Northampton Borough Council (17 016 295)

Category : Housing > Homelessness

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complained about the Council’s decision that she is intentionally homeless. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because she is entitled to a review of the Council’s decision which is currently being undertaken. If her review does not change the decision then it is reasonable for Miss X to appeal to the County Court.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, complains about the Council’s decision on her homeless application. It says she is intentionally homeless and has no duty to rehouse her. She wants the Council to change its decision.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 or continue with an investigation if we believe:
  • it is unlikely we would find fault, or
  • it would be reasonable for the person to ask for a council review or appeal.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), 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. I have also considered the Council’s response and Miss X has been given the opportunity to comment on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Miss X applied to the Council for rehousing in 2017. The Council accepted that she was homeless, eligible for assistance and in priority need. However, after considering the circumstances of her homelessness it concluded that she was intentionally homeless.
  2. The Council says Miss X gave a up a sole tenancy of a property which was affordable and for which she had no rent arrears five years ago. She has had no settled accommodation since that time and an arrangement with a friend with whom she was living came to an end.
  3. The Council offered Miss X temporary accommodation until it had determined her application. The Council advised her that, following the decision it was likely to end the temporary accommodation agreement. The Council is currently considering a review application of the decision. If the review is rejected then Miss X may appeal to the County Court. She was being assisted by a support worker when she submitted her review.
  4. The Ombudsman is satisfied that the Council followed the correct procedures when dealing with Miss X’s application. It is reasonable for her to appeal the decision and the court may decide the outcome of any subsequent appeal.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because she is entitled to a review of the Council’s decision which is currently being undertaken. If her review does not change the decision then it is reasonable for Miss X to appeal to the County Court.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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