Dacorum Borough Council (23 009 162)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 25 Sep 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council should have known a property would be unsuitable for him due to there being a history of anti-social behaviour within the block the property was located in. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council knew about anti-social behaviour issues happening in the block of flats a property was in when he bid for it. He says the Council should therefore have known the property would be unsuitable for him given his medical conditions and so should have told him before he accepted the property.

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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 an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (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 the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X asked the Council to allow him to bid on a property, which was in a block of flats, when it became available. Following consideration of new medical evidence, the Council allowed Mr X to bid on the property and he was successful in being offered the property. Mr X accepted the property.
  2. Since moving in, Mr X has experienced anti-social behaviour (ASB) from his neighbours within the block. Mr X said the Council was aware there was a history of ASB within the black of flats and so it should have known the property would not be suitable for him.
  3. The Council explained while there were some reports of ASB at the block of flats prior to Mr X moving into the property, the reports were no more than would be expected for any multi-occupancy block of flats. The Council also explained its tenancy enforcement team would only notify its housing needs team if there were significant reports of ASB made that would impact a future allocation. The Council said this wasn’t the case for Mr X’s property. As a result, the property was not flagged.
  4. An investigation is not justified as we are unlikely to find fault with the Council’s actions. This is because the Council has outlined the reported ASB within the block of flats were not significant enough to have been flagged to the housing needs team. Therefore, the housing needs team would not have been aware of the reported ASB at the time Mr X bid on the property, and so could not have informed Mr X of the ASB issues.
  5. In any case, I am satisfied that even if the housing needs team was made aware of the ASB issues, it is unlikely this would have resulted in the Council determining the property was unsuitable for Mr X. This is because the Council has explained that properties are only flagged when there are significant reports of ASB made. For Mr X’s property, this threshold was not met as the reported ASB was of the level to be expected for a multi occupancy block of flats.

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Final decision

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

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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