Wrong information in Housing ad’s

Published Date
01/10/2013
Author
Housing investigation

Wrong information in Housing ad’s

For the past two years, I have been biding to get a flat from the council housing list. After years of getting nothing, in September I was finally offered a flat, which had level access entry, an easily accessible shower, allowed pets, came with a shared garden and was a long-term tenancy. The flat is further down south which means travelling anywhere is a much longer journey. Then I got a phone call, telling me that the flat had been advertised inaccurately, when in fact the flat had a long steep ramp upto the front door and two steps. The shower turned out to be a bath with a shower in it. I didn’t get any explanation as to how this happened or why? Plymouth Housing and the landlords eventually agreed to call me back in a few days, with some answers and more information. I had taken the phone call during work, and so had to get on with my job in the meantime, but struggled to as I was in a state of shock. After talking with family and friends, we agreed that I should take a look at the property for myself, so I knew what I was being offered. Plymouth Housing, called again to ask me what I wanted to do, I simply asked again how this had happened? Instead they avoided answering my question and passed on their apologies ‘I am sorry but the property was advertised wrong’, and that they don’t think the flat is suitable for me and that they want to relist it. I wondered how can you know my needs if you have never met with me. I try to reiterate to them that if all that is needed is another ramp then I am sure this could easily be done and at the end of the day you are the ones who listed it as wheelchair accessible to start with. Instead I just get another apology but am none the wiser as to how such a mistake could have happened. I asked if they could send me some photos of the flat and measure the doorways, as I dont know how wide a standard doorway is, as they kept telling me.

After the disappointing phone call, I did some research into properties advertised on the local authority council housing register and whether there is any legislation that says that they need to make properties meet the person’s needs, before they offer it. What’s the point in bidding then?

Funnily enough I found out that if I gave them wrong information, then I would be fined £500 but there is no fine when a housing association, puts up the wrong information about a listing.

I then get another phone call from Plymouth Housing, telling me that a housing officer will take photos of the flat for me, but they still insisted that the property was not suitable for me. I later received the photos in an email and it showed that there was a hill with a corner leading to the flat, two steps at the front door and a bath. Within the email, I was told that I would need an OT assessment and that they would need to come with me to the flat viewing. Seeing the photos really hit home with me, as they really did advertise a non-wheelchair accessible property as wheelchair accessible. During the next phone call from them I asked again if they had found out how the mix up had happened and once again I was met with no answer to my question. I asked to see the flat and informed them, that it maybe sometime before I could find an OT to accompany me. They said that they would call me back in the morning.

The next day they call and say that they have links with OT’s, so they can arrange for one to come with them to the viewing, when I am free. I said I would text to confirm a time and a date, and they said they would send a letter. I also asked for a copy of their complaints procedure to be included with the letter, to which they replied that it could be found online, I said that I would like a paper copy.

The flat was really nice, and now I could see that all I needed was a ramp to be fitted because of the steps and that there was enough space to get around without impinging me through walkways; however the OT said that they couldn’t provide a ramp because of the gradient, as it would not be within their guidelines. I was happy to take the risk, and I would buy a ramp or find a way to have one made for me.

I was given the weekend to make up my mind about whether I wanted to go forwards, during which I spent hours researching into what type of work was needed. On Monday morning I called and told them that I wanted to go ahead, I wanted the property. I was then told I should hear from them on Tuesday. Weeks later I called again to find out what has happened, as I’ve had no time off work to chase them up sooner. A few minutes later I am told that the offer is being withdrawn because it would be disadvantageous to others if I am given this flat, as it was advertised wrong.

I did not get any explanation or answers as to how they could advertise a flat wrong. I did get a copy for the complaints procedure.

I have called repeatedly and spoken to everyone possible about this but no one is going to budge. I am still bidding to get a flat, as my current landlord is looking to sell my current flat.

This has left me with only one question; what do I bid for now?

 

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