All Case Studies

Water contamination and repairs (December 2023)

Mrs N was unhappy about contaminated water system in her home, the installation of replacement boiler, bath and handwash basin, and how we dealt with her complaint.


In October 2013 Mrs N reported to us that she had problems with her hot water. Following this, we went out a number of times to carry out flushes to the hot water system.

In November 2018, Mrs N reported that she was still without uncontaminated hot water, and was still using pots and kettles to boil her hot water. In February 2019, we carried out further works to remove the hot water tank and replace the boiler in Mrs N’s home. We also replaced some of the hot water pipes. This work was completed in March 2019.

Following the works, Mrs N reported a number of issues. In April 2019, Mrs N’s representative wrote to us to carry out the repair as we had not responded to the resident. She stated that she was willing to take further legal action regarding our response to her repair.

In May 2019, we apologised for the delay and disagreed that Mrs N was without hot water for 5 years. We also reiterated that following the installation of the boiler, there was an issue with water pressure and a new pump was installed. Further works to Mrs N’s home were also carried out.

Mrs N disagreed and sought compensation for being without hot water for 5 years and the gas and electricity costs to boil water for that period.

In December 2019 following significant delays and confusion around whether the case was going to be a legal claim, we acknowledged it as a complaint after the Ombudsman got in touch with us. We offered a total of £100 compensation in recognition of the delay and confusion around handling Mrs N’s complaint.

Mrs N remained dissatisfied. We reviewed the case in our stage 2 in June 2022, following further delays and contact from the Ombudsman. We explained that the cause of the rust was due to Mrs N choosing to not use the hot water taps. The water resting in the pipes caused the discolouration and she was told to use the hot water regularly. We acknowledged we could have handled the complaint better and awarded a further £250 compensation in recognition of this.

Mrs N remained dissatisfied and escalated the complaint to the Ombudsman in July 2022.



The following determinations were made:

· There was no maladministration our handling of the resident’s concerns about a contaminated water system in their home

· There was maladministration in our handling of the installation of a replacement boiler, bath, and hand wash basin

· There was maladministration in our handling of the complaint.


The Ombudsman made the following orders

· Issue an apology to the resident acknowledging the maladministration findings

· Pay the initial £350 compensation awarded at stage 1 and 2 of the complaints process

· Award further £350 compensation

· Carry out an internal review of the case to identify learnings.


The Ombudsman made the following recommendation:

· Carrying out training to ensure our staff understand how to recognise and handle a complaint.