Eastleigh Borough Council (23 015 173)

Category : Environment and regulation > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Mar 2024

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s action to address rats in its area as there is not enough evidence of fault.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council failed to take action to address his report of rats in April 2023, resulting in further damage to his property and distress.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or continue an investigation if we decide:
  • there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating, or
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Council has a duty to take such steps as may be necessary to secure so far as practicable that their district is kept free from rats and mice.
  2. Mr X complained to the Council in April 2023 of an ongoing issue with rats in the area, affecting his property.
  3. In November 2023 the Council told Mr X it had identified two properties as the likely cause of rats in the area and acted to resolve this. It apologised that it did not update Mr X earlier.
  4. There is not enough evidence of fault in the Council’s action to keep its area free from rats. It was not required to inspect or take pest control action at Mr X’s property itself.
  5. And I cannot say any delay in the Council acting caused Mr X significant injustice. This is because rats may have caused damage to Mr X’s property in any event and the Council is not required to rid the area of them entirely.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because there is not enough evidence of fault.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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