Michael Gove, the levelling up, housing and communities secretary, has written to Stevenage Borough Council after it failed to help a disabled resident.

The Housing Ombudsman found "severe maladministration" on the part of the council after they left a disabled resident with a faulty door entry system for 18 months.

The issue meant that ambulances were unable to reach the man on several occasions, with the fire brigade being called in to help.

The council had been aware of the problem before the resident moved in, but only fixed it 18 months later, after the resident had engaged a solicitor. The council did not offer an apology at the time.

Now, Mr Gove has written to Matt Partridge, the council's CEO, to say that he "will be taking a personal interest in how you improve the quality of service you deliver to your residents".

Stephen McPartland, Stevenage's MP, described it as a "shocking case" in a post on social media.

The Ombudsman found "no indication" that the council "considered the resident's disabilities or its obligations under the Equality Act 2010".

They said it was "a significant failing" for SBC to leave the resident without any means to allow access to his property for visitors and the emergency services for 18 months.

The Ombudsman concluded that an offer of £658 as a "gesture of goodwill ... was an insufficient remedy", and ordered the council to apologise to the resident, pay him £1,250 as compensation, and create an action plan to prevent similar failings in future.

An SBC spokesperson said that they have "improved the process for handling housing complaints" and "introduced a team of dedicated strategic complaint managers".

Mr Gove noted these changes, and wrote: "Everyone should be able to live in a decent home and have their complaints taken seriously.

"Residents should be treated with respect and courtesy by their landlord and their health and safety should be paramount.

"The Social Housing Regulation Act is bringing in a tough new regulatory regime to support this government's commitment to driving up standards and holding landlords accountable.

"This government expects social landlords to provide the high-quality social housing that residents deserve. You must put residents at the heart of what you do."

A spokesperson for Stevenage Borough Council said: "We always aim to work collaboratively with our tenants and once issues are reported to resolve these as efficiently and effectively as possible.

"Sadly, on this occasion, it would appear that this resident hasn’t received an adequate service, for which we sincerely apologise.

"We acknowledge that this case was not dealt with in the appropriate manner and would like to reiterate that the safety of our tenants is of paramount importance to us.

"The recommendations suggested by the Ombudsman have all been adhered to, including sending a written apology to the tenant around the failings that have occurred and paying compensation for the undue distress caused from this situation.

"The work of the Housing Ombudsman continues to support us in driving forward improvements to our services, through highlighting specific actions and areas for development and enabling us to learn on a case-by-case basis to implement changes where necessary to positively impact and enhance our services.

"Following the outcome from the Housing Ombudsman Service and the processes and procedures put in place, the Regulator of Social Housing has confirmed there was no breach of their standards and so no regulatory action will be taken."