Leeds family with six children left in 'significant distress' after being made homeless by landlord
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Leeds-based family, which included six children, were stuck in “unsuitable” accommodation and left in “significant distress” after they were turfed out of their property, a report by the Local Government Ombudsman said.
Their landlord served a court notice which ultimately forced the family to leave the home in April 2022 and dismissed attempts to change his mind, as he said he was selling the house.
The report told how the parents and their children then had to move into a four-bed council house which they felt “was in a bad state of repair”, and “too small”.
The children’s father also had to sleep downstairs, as due to a medical condition “the stairs were too steep for him to get to the toilet or upstairs”.
They have been unable to find any more suitable accommodation since, the Ombudsman said.
The family made several complaints to Leeds City Council about the way the local authority had handled their situation after they were told to vacate their old property.
The report said the father of household, who was anonymously referred to as ‘Mr B’ throughout, “said the council were not proactive and were unwilling to consider any flexibility in providing them with suitable housing”.
The Ombudsman added: “He gave the example of another family in housing need where the council had knocked together two new-build houses.”
The council, however, said it was unable to do that in this case.
Attempts to find the family another home were also restricted by Mr B’s medical needs and the couple’s caring responsibilities, which required them to be close to two elderly family members.
The Ombudsman, however, rejected most of the complaints against the council, stating they could find “no fault” with the authority’s effort to source alternative accommodation.
However, they did find fault with the way the council initially handled the family’s grievances, saying it had failed to properly address all of the points they’d made.
It told the authority to pay the family £200 in compensation and to review its complaint procedures.
The Ombudsman concluded that the whole “situation has caused Mr B and his family significant distress and hardship and they are still living in unsuitable accommodation”.
A spokesperson for the council said: “We are committed to ensuring that anyone at risk of homelessness or eviction from their property is able to access appropriate housing support.
“Following the Ombudsman’s findings, we will continue to improve our complaints handling process and to ensure that they remain effective.
“Anyone at risk of homelessness or needing housing support can visit the council’s website for support and information: www.leeds.gov.uk/housing/homeless-or-at-risk.”