George Hollingbery welcomes decision by Housing Ombudsman to support local resident

A Waterlooville woman has won her battle with a landlord over its decision to no longer provide a community alarm service after the Housing Ombudsman ruled Guinness Partnership was guilty of ‘maladministration’.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery supported Cheryl Anderson from Dryden Close in her complaint against the housing association over its intention to remove the community alarm system from her home and the sheltered housing complex last year.

The Housing Ombudsman ruled that Guinness Partnership had not consulted Mrs Anderson even though her tenancy agreement said it must, and it did not consult tenants generally over its plans.

Guinness had said that tenants would have to buy their own alarm service even though the existing one worked well, was covered under the tenancy agreement and was a fixture and fitting.

The Ombudsman said Guinness had been entitled to review whether it offered an alarm service but as a “Registered Provider of Social Housing it should meet Regulatory Standards” and it had failed to do so in this case.

It has since agreed to restart the maintenance of the system and it will not charge residents for this service in the current financial year.

The watchdog ordered Guinness to pay the 69-year-old £200 in compensation and it recommended the authority draft a policy and procedure on consultation with tenants.

“It was wrong for Guinness Partnership to treat myself and other tenants in this way by effectively telling us what they wanted to do with the alarm system without asking us what we thought or actually following procedures.

“It is disappointing Guinness decided to try and wriggle out of its commitments in Dryden Close and it even suggested our complex wasn’t sheltered housing when there is a sign to that effect at the entrance.

“I thank the Housing Ombudsman for their decision and I thank George Hollingbery and his staff and councillor Ann Briggs for the help and support they have given me in pursuing my complaint.”

George added: “Mrs Anderson should be congratulated for showing such determination in complaining against this housing association and I was happy to support her.

“This decision also shows that the ombudsman will hold authorities to account when they do wrong and I would urge anyone who has an issue to get in contact with this watchdog.”