Disabled woman stuck for 17 months in inaccessible flat

Posted On 27 Jun 2022 at 9:12 am


A disabled woman with lung problems was left in a third floor flat with no lift for 17 months after Brighton and Hove City Council removed her from its housing waiting list.

The local ombudsman has told the council to apologise and pay her £350 after ruling it was at fault in how it dealt with her application.

The woman, named Ms B in its report, complained after the council removed her application for more accessible housing for herself and her disabled family member.

It took 17 months for the council to review its decision to remove her application — 15 months overdue by the council’s own targets.

The ombudsman report says: “This is far too long.”

The significant delay in processing the woman’s complaint and their handling was stated as a “significant fault by the council.”

In October 2019, Ms B appealed against the council’s decision to remove her from the waiting list – or housing register – on the basis she could manage the stairs to her council flat.

Ms B took on a formal advocate in January 2020 to argue her case. In February 2021 she fell and sustained multiple fractures.

When the council responded to the complaint in March 2021, they reinstated her application but only as Band C, the lowest priority.

As she could no longer manage the stairs, Ms B told the council that she had expected to be in Band A, the highest priority, and the council placed her in Band A with effect from April 2021.

Geraldine Des Moulins, chief executive of Possability People said: “There is a desperate shortage of affordable, accessible homes across the country, not just Brighton and Hove.

“For disabled people or people with complex health needs, a lack of suitable housing can exacerbate their conditions and be devastating.”

The council has been told to apologise to Ms B and pay her £350 in recognition of the distress, uncertainty and frustration its failings caused her.

The report says it has also initiated a Homeless Transformation Programme and allocated another officer to help clear the backlog of housing review requests.

The council was approached for comment.

You can read the whole Ombudsman report here.

  1. sss Reply

    Brighton and Hove City Council does not care.

    I am myself in a situation, in which I am disabled, I am unable to manage the stairs, and I am always having seizures.

    Brighton and Hove City Council has told me several times, that they are not concerned with health and disability.

  2. Nad Reply

    I’m waiting for my review since February 2021.

  3. sd Reply

    Yep – but loads of new homes being built! Great for students!

    Social Housing provision in this city is a disgrace.

    • Benjamin Reply

      Actually SD, the challenge being at the moment is that of empty homes, as far as my understanding goes at the moment, and whilst that backlog is slowly being worked through, it’s been added to. And homes can’t just be put back onto the market, they are upgraded to Decent Homes, cleaned and repaired (Some places are left in bombsites), and this delays it further. Students have very little impact on this, according to the data.

  4. Hendrik Woolf Reply

    Brighton & Hove Council should be holding down their heads in shame. And £350 is an absolute insult to the woman whom they have treated so appallingly. Those responsible should be named and shamed and should themselves be paying her a much larger amount out of their own pockers. I was born in Brighton and have lived here all my life, but this must be the most incompetent and greedy bunch of clowns running our council I have ever comes across.

  5. Daniel Harris Reply

    Two upheld onbudsman complaints which have been revealed in days, whilst old, shows we need to root out the bad managers at BHCC. Starting with the top box, I have three serious complaints going to the onbudsman. This is a department with a history of issues and with deaths at record highs and more and more growing frustrated with senior officers who do not hold Brighton and Hove Values clearly.

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