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London Borough of Wandsworth (19 006 011)

Category : Housing > Homelessness

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 18 Nov 2020

Summary: Ms X complains the Council had not dealt with her homeless application, helped her as a victim of domestic violence or registered her on its allocation scheme.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused the Council should:

  • Apologise to Ms X;
  • put her in Band A of the allocations scheme backdated to October 2018, and provide suitable temporary accommodation in Wandsworth;
  • pay her £500 for the delays in dealing with her applications; and
  • pay her £150 a month for the 12 months she has stayed in her mother’s and uncle’s homes since her ex-partner left prison because the Council now says neither places are safe for her. This comes to £1,800. We have included the period from July 2019 onwards as putting the housing application on hold did not make a difference to Ms X’s situation. In July 2019 the Council held the view Ms X did not qualify for the NGS because she did not live in Wandsworth and, for the same reason, she could only get Band D on its allocation scheme.

To remedy the injustice caused to other people the Council should:

  • provide written information to its housing officers about its duties towards people fleeing domestic violence and tell them the allocations local connection criteria does not apply in these circumstances.
  • arrange training for its housing options and homelessness officers in dealing with people who have suffered domestic abuse; and,
  • review its allocations policy, taking into account the Government’s 2018 Statutory Guidance on access to social housing for the victims of domestic violence. The Council’s existing policy has not been reviewed since the 2018 guidance and says nothing about its approach to domestic violence.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 25 February 2021.

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