A housing association ignored a Radcliffe tenant’s noise complaints for years and said they "couldn’t be bothered" to record some of them, a damning ombudman’s report has said.

The chief executive of social housing landlord Six Town Housing, who rent out 8,000 homes in Bury, has been ordered to personally apologise to Tracey Farmes and pay her more than £1,000 in compensation after it found "a lack of professionalism" and severe maladministration on the matter.

The housing ombudsman said Miss Farmes, who lives in an end terrace home on the Coronation Road estate in Radcliffe, had noise nuisance complaints ignored or not acted on effectively on for nearly two years.


Tracey Farmes lives in the Coronation Road area of Radcliffe

Tracey Farmes lives in the Coronation Road area of Radcliffe


When staff did acknowledge the complaints, the internal correspondence contained inappropriate remarks, including officers saying they "couldn’t be bothered" to add her complaints to their system.

Miss Farmes, who has lived in her home since 1999, said she felt "completely ignored and let down" by Six Town Housing and that she felt victimised, leading to her having mental health difficulties.

The ombudsman said that irrespective of officer’s views about her reports, the landlord should have treated her with respect and clearly communicated its position.

Speaking after the ombudsman published the findings, Miss Farmes, said: “The fact that I was being ignored and not listened to has had a massive effect on me.

“I got nothing off them, if they had communicated better, maybe it could have moved forward but I just hit a brick wall.

“When the investigation report came out it was such a massive relief. Finally somebody had actually listened to me.

“The need to listen to the recommendations and treat tenants, who have similar concerns to mine with a lot more respect.”

The investigation found evidence that the landlord chose not to respond to Miss Farmes and closed cases without contacting her.

Six Town Housing also failed to take into consideration the detrimental impact of consistently failing to respond over a prolonged period.

The ombudsman  added that the landlord did not manage Miss Farmes’ expectations by not clearly explaining to her which reports were considered to constitute anti-social-behaviour and which ones were not.

In one month alone, she filled out 16 diary sheets of alleged incidents of noise nuisance and other complaints, but landlord records did not show these were ever reviewed.

Later when she said she could not complete the diary forms due to worsening mental health, there was no evidence the landlord considered reasonable adjustments to help her.

The ombudsman ordered Six Town Housing to pay £1,100 in compensation and review the Miss Farmes’ current anti-social-behaviour concerns, implementing a clear action plan to address them.

Six Town Housing have been given six weeks to provide clear guidance to its staff about the importance of objective record keeping and using professional language.

Six Town said it was "deeply sorry" for the failings and said it had revised its complaint handling policy, placed more onus on good record keeping and offered extra tenancy support.

Housing ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “There is clear and repeated evidence of a lack professionalism by the landlord in response to its resident’s requests for help.

“These failings were over a prolonged period and meant the landlord failed to follow its own anti-social-behaviour policy and procedure.

“The result was significant distress for its resident over a long period of time.

"This led the resident to understandably feel victimised by her landlord.

“The sector needs to respond to noise nuisance far more effectively.”

Having found severe maladministration in the case, the landlord was invited to provide a learning statement.

In that response, Six Town Housing, said: “This complaint regarding the handling of anti-social behaviour was taken through our board governance arrangements for oversight.

“It has led to a review of our processes at Six Town Housing, and we’re deeply sorry on this occasion our approach did not deliver the quality of service we would expect and that our internal processes didn’t highlight the issue sooner within the organisation.

“We are committed to learning from our mistakes, and in ensuring that errors do not reoccur.

“As such, we have completed a full review and ensured that systems and our staff are providing the best support, and positive outcomes to our customers.

“All staff have been reminded of their responsibilities in accurate record keeping, this includes complaint handling, and ensuring a customer first approach

“We have written to the tenant, apologising for our errors and have compensated her with £1,100.”