A council in London has been ordered to repay thousands of pounds to a woman who was forced to sleep on the sofa for three years while she and her disabled husband were on the waiting list for a two-bedroom flat.
The 60-year-old woman could not sleep in the bed next to her husband of 40 years because of his disability.
But instead of finding an alternative to the couple’s one bedroom council flat a court heard Croydon Council bosses asked the judge to enforce a “highly Draconian” order preventing the couple from living together.
Mrs Justice Lieven said she had asked what steps had been taken to find the couple more suitable accommodation, and had been told that no supported flats were available.
She said she had been told that the couple “were simply on the local authority’s waiting list” for a two-bedroom flat.
“It is obvious to me that before seeking a highly draconian order… it was incumbent on the local authority to ensure that they had suitable accommodation,” said the judge.
“That simply has not been done.”
Mrs Justice Lieven labelled the council’s conduct “reprehensible” and said they should repay thousands of pounds worth of legal aid bills, which the couple spent on lawyers.
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She said the couple’s relationship became ‘troubled’ and they had been living under ‘extreme strain’ because of their living situation.
The couple is now reportedly considering bringing damage claims against the council over the failings.
Details of the case have emerged in a ruling published by the judge, following a recent hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.