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HomeNewsCouncil forced to pay resident £1.5k after mouse infestation ‘failure’ in Barnet

Council forced to pay resident £1.5k after mouse infestation ‘failure’ in Barnet

A watchdog has ordered the council to pay a resident £1,500 following its “failure” to deal with a mouse infestation in their home.

According to the report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) the resident – referred to anonymously as Miss B – first raised the issue in November 2021.

In 2020, Miss B and her children had been housed in temporary accommodation by the council following a homelessness application. The property was provided by Opendoor Homes, a subsidiary of Barnet Homes, which manages and maintains the council’s housing stock.

Following the raising of the mice infestation problem, three visits from pest control took place and the ombudsman’s report stated there were no “grounds to criticise” the council at this point.

However, further work was required in May 2022, involving removing cupboards and providing proofing, and there was “no evidence” a visit took place until December 2022. The watchdog said the council was at “fault” for this six-month delay.

In January 2023, a work order was raised and the council agreed to carry out additional proofing works in March. However, there was no evidence a visit took place until October, a nine-month delay.

A Barnet Homes spokesperson said Opendoor Homes accepted the decision of the ombudsman and the recommendations in relation to the case.

They said: “We strive to provide high standards of service to our customers and take the findings of the LGSCO on board.

“We have apologised to Miss B and provided a payment of £1,500. Works are also planned to resolve the issues at Miss B’s home.”

The report also said the experience impacted Miss B’s mental health and caused her children to require medical attention.

The council initially offered the family £1,000 in compensation, however LGSCO considered a £100 payment for each month there was a delay “more appropriate”.

The watchdog said the £1,500 amount accounted for evidence suggesting there were occasions Miss B refused a visit and that a part of the problem was the availability of food sources in the property.

The council initially viewed the problem resolved, but the watchdog recommended the council visit and inspect the property to identify whether the problem was abated and whether or not further actions were needed.

The report said if this was the case the council should carry out the works and once it was established the issue was eradicated a new carpet be laid in the property. The council has agreed to these recommendations.

The Barnet Homes spokesperson added: “We take learning from complaints, be they directly received or via the LGSCO very seriously and are always seeking to use that learning to continually improve how we deliver our services.

“We will work with our teams to ensure that correct processes are followed, and actions are carried out in a timely manner.”

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