A government cabinet member says a Prestwich housing association resident was “failed” after collapsing due to faulty heating.

In a letter to Onward Homes, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said the housing association said he was “shocked and saddened” after a vulnerable tenant collapsed in a “horrendously hot” home.

The Housing Ombudsman Service, which investigates complaints against landlords, found Onward Homes had committed “severe maladministration” after a tenant collapsed several times due to a broken heating system.

It said the vulnerable occupant’s heating was left on full and would not turn off during the summer months. The heat caused her to collapse several times in her home – only to be found by her son.

The Housing Ombudsman ordered the landlord to apologise to the resident, pay £1,000 in compensation and ensure that it is fully up to date with the residents’ recorded vulnerabilities.

The letter, addressed to Onward Homes CEO Bronwen Rapley following the ombudsman’s report said: “You have failed your resident.”

READ MORE: Whitefield: Bus service diverted due to sinkhole

It continued: “Your handling of this case fell well below the standard your residents should expect. It took you far too long to respond to your resident, leaving her in a vulnerable position, causing her significant distress and leading her to sustain injuries

“This is completely unacceptable.

“I expect the changes you have made, including putting in place more support for vulnerable people to improve the quality of the service you deliver.”

The letter from Mr Gove said a new bill, the Social Housing Regulation Act, would drive up the standards of rented accommodation and hold landlords to account.

He said officials from the department would be in touch with Onward Homes for a meeting to "discuss its failings".

When approached for comment, Onward referred to a learning statement shared with the housing ombudsman. 

It said: "We are very sorry for the difficulties our resident has experienced in this case.

"We have apologised to our resident and have fully complied with the ombudsman’s order.

"Several lessons have been highlighted. Given the period of time between the events and findings, improvements are now already in place, we have identified further opportunities to learn from this case:

  • We will put in place additional checks where a customer contacts us repeatedly on the same issue, we are speaking with them directly to understand how to make things right.
  • We are doing even more to respond to and support customers who are, or who may be, vulnerable and ensure we give them a timely and appropriate response.
  • Changes have been made to improve our communication with customers at every stage of a complaint, so we can be sure we have addressed all of their concerns and can make fair and timely offers of compensation.

"We welcome the opportunity to learn from the judgement in this case and have used it to continue to improve the service we give to our customers."