All Case Studies

Major Works Dispute

Mr A (name changed) was dissatisfied with Poplar HARCA’s handling of a complaint regarding a major works cap, so contacted the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS).


  • In September 2014, leaseholder Mr A applied for a major works cap with our Private Tenures team. We requested further information to demonstrate financial hardship and, after some delay, the application was declined on 1stAugust 2016, citing that they did not qualify. In August 2016, Mr A approached the Housing Ombudsman to raise a formal complaint who advised him to first make a complaint to Poplar HARCA directly. In April 2017, following contact from a third-party legal advice service engaged by Mr A, Poplar HARCA’s Collections team explained that Mr A had not qualified for the cap, and that this dispute did not therefore qualify as a complaint. Mr A also approached the local MP, to whom we advised that the reasons for declining the major works cap was due to arrears on Mr A’s account.
  • We offered Mr A an appeal panel to allow him to discuss the issue at hand. This was then withdrawn as Mr A took too long to decide, and the matter had been escalated to our legal team. After several contacts, we advised Mr A and his legal advisers that they should escalate their concerns to the First Tier Tribunal (the Tribunal).


  • The Housing Ombudsman agreed that this particular dispute does not fall under what would be defined as a ‘complaint’, and that Poplar HARCA was not obliged to consider the matter through our complaints process. The matter could have been considered through an alternative complaint or appeal process, i.e. First Tier Tribunal (the Tribunal). The Housing Ombudsman found that Poplar HARCA acted reasonably by providing Mr A information about the Tribunal, and also by offering a panel meeting at our discretion outside of our complaints process.


Housing Ombudsman Service website