Late compensation for repairs agony in West Norwood
A family that endured seven years of hell because of bungled repairs should have been compensated by the council much sooner, according to an Ombudsman.
Alan Faggetter, 53, said his family lost seven years of their lives after Lambeth Living (LL) - the council’s housing manager - bungled repairs at their council house and even allowed squatters to move into their home in Chatsworth Way, West Norwood.
The family were finally given nearly £13,000 in compensation in August but last month the Ombudsman ruled this offer should have made much sooner.
Mr Faggetter, who still suffers panic attacks brought on by the dispute, said: "It’s cleared debts, but it’s not compensation for years of total utter disruption in our lives."
He said he complained to the Ombudsman in 2011 after years of living out of boxes as well as enduring delays, harassment, loss of property and stints in unsuitable houses.
He said: "It’s such a disappointment it’s all over but nothing has really been resolved.
"They are still going to continue in the same fashion."
The Ombudsman discontinued the investigation because of the compensation saying the council accepted ‘many failings’ and intended to ‘learn lessons’.
Its report slammed the council for its response to Mr Faggetter's complaint: "It was not open minded in its initial assessment of the complaint and appeared to focus on defending the position it had already adopted."
In a letter to Mr Faggetter, investigator Anne Mitchell said: "I think others will benefit as a result of your persistence in this matter."
Mr Faggetter thanked his local councillor John Whelan for tirelessly helping his family fight to resolve the issue.
Coun Whelan said: "They should have come forward with a solution far, far sooner.
"I’m ashamed to do work for a local authority that treats its residents in this way."
A Lambeth Living spokesman said: "We have apologised to Mr Faggetter for the failings in repairs to his home and we have provided compensation.
"Mr Faggetter’s property suffered structural defects that went back to before Lambeth Living took over the management of his home, but we accept that the disrepair went on for far too long.
"The performance of Lambeth Living has improved tremendously over the past few years, and it’s important to stress that this was an isolated case."