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London Borough of Merton (18 019 031)

Category : Housing > Homelessness

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 07 Aug 2020

Summary: Mr X complains the Council placed him in temporary accommodation outside its area when he became homeless. Mr X says this meant he had to give up one of  his jobs as he was unable to travel back to the area for work.

Finding

The Ombudsman has upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The Council has agreed to:

  • Write to Mr X to apologise for failing to consider his employment status when it placed him in accommodation in Birmingham.
  • Pay Mr X £1,768 to recognise the distress caused as a result of being placed in unsuitable accommodation for six months (£1,200) and additional costs incurred in getting to his place of  employment (£418). This also includes £150 to recognise the unnecessary time and trouble Mr X was put to pursuing his complaint.

The Council should also take the following action to improve its services to homeless applicants as a result of the fault we have identified.

  • Remind relevant staff of the need to consider the Council’s policies when placing a homeless person or family in accommodation. Staff should be reminded of the need to make clear notes setting out reasons for their decisions.
  • Review its placement policy to set out what factors the Council will consider when placing a self-employed person in interim or temporary accommodation. 

Ombudsmn satisfied with Council's response: 30 October 2020

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