Housing association ordered to pay compensation to Bexhill tenant

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News

A housing association has been ordered to pay a total of £500 compensation to a tenant after it was ruled it failed to properly investigate an allegation of assault against her.

On December 28, 2015, Jean Weedon says she was physically assaulted by a neighbour in Baird Court in Station Road, a property owned by AmicusHorizon.

The police were called, but no further action was taken as Miss Weedon did not wish to make a statement.

AmicusHorizon twice offered Miss Weedon mediation but she refused and the case was closed.

But unsatisfied with how her complaint had been dealt with, she went to the Housing Ombudsman Service.

The Ombudsman concluded in its report that AmicusHorizon “...did not respond to Miss Weedon’s reports of ASB (antisocial behaviour) in respect of the incident appropriately. This is because the landlord’s approach failed to correctly, consistently and fairly apply its ASB policy.”

It added: “Mediation is not suitable in every case and the landlord’s ASB policy supports this, including where it sets out what alternative remedies are available to it in addressing ASB.

“This includes Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, Good Neighbour Agreements, warning letters and support referrals.”

It said no other alternatives were explored and said there was a ‘strong argument’ mediation was ‘not an appropriate option in this case’. The landlord said it was unable to take the matter forward because the police took no action.

But the report added: “The landlord’s ASB policy does not state this and the landlord was effectively forcing Miss Weedon to press charges if she wanted the matter to be resolved, which was not fair in the circumstances.”

It said Amicus had “failed to undertake any form of investigation or arrange for a meeting with the alleged perpetrator” and had not sought Miss Weedon’s version of events at the early stages.

The report recommended the landlord should apologise to Miss Weedon and consider training its officers involved in responding to complaints.

Miss Weedon has moved since the incident.

A spokesman for Optivo, the new name for AmicusHorizon, said: “We are currently reviewing the determination from the Housing Ombudsman and have until July 14 to request a review of their decision.

“Therefore we will not be making any further comment until after July 14.”