Investigation clears Huntingdon social landlord Luminus of bullying claims
- Credit: Archant
An investigation into complaints about social housing provider Luminus has dismissed the allegations.
UKIP’s county councillor Paul Bullen raised a series of concerns about the Huntingdon-based company in July last year.
They included the assertion that Luminus had over-charged tenants for utilities, had charged for services it had not provided, and had allowed a tenant to move into a property in an unacceptable condition.
He also raised concerns about attempts by Luminus, as landlord, trying to reclaim part of a garden in Ambury Hill, Huntingdon, at the home of Kim Sellers, for redevelopment.
It was alleged her tenancy agreement had not mentioned such a plan but Luminus took Ms Sellers to court to get an injunction for her to vacate the land.
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However, earlier this month, a county court judgement ruled in Luminus’ favour, granting costs of £4,300 and damages worth £500 to the company.
Cllr Bullen also submitted photographs showing the poor condition of two properties when they were let, dating back to 2006.
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When The Hunts Post contacted Huntingdonshire District Council in September last year to ask if it was investigating, it said the complaints were a matter for Luminus, or if tenants remained unhappy, the housing ombudsman.
In fact, an independent external consultant, Deborah Goode Associates, was employed and each allegation was investigated.
The findings are outlined in a report due to be considered by HDC’s Full Council today (Wednesday).
Report author, HDC managing director Joanne Lancaster, wrote: “The report concludes that none of the complaints have been upheld, so this report now concludes the matter as far as the district council is concerned.”
A Luminus spokesman said the company dealt with inquiries raised by councillors “openly and promptly”. It continued: “However, in this particular instance, it was regrettable that Paul Bullen chose to raise his allegations without coming directly to Luminus, even though he was contacted by Luminus asking for details of so that Luminus could investigate further.
“Disappointingly, he did not provide information directly to enable Luminus, as landlord, to carry out these investigations.”
Its own tenant forums investigated the allegations and also found they were unfounded, said the spokesman, while its most recent customer survey had a 92 per cent satisfaction rate.
It also described the court action involving Ms Sellers as “regrettable”.
The Hunts Post was unable to contact Cllr Bullen for comment, but fellow UKIP member, Pete Reeve, said Cllr Bullen had been disappointed with the outcome of the report for HDC and thought it glossed over a number of the issues he had raised.
HDC could not confirm how much the report had cost.