Watford Community Housing has been ordered to apologise to a tenant after it mishandled noise complaints which "ruined" his life.

Robert Ford, 55, brought a complaint against the housing association over its handling of reports of antisocial behaviour and inadequate noise insulation at Watkin Court in Schreiber Grange.

The father had lived with his 14-year-old daughter at the three-storey WCH property from January 2020 until they were moved to another WCH flat in Watford last July.

He said the issues with antisocial behaviour had “ruined” their life as he complained to the landlord about an upstairs neighbour throwing “all-night parties”.

“I would have been lucky to get two hours sleep a night and my daughter had to go to sleep with the headphones on,” he said. 

He explained how the disturbances had affected his daughter's distance-education during the pandemic and that the downstairs neighbour had also complained about the noise.

“It's been a lonely battle, and believe me, I’m not doing this for the money, because the money they've offered us is nowhere near how much it's destroyed our life," he added.

The housing ombudsman made its initial decision in November after the complaint was made the previous January, but WCH asked the adjudicator to review the result.

Watford Observer: Watford Community Housing had committed severe maladministration, according to the report.Watford Community Housing had committed severe maladministration, according to the report. (Image: Newsquest)

In its decision dated May 1, the ombudsman upheld the original conclusion that WCH had committed “severe maladministration” in how it handled the complaints as it took three months to decide whether they constituted antisocial behaviour, which “prolonged the negative effect” on the family.

It also found that the landlord had been “unsympathetic and unsupportive” in telling Mr Ford to stop reporting the antisocial behaviour as it was aware of how it was affecting him and his daughter.

The ombudsman reaffirmed that WCH should pay Mr Ford a total of £3,350 for the distress and inconvenience caused and that a senior manager should apologise to him.

Watford Community Housing must also now give staff refresher training on antisocial behaviour and check through all complaints received in the last 12 months which it did not consider to be a nuisance.

A spokesperson said: “We fully accept the findings of the Housing Ombudsman and we are sorry that we let our customer down in this instance.

“We are committed to providing good-quality homes and strong neighbourhoods for all our customers, but we recognise that we have failed in our service delivery on this occasion. 

“We have made improvements to our services since these issues were first raised – to support customers, we’ve launched a noise app to make it easier for them to record and report noise-related anti-social behaviour, as well as strengthening our policies and procedures in line with the Housing Ombudsman’s observations.”