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The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has reprimanded the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for its failure to adequately assist a family facing eviction from their rented property. The council’s lack of proper response to the family’s plea for help after their landlord served them with a section 21 notice in November 2021 has been deemed insufficient by the LGSCO.

The family’s predicament was exacerbated by the father’s disability and the extended family’s struggle to find alternative suitable accommodation. Unfortunately, their circumstances left them with no choice but to remain in the property, despite the impending eviction.

According to the investigation conducted by the Ombudsman, Tower Hamlets failed to fulfill its obligations upon initial contact with the family. The council neglected to acknowledge the family’s entitlement to housing assistance, consequently depriving them of interim accommodation that should have been provided. This significant oversight left the family in limbo, uncertain of when or how the council would come to their aid.

The consequences of the council’s negligence were dire. Eventually, the family was forced to endure eviction by bailiffs, seek the help of friends and family to safeguard their belongings, and endure several months of accommodation in bed and breakfast facilities away from their vital support systems and healthcare services. Only after enduring such turmoil did the family finally secure self-contained accommodation.

The critique from Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Amerdeep serves as a reminder of the importance of prompt and effective action from local authorities, particularly when vulnerable families are at risk of eviction. The case highlights the need for comprehensive policies and streamlined processes to ensure that families facing similar circumstances do not experience the same hardship in the future.