Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 30 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s decision that the complainant cannot join the housing register. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Ms X, complains that the Council will not let her join the housing register.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and Ms X’s housing application. I considered the Council’s decision on the application and the allocations policy. I invited Ms X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
Housing allocation policy
- The policy says people can join the housing register if they have a housing need as defined by the policy. The policy also says that adult children cannot be included in an application and are not counted when the Council considers how many people are living in a home.
- Ms X applied to join the housing register. She lives in a three bedroom house which she rents from a Housing Association. Ms X lives with her adult daughter, a dependent son and a niece. Ms X’s partner is due to move in during 2020. Ms X explained she suffers from depression.
- The Council decided Ms X is not eligible to join the housing register because she is adequately housed. This is because the adult daughter cannot be taken into account and because each of the three remaining people have their own room. It said there was nothing to suggest the property significantly affected Ms X’s health.
- Ms X disagrees with the Council’s decision and wants to join the housing register.
- I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. The policy says people can only join the housing register if they have a housing need. The policy also says that adult children are disregarded for the purposes of joining the register. So, in this context, there are three people living in a three bedroom house and the family is adequately housed. The situation will not change when Ms X’s partner moves in because the policy expects partners to share a room. This means Ms X will still be adequately housed.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman