Coventry City Council (19 009 816)

Category : Adult care services > Disabled facilities grants

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 06 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Ms X complains that the Council refused to complete the adaptations she has needed since March 2016. She says she is unable to wash properly as she cannot access her bathroom. The Ombudsman finds no fault in the Council’s actions.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Ms X, complains that the Council has refused to complete the adaptations she has needed since March 2016. This is because the property belongs to her late parents and probate is not yet granted. She says the named executor authorised the works but the Council does not accept his authority.
  2. Ms X says she is unable to wash properly as she cannot access her bathroom and has to wash with talcum powder.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information from the Complainant and from the Council.
  2. I sent both parties a copy of my draft decision for comment and took account of the comments I received in response.

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What I found


Disabled facilities grants

  1. Disabled Facilities Grants are provided under the terms of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. Council’s have a statutory duty to provide grant aid to disabled people for certain adaptations. Before approving a grant a council must be satisfied the work is necessary and suitable to meet the disabled person’s needs and also reasonable and practicable.
  2. The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 includes relevant requirements. In summary, it says a local housing authority shall not consider an application unless the application is accompanied by an owner’s certificate in respect of the relevant property. An owner’s certificate for this purpose certifies that the applicant has, or proposes to acquire, a qualifying owner’s interest.

What happened

  1. Ms X lives in a property she says is owned by her late parents.
  2. The Council assessed and recommended adaptations to meet her needs. However, it has not agreed the grant to complete these works because Ms X is not the owner of the property and does not have the authority to agree to the works.
  3. Ms X says the executor of the will, her parents’ legal representative, has agreed to the works. The Council says it has not seen the will, nor received any communication from the executor or solicitor. It is happy to work with Ms X’s solicitor to obtain proof of her status as beneficiary and would then consider how to move forward.
  4. The Council has assessed Ms X and offered or provided equipment in the absence of the recommended solutions.

Was there fault which caused injustice?

  1. The Council has no evidence that Ms X is a beneficiary in the will or that the executor and solicitor agreed to the works; it has seen no owner’s certificate. This is required before it can agree to the works. I therefore found no fault in the Council’s actions in refusing to proceed with the grant.
  2. The Council has made appropriate provision to meet her needs as far as possible in the interim.

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Final decision

  1. I have completed my investigation and do not uphold Ms X’s complaint that the Council refused to complete the adaptations she has needed since March 2016.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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