Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 28 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the suitability of the temporary accommodation the Council offered Mrs Q. This is because she had a right of appeal to the County Court.
- The complainant, who I have called Mrs Q, complained about the temporary accommodation the London Borough of Redbridge offered her. She said it is not suitable for her family.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone could take the matter to court. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to go to court. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(c), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mrs Q provided. I considered the complaint and review documents the Council provided. And I considered Mrs Q’s response to a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Homeless applicants have a right to request a review of the suitability of temporary accommodation provided once the Council has accepted the main homelessness duty. (Housing Act 1996, section 202)
- Homeless applicants have a right of appeal to the County Court on a point of law if they are dissatisfied with the Council’s review decision. (Housing Act 1996, section 204)
- Mrs Q made a homelessness application. The Council accepted the full homelessness duty towards her. In 2017 it offered her temporary accommodation which she moved into with her family.
- In 2018 Mrs Q asked the Council for a review as she said the property was not suitable for her family. She said the Council ignored her request for a review. However, the Council did complete a review and wrote to Mrs Q in March 2018. It said the property was suitable for Mrs Q, and told her of her right of appeal to the County Court.
- Mrs Q did not appeal to the County Court. Instead, she complained and the Council considered her complaint through its complaints procedure.
- Mrs Q told us why she thinks her property is unsuitable for her family, and why she thinks its consideration of her case was flawed.
- We will not investigate this complaint.
- Mrs Q believes her temporary accommodation is not suitable for her family. The information provided by the Council shows it did act on Mrs Q’s request for a review of the property’s suitability. It told her in March 2018 about her right of appeal to the County Court.
- The County Court is best placed to decide matters of suitability. So it would have been reasonable for Mrs Q to go to court if she thought the Council’s review decision was flawed.
- We will not investigate this complaint. This is because Mrs Q had a right of appeal to the County Court.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman