A RECENT CASE REGARDING HOMELESSNESS
Complaint against Southwark LBC  Complaint No 10 000 20
22 May 2012
22 May 2012
In April 2009 her landlord served a valid Housing Act 1988 section 21 notice requiring her to leave and later began proceedings for possession. She approached the council to make a homeless application but was told to "come back when the court had made an order for possession". The court made an order to take effect on 10 September 2009. She went back to the council without success. A council officer admitted that some of its caseworkers "may advise applicants that nothing can be done for them until they have an eviction date" i.e. a bailiff's appointment. The council also decided that the complainant was not eligible for homelessness assistance as she was not a 'worker'. She sought a review and asked for accommodation pending review. The council then provided accommodation and on 30 November 2009 notice was given that the review had succeeded. The ombudsman found extensive maladministration by the council in its handling of the homeless application including: failure to keep proper records; failure to decide whether it was obliged to provide interim accommodation prior to its decision on the application; failure to properly investigate the application; and excessive delay in handling complaints about its poor service. The council agreed to provide additional training to homelessness staff on taking homeless applications, conducting homeless enquiries and offering interim accommodation. It also agreed to pay substantial compensation.
This article is taken from http://www.gardencourtchambers.co.uk/bulletins/category/bulletin_detail.cfm?iBulletinID=742
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