Summary: Ms B complains that, when the Council provided accommodation at Property X and Property Y when she and her family were homeless, the Council did not deal properly with her requests to review each property’s suitability and failed to deal properly with disrepair at both properties.
Ms B says this left her and her family without cooking facilities, heating and hot water for periods, she had to buy take-away food and she and her family have had unsatisfactory living conditions. Ms B also reports she suffered uncertainty, inconvenience and expense and went to time and trouble pursuing her housing complaints.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
To remedy the injustice caused by the faults identified above, we recommend the Council should:
- apologise to Ms B for the injustice its faults caused;
- pay Ms B £1,600 to recognise the injustice its faults caused. This comprises £500 for the injustice related to the faults with the suitability review requests, £1,000 for the injustice related to the disrepair and problems in Properties X and Y and £100 for referring Ms B to the incorrect Ombudsman;
- reimburse Ms B for the cost of cleaning Property Y and for the purchase of curtains and blinds. Ms B should show the Council evidence of the cost if requested;
- conduct an inspection of Property Y with Ms B present. At this inspection, Ms B should point out everything she considers a problem. The Council should check each point, give Ms B a clear schedule of works explaining what it will do about each point (with timescales) and its reasons for any points it will not act on. The Council should then ensure any agreed works are done promptly and should inspect the works on each point after completion, again with Ms B present to identify any points where she is still not satisfied. The Council should keep clear records of what happens, and when, on each point;
- complete an audit of other suitability review requests received between December 2017 and December 2018 to identify any failures to follow the statutory timescale and offer a suitable remedy for any injustice caused; and
- review its record-keeping of temporary accommodation repairs to ensure it has complete records of what happens on every repair request and that it follows up on any jobs that are not completed.