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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In July 2013 i was assaulted by my (20 yr old) son (after years

Customer Question

In July 2013 i was assaulted by my (20 yr old) son (after years of constant threats and intimidation) and it was considered to be domestic violence. at the time i was living with my family (4 children aged 17, 15, 5 and 3, not including the perpertrator) in local authority housing. i asked the local authority for a transfer because i and my family were at risk of further violence and they refused outright to help. i persisted with them for a year went to the ombudsman and they eventually admitted they were wrong and we need to be rehoused, in july 2014, the perpetrator returned to the home and me and my family had to flee literally there and then. we ended up staying with my in-laws for 8 weeks, there were 6 of us plus 2 elderly people in a 3 bedroom house. The situation became untenable and we had to borrow £900 to pay bond and 1 month rent on a private rented property. Apart from the traumatic experience of living in fear, being ignored by the council for a whole year, we have had to borrow money we can't pay back & move to private rented accommodation, which is more expensive & less secure than the social housing we were in. In my view, these problems would have been avoided if we had been taken seriously in the first place. Do you think it is possible/worthwhile to sue the council? The ombudsman found that the council acted improperly and offered us £750 redress for trauma we suffered. they do not accept that the council are liable for the money we had to borrow. We really don't feel that this is fair.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I am sorry if I am missing the point but why should the council be liable for this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

because they left us at risk for a year and under the keep safe guildlines, their local authority guild lines and welsh assembly guidelines we should have been moved to a safe location once i presented to them. they have already admitted this. the council has a duty to act when it discovers one of it's tennants are the victims of domestic violence or at risk in their home.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well, that may be right. That appears to have been recognised by the Ombudsman.
That doesn't make them liable for the deposit you had to pay though. There are lots of other housing options I am afraid. I realise they are not particularly attractive ones to you but that doesn't make the council liable to pay for private accommodation.
Apart from anything else it depends on the basis for the Ombudsman's decision. Obviously I haven't seen the ruling but I would imagine the criticism is that they did not act for one year which is an entirely different point to saying that they are liable for the bond.
The real difficulty is that you say he 'returned' to the family which can mean a large number of things. I presume that he is not a named tenant so could not have gained access unless somebody let him and then the police could just have been called. If he did not gain access but just attended then that is not really a ground to leave I am afraid.
I am very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

we don't think that you have understood, please name another housing option that is available other than private.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I think probably they are saying that you could have remained where you were and not allowed him to return.
Ultimately you are free to leave but the Council are not liable to pay.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

i'm sorry, you don't seem to have understood the situation. The council have already ADMITTED in writing that they had a duty to re-house us when I first presented to them and that they failed in that duty. The Public service ombudsman has re-inforced this. I was under the impression that this service was staffed by experts, apparently this is not the case, i would like my money refunded. how do I go about this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok.
Good luck then.
Opting out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
we need someone who can read, and who has some idea about housing law and local councils, is this possible?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. I have read the exchange above. The answer you have received is correct. They have failed in their duty but that doesn't make them liable.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

don't believe you've understood. the previous "expert" clearly didn't understand the situation and based her conclusion on false assumptions, how could it be correct? The council were legally obliged to act a whole year earlier than they actually did, this had consequences, why are they not liable for those consequences?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Okay. I will opt out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
we need somebody who is familiar with wales housing law and the domestic abuse law plz
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
May I ask what else is it you would like to know?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

if you could read the above posts it would be helpful. I will repeat, The council were legally obliged to act a whole year earlier than they actually did, this had consequences, why are they not liable for those consequences?

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Ok let me read this. I am going into a client conference shortly so may be a little on this evening when I reply back.
P
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Just so I am clear, when you leave the current property won't you get the £900 back?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

if we have to move out of here then we get the bond back not the first month rent , but the argument is that we were forced to move out of secure council accommodation because of a risk into private not secure accommodation borrow £900 to do so but if the council had taken it seriously at the time in july 2013 we would have been housed in secure council accommodation. the council have no intention of housing us now, and if we leave here we would be homeless, we were considered to be homeless by the council earlier this year but they failed to find us any where to go, they didn t offer us temporary accommodation nothing, we eventually had to flee the house, this situation was so bad that at one point social services said if he returns to the home they would take the younger children into care and the council ignored us. surley they are liable for their failer which they have admitted to protect us.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Yes I understand that. I just need to be clear will you get the £900 back?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no, if we move out of here we get £450 bond back

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
If you have to pay £900 bond how come you would only get £450 back?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

we have to pay £900 back to the person we loaned from, if we leave here then we obviously get the bond back from the landlord.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
The full £900 bond back? Are you paying interest on the loan?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no, no interest we borrowed it from a relative who has demanded it back

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Ok. My view on this is that you are only liable for a loss. That means any loss as a result of what the Council have done.
Therefore on the basis you would get the £900 back at the end of the term, your actual loss would be interest on the £900 if you have to borrow and pay interest. Although I accept you would not have needed to pay the £900 if the council had done their duty, the fact you het the £900 back at the end means then at that point you are not out of pocket.
If you go to court the judge will only award what losses you have incurred and in this case it would be any interest on the £900. If the council pay you the £900 now then at the end of the rental term you would have the bond back and be in profit by £900.
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to givr you but I hope that I have explained what loss could be recovered.
I can outline the court procedure if you wish, but I don't think your claim would succeed.
Can I clairfy anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you for your reply. i would just like to point out in future when people are answering questions on here they should be able to give a correct answer. this site is advertised as expert legal help and it just goes to show from what alex has said that the other two individual had no clue. also how do you tell somebody who is an abuser to just stay away?

Thankyou alex for your help, we appreciate it xxx

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You would get a solicitor to write a letter and say stay away. If they still refuse you can seek a court injunction to prevent them coming to the property or within a certain distance.
I will pass your comments on to the moderator.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
Alex

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