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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69374
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am currently homeless and staying in the Local Authority

Customer Question

I am currently homeless and staying in the Local Authority hostel/bedsit. They have made me an offer of property for me and my son, a first floor 2 bed time.
I have been advised to accept the offer and then ask for a review within 21 days.
This is due to my work as a childminder as the flat is first floor I cannot prove to Ofsted or in a risk assessment how to get my ratio of 3 children I can look after in my care downstairs safely where they are in my sight at all times. It's a concrete floor and stairs and just too dangerous. I have racked my brains and it just cannot be done.
How do you think I stand?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you can refuse?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thanks.


The council know I am a childminder but I didn't want to say to them I am only going to bid on ground floor due to being told by people in hostel you have to use bids up every week or the council bid for you. I didn't not want to bring jeopodise them choosing property for me to bid on. I did bid on a variety as not always ground floor properties to keep me safe.


Bad luck gave me first floor. I cannot think of any way to get children down safely for my job whilst keeping an eye on them. I have a duty of care to the children and also will need to show to Ofsted how I would do this and I cannot think of a way.


I need a ground floor property.


Shelter website states something about asking for a review based on work commitments etc.


What I am after in advice/case laws on anything that has been successful in getting a review in these kind of circumstances and how a lawyer thinks I stand.


I have been advised not to refuse offer otherwise I could end up with nothing but to accept and I then have 21 days to ask for a review of this.


I'm not just refusing due to any old reason, I want to come off benefits now I'm getting housed as I have always worked and get fully working again. This is my work/career.


Thanks


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Are you proposing to refuse and then ask them to review their offer?

Or accept and then seek a review?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Accept then seek a review.


I'm scared to refuse as I can't leave my son and myself homeless.


This is what Shelter and Civil Law advised to do to protect ourselves.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the information.

I completely agree with your view of this. If you refuse they will say you are intentionally homeless and then it will be game over. Unfortunately quite a lot of people do refuse unreasonably I’m afraid.

In terms of case law, that doesn’t really assist you here. This is a factual test to be considered by the court so previous cases in which something was or was not considered suitable or unsuitable will not bear upon the decision here.

You will get a review. They don’t refuse to review. The question is will it be successful.

There is only really one ground for review and that is that the property is not suitable. The question here is what is meant by ‘not suitable’. A classic case is where a person is unsafe because, for instance, there is a gas leak or the property just plain does not have enough bedrooms so there are over crowding issues.

As a general rule, the fact that your work commitments are not supportable there is not the best challenge I’m afraid. The Council does have to take disruption to work into account and actually that does extend to other caring responsibilities. Generally speaking though that has application to situations where councils move you some distance away from work.

However, ultimately it is your complaint and you can only raise whats available to you. There is no point in asking for review though unless you properly evidence your complaint. You need to gather evidence from Ofsted that this is unacceptable to them or the Council will just refuse on the basis that they are not convinced of the disruption.

Also, if you can gather evidence of your work history then that will be helpful.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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