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London Borough of Lewisham (17 018 066)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 23 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complained about the Council’s failure to rehouse her even though she has been on the housing register for many years in overcrowded conditions. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault on the Council’s part which has caused Miss X injustice.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, complains about the Council’s failure to rehouse her. She says she applied for housing 16 years ago and has not been offered a property even though she lives in overcrowded conditions with her daughter. She wants the Council to make a realistic offer of rehousing suitable for her needs.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered all the information which Miss X submitted with her complaint and she has been given the opportunity to comment on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Miss X says she has been on the housing register for 16 years. She lives with her daughter in a one bedroom private rented flat and has physical and mental health problems. She requires a ground floor two-bedroom property and has been assessed as Band 3 priority for some time. She says her rent is due to increase significantly next year and she will be unable to afford it.
  2. The Council considered Miss X’s complaint and told her that her application is correctly assessed and the priority is correct for her circumstances. The Council says it has a high demand for accommodation in its area and that there are other applicants with a higher priority banding.
  3. The Ombudsman cannot question decisions taken by the Council if they were taken properly and fairly. It may be the case that, although Miss X needs to move urgently, there are other applicants who have an even greater need. We can only consider whether the Council has applied the correct priority to the application for their circumstances. We cannot question the merits of the Council’s decision or give the applicant higher priority on the list

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault on the Council’s part which has caused Miss X injustice.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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