Compensation policy and procedure

Introduction

Many remedies are available to put a situation right, and we may take actions either separately from, or in conjunction with an offer of compensation. These may include practical actions, such as offering to complete repairs or redecoration which would otherwise be your responsibility, or gestures of goodwill, for example vouchers or flowers. In some instances, financial compensation may be the only and appropriate form of resolution. This is not automatic and won’t apply where the service failure or mistake has not caused any inconvenience and has been easily and quickly remedied.

This policy has been created in line with best practice set out by the Housing Ombudsman. It aims to:

  • Make it clear the circumstances where compensation will be paid
  • Ensure fairness and consistency when calculating compensation
  • Provide guidance on how and when compensation can be claimed

This policy is supported by our Complaints Policy.

Exclusions

To ensure clarity for both mhs colleagues and complainants, we have set out below where the compensation policy will not be applied.

This policy does not apply to:

  • Issues that are, or have been, subject to legal proceedings
  • Liability issues that are subject to an insurance claim
  • Any claim that should be covered by a home contents insurance policy, including damage through flood or fire to your belongings such as floor coverings
  • Claims for personal injury
  • Claims for loss of income
  • Complaints and compensation requests raised after 12 months from the incident/issue arising
  • Complaints and compensation requests that have already been considered

Discretion

We recognise that each case needs to be considered on its individual merits, and that discretion and common sense need to be applied whilst using this policy. We may deal with a compensation request differently where individual circumstances apply. Any discretion will be applied fairly and appropriately, and all complaints will be progressed as far as possible to maximise the opportunity to resolve a complaint.

Policy

Circumstances in which compensation will be issued

There are three types of compensation payment that will be considered under this policy:

  • Mandatory payments – this applies to disturbance or home loss, where payments will be made to compensate where you lose the right to rent your home, or to compensate reasonable expenses incurred in being re-housed, either on a temporary or permanent basis
  • Quantifiable loss payments – where you can demonstrate actual loss as a result of our actions or omissions, or those of a third party working on our behalf
  • Discretionary payments – goodwill payments may be made when there has been a failure of service which has caused delay, distress or inconvenience.

Compensation will normally only be awarded once a complaint investigation has been completed. In general, we will deduct any arrears or money owed to mhs homes from the compensation prior to it being paid to you.

Circumstances in which compensation will not be considered

We will not consider a claim of compensation where:

  • The loss or damage was caused by you, another household member or visitor to your property. This includes failure to report a repair promptly or to keep an appointment
  • The fault was unforeseeable and/or caused by a 3rd party or mhs homes had no control over it, such as water leaking from a neighbouring property (unless we had already been alerted to this and had not resolved it promptly)
  • Personal possessions are lost, stolen or damaged through no fault of mhs homes or its contractors
  • Service failure or damage that is the result of extreme or unforeseen conditions, such as the weather
  • Loss of supply of gas, electricity or water that is outside of mhs homes’ control, such as a failure by the utility provider

You should make sure you have sufficient home contents insurance to cover damage to your belongings through no fault of mhs homes. Compensation is not intended as a substitute for home contents insurance however where damage has been caused directly as a result of our actions or oversights, or those of contractors working on our behalf, consideration will be given to reimbursement without the need for you to make a claim on your insurance at further inconvenience and cost to yourself.

Mandatory Payments

Home Loss Payments

We will make Home Loss payments to you if we need you to move from your home permanently due to demolition, redevelopment, sale of land, or major works. The Home Loss payment regulations 2015 sets out the amount of compensation payable when you lose the right to reside in your home. The amount is currently set for tenants at £7,100 from 1st October 2021. For shared owners and leaseholders the payment will be 10% of the market value of their interest held in the property, up to a maximum of £71,000.
To qualify for a mandatory Home Loss payment, you’ll need:

  • To have been living at the property for at least 12 months before the date we move you (however anything under 12 months may be entitled to a pro-rata disturbance payment)
  • To be permanently moving away from your existing home

Only one Home Loss payment will be made per property, irrespective or whether it is an individual or joint tenancy. We will usually only make Home Loss payment by direct bank transfer and only to the person(s) named on the tenancy agreement. We will only pay this after the move has taken place, and within 3 months of receipt of claims, whichever is latest.

If you are in arrears, we will use the Home Loss payment to clear these arrears, with anything remaining being paid to you.

Disturbance payments

These are made to compensate for any reasonable out of pocket expenses you incur where you have been asked to move out of your property through no fault of your own. These payments are variable but will not exceed £2,500. These payments may be in addition to the Home Loss payment.

The following expenses will generally be covered and where possible we will arrange and carry out works directly or through our approved contractors. If you wish to arrange your own works, we will only reimburse you on production of valid receipts or paid invoices.

  • Removal expenses (we will arrange removals for you). We can also arrange to provide a packing service, if you feel this is required
  • Disconnection and reconnection of domestic appliances such as cooker, washing machine, telephone, broadband, television aerial/satellite dish
  • Redirection of post for up to 3 months
  • Cost of altering existing or purchasing new carpets and curtains (and refitting of
    rails/blinds). We will not pay disturbance for carpets or curtains if there are new or
    good condition floor coverings and curtains in the new property or if the carpets and
    curtains in the old property can be adapted to fit the new property
  • Refitting security alarms or other security equipment
  • Adaptions required for a disabled customer, such as handrails

The Disturbance payment will be paid directly to the service providers (e.g. removals, carpet fitters) up to the value of £2,500. You will not be entitled to any funds remaining from the £2,500.

