Ealing Council has apologised to a family who lived in unsuitable accommodation for nearly 18 months and paid them £3,400 after an investigation by the local government ombudsman.
The young homeless family lived in a 10th floor flat with faulty windows, leaks, damp, mould, and exposed electrical cables, the investigation found.
The council agreed the flat was unsuitable and had disrepair issues when the family complained about the temporary accommodation in May 2021.
It placed the family on its transfer list, but it was not until 17 months later that they were moved to alternative accommodation.
The ombudsman’s investigation found the council was not properly recording what it was doing and could not demonstrate the action it took to find suitable accommodation for the family.
It also criticised the council’s delay in taking action.
The council agreed to review its record keeping procedures to develop a system of recording actions taken to find accommodation for individual applicants.
Nigel Ellis, chief executive at the local government and social care ombudsman, said: 'While we are mindful of the difficulties councils face – particularly in London – in securing accommodation, councils must ensure that the accommodation they do provide is suitable.
'In this case, not only was the accommodation not suitable, it was beset with disrepair issues. The family have told me of their concerns for their children living in a high-rise flat with unsafe windows and exposed electrics.
'I am pleased the council has accepted my recommendations to remedy the situation for this family. It has told me there are 31 other households on its transfer list for temporary accommodation, so I have asked it to consider remedying any complaints of injustice to those other households too.'