Ealing Council criticised by Ombudsman for leaving family in ‘unsafe’ flat

Image above: Ealing Council offices

Highrise flat had unsafe windows, mould and exposed electrical cables

Ealing Council has been criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for leaving a young family in a 10th floor flat with faulty windows for nearly 18 months.

The homeless family had been placed in the flat as ‘temporary’ accommodation. The Council acknowledged the flat was unsuitable and had other problems of disrepair including leaks, damp, mould, and exposed electrical cables in May 2021 but it was not until October 2022 that they transferred the family to better accommodation.

Nigel Ellis, Chief Executive at the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“While we are mindful of the difficulties councils face – particularly in London – in securing accommodation, councils must ensure that the accommodation they do provide is suitable.

“In this case, not only was the accommodation not suitable, it was beset with disrepair issues.

“The family have told me of their concerns for their children living in a high-rise flat with unsafe windows and exposed electrics.”

The Ombudsman’s investigation found the council was not properly recording the actions it was taking to secure alternative temporary accommodation, which meant there was no audit trail for staff to refer to.

Ealing Council could not demonstrate the action it had taken to find suitable accommodation for the family. The investigation also criticised the Council’s delay in finding alternative accommodation for the family.

Nigel Ellis said there were 31 other households on its transfer list for temporary accommodation and he had asked Ealing Council to “consider remedying any complaints of injustice to those other households too.”