Quantifiable loss payment

If a complaint investigation finds that you are out of pocket as a direct result of mhs homes’ actions or omissions, then we will consider compensation to offset the losses. This could include (but is not limited to):

  • Increased heating bills due to disrepair
  • Having to pay for alternative accommodation or takeaway food
  • Paying for cleaning
  • Carrying out your own repairs where it is proven that we have failed to carry out our
    obligations
  • Replacement of lost or damaged possessions

We will not cover costs if you have:

  • Not notified us of the issue
  • given us reasonable time to rectify the issue
  • Refused us access to the property
  • Refused our offer to rectify the issue

You will need to provide evidence of the costs you have incurred, such as a receipt, paid invoice, or bill, within 8 weeks of the request.

Discretionary Compensation

Missed Appointments

If an mhs homes employee, or a contractor working on our behalf, fails to attend an appointment a payment of £15 will be payable. This cannot be claimed if you are given reasonable notice in advanced that the appointment is cancelled.

If a new appointment is made and missed, a further payment of £20 will be made. Any further missed appointments for the same job will be payable at £25 per missed appointment, up to a total value of £100.

To qualify for a missed appointment payment, you must have been available to allow access during the appointment time and have agreed the appointment in advance.

Loss of heating and hot water

Between 31 October and 30 April, if you are without heating for a period of longer than 3 working days, we will provide compensation of £15 per day, up to a total value of £150. This includes the cost of using any temporary heating that we provide.

Between 31st October and 30th April, if you are without hot water for a period of longer than five working days, we will provide compensation of £5 per day, up to a total value of £50.

The provision of temporary heating will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and will be influenced by the make up of the household (for example, households with elderly, disabled, or children under the age of 12).

Payment for Services

If we have failed to deliver a significant service paid for through fixed service charges, we will consider the charge for the service, the disruption caused and how long the service was unavailable. The charge will be adjusted the following year. In exceptional circumstances material errors in fixed charges may be addressed during the year.

For variable service charges, service failures will be credited and carried forward in the accounts or reimbursed to you after reconciliation of the accounts.

All other discretionary compensation payments

Each case will be considered for compensation on an individual basis and consider all known circumstances and supporting evidence. We will work on evidence and facts and will generally not make any compensation awards based on the belief of what might have happened. All reports of loss or inconvenience will be investigated. Factors that will be considered when the level of compensation is considered include:

  • Whether you have contributed to the failure in service. This could be when there have been problems gaining access due to your availability, or delays in reporting the problem
  • The level of stress or distress caused as a result of action or inaction by mhs homes or its contractors. This will include the severity of the distress, the length of time involved, and the number of people affected
  • The amount of inconvenience (time and trouble) you have experienced and how much effort was required by you to resolve the problem

Compensation payments for delay and distress will be made based on the level of mhs homes’ responsibility for the loss or inconvenience and the impact on you. This matrix sets out the maximum payment that can be made. These payments may be in addition to another loss payment.

Compensation table of payments based on the impact on you
Level of our responsibility No impact Low impact Medium impact High impact
None £0 £0 £0 £0
Partial £0 £25 £175 £250
Full £10 £50 £250 £500

Low impact – your complaint has been upheld but there has not been significant inconvenience or distress caused. The impact has been no more than a reasonable person could be expected to accept and the compensation is a token to acknowledge mhs homes’ responsibility.

Medium impact – Inconvenience and/or distress has clearly been caused as a result of a failure in service. A repeated failure of a low impact event could lead to it being increased to a medium impact.

High impact – A serious failure in service has taken place. This could either be due to the severity of the event or a persistent failure has occurred over a prolonged period of time, or an unacceptable number of attempts to resolve the complaint have failed.

Paying Compensation

Compensation will be applied to your account if you owe us rent, service charges or other debts. If your account is up to date, we will pay this directly to you. If we are reimbursing you for loss or damage to goods or other costs incurred unnecessarily by you, we will pay this directly to you regardless of whether your account is up to date. In order for these payments to be made, proof of purchase must be provided in the form of receipts or paid invoices.

Forms of compensation may include:

  • Adjustment to your rent account or service charges, if you’re in arrears
  • A rent-free period
  • Flowers or gifts
  • Vouchers
  • Monetary compensation in the form of direct bank transfer or cheque

All payments made are subject to our financial processes and approvals.

Principles

Equality statement

mhs homes has a duty to ensure that no person receives less favourable treatment from the organisation on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, religion or belief, race, sex or sexual orientation.

Data protection

mhs homes will only share information that meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018. Confidentiality and impartiality will be exercised by mhs homes at all times.

Feedback

We welcome suggestions and comments from people who use or provide our services. We believe that this can provide some important lessons to help us ensure that the service is improved for everyone.

If you have something to say about this policy or the information that is provided about them, then please let us know. Please refer any comments to the author of this document.

Approved by Leadership Team
Date approved April 2022
Implementation date April 2022
Review date April 2023
Author Business Improvement Manager