In June 2023, Louise Haigh MP raised the case of one of her constituents, a mum of a two-year-old who was forced to live in appalling conditions.
The constituent had contacted Louise in April 2022 after a leak developed in her roof. The leak had destroyed the ceiling forcing it to collapse into her child’s bedroom and damaged their belongings.
After 18 months of back and forth with the Sheffield City Council, they finally agreed to conduct an investigation into their failings in this case and establish what lessons could be learnt.
That investigation has now been concluded and the constituent has been awarded more than £1,000 in compensation.
The investigation found that:
- The Council had failed to diagnose the issue and that there was a lack of comprehensive detail in the records to explain what work had been completed and what was outstanding.
- There was not a clear one point of ownership which led to the repairs not being completed in a timely manner.
- They identified that there needs to be better working between teams across different service areas.
- They recognised that they should have moved the constituent out of the property sooner than they did.
The Council has said that it has learnt lessons in this case and put forward a number of recommendations going forward, namely:
- There needs to be a more robust process for checking, tracking and monitoring of leaks to ensure cases are not closed until action has been taken.
- Record keeping needs to improve, and when a leak occurs in more than one property, then details must be recorded against each property affected.
As a result of Louise raising this case with the Council and demanding an investigation, the Council has agreed to develop clear guidance for tenants which will detail what to expect after a leak in their home.
This guidance will clearly explain the responsibilities for the tenant and the Council including terms of moving to another property and advice on compensation.
Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley, said:
“This is a case that I have been fighting for, for more than 18 months and I am pleased that the Council have finally looked at their processes, and how they respond to reports of repairs from their tenants and will be taking action to rectify their failings.
“It should not have come to this, and my constituent has been successfully moved to another property and awarded compensation, but she is not alone. I am contacted, daily, by residents who have reported leaks, damp and mould and other repairs to their properties and the Council are either not responding to these requests or are taking an inordinate amount of time to carry out the repairs.
“The service that social housing residents receive is woefully inadequate and the Chair of the Housing Committee must get an immediate grip on this situation. If he doesn’t then residents face another miserable, wet and cold winter ahead of them in their homes.”