed by the Customer Care service.
If you are still not happy with our response at stage two, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman for complaints relating to the Community Housing Team or the Housing Ombudsman for complaints relating to Housing Landlord services.
For which Ombudsman to contact you can check on the LGO website
For more details on compensation please see the Housing Ombudsman website.