Mr K complained that Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (“CCG”), his housing association landlord, has unfairly refused his application to adapt his property to install a walk-in shower. He said that CCG had accepted that he had a need for the adaptation, as two occupational therapy assessments have indicated.
Mr K explained that CCG had refused the application mainly because he and Mrs K were under-occupying their home, as it was a three bedroom property. It had stated that many families were awaiting such homes. Mr K asserted that CCG’s decision to refuse the application and then turn down his appeal, demonstrated that its policies were discriminatory against older and disabled people. In addition, he considered that the way CCG handled his appeal was incorrect.
Mr K said that he was being forced to move from a home he had lived in for 36 years against his will because he could not use the bathroom facilities satisfactorily.
The Ombudsman concluded that broadly CCG was operating reasonable policies, which were compliant with legislation and took account of the balance between a prudent use of its housing stock and the rights of tenants. However, he found that CCG needed to do more to provide evidence of the number and waiting times of families within its policy framework.
In Mr K’s case, however, the Ombudsman found that CCG had been maladministrative in its handling of the application and appeal. He found that the initial decision to refuse the application had been taken without due consideration of Mr K’s circumstances. The appeal decision then failed to identify that omission. The Ombudsman considered that Mr K had not had a fair hearing as a result of these failures. Mr K had suffered an injustice in that context. The Ombudsman upheld Mr K’s complaint. He recommended that CCG:
(a) apologise to Mr K
(b) pay him £300
(c) offer Mr K a fresh and prompt re-determination of his application
(d) review its Adaptations Policy with regard to one aspect of its wording
(e) consider how it could incorporate the evidential basis regarding the need for family homes into the Adaptations Policy.
CCG accepted these recommendations.
A full copy of the report is available below.