A disabled man and his family were left in mouldy, mouse-infested housing due to failings by Enfield Council, a report reveals.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King has rapped the council over delays that meant the family was stuck in unsuitable accommodation for three years.

The Ombudsman’s report reveals that after becoming homeless in June 2017, the family was placed in temporary accommodation by the council.

More than six months later, the council’s own review found the property was unsuitable. It found the father had trouble accessing the property, a ramp that was installed did not fit securely and the house could not be adapted for his wheelchair.

The man also found managing his personal hygiene and using the toilet difficult, and the council said it would find alternative accommodation.

But even though the family’s representative told the council the property had severe mould and mice infestations, the landlord was slow to fix problems and the toilet leaked, the council did not find them a new home.

They were eventually given a new home by a local housing association in August this year.

The council told the Ombudsman there was a shortage of wheelchair-adapted houses, so people must wait a long time for them to become available.

But the Ombudsman found the council should have enough housing. According to his report, Enfield has not had a policy for procuring sufficient temporary accommodation since February 2018.

The Ombudsman also said the council should have accepted a complaint made by the family’s representative.

Enfield Council has apologised and will pay the family £250 for every month they were in unsuitable accommodation. It has also agreed to draw up a procurement policy.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King said: “The law doesn’t allow councils to leave people in unsuitable accommodation just because it can’t find anything suitable. It should have enough housing.

“In this case it had a significant impact on the family – the father slept on an airbed downstairs and was forced to use a commode as he could not access the bathroom safely. He could not live with dignity, and he was unable to take part in normal family life, putting his children to bed or look after them if they woke in the night.

“I’m pleased the council has accepted my recommendations, but it should not have taken a second investigation by my office to put things right properly for this family. I hope the changes it will now make will ensure others are not affected in the same way in future.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to the family for the delay in securing a property that met their needs and the distress this caused the family. We are pleased to now confirm that the family has been allocated a suitable home.

“Since this case was first raised, Enfield Council has taken wide ranging measures to tackle the severe homelessness pressures in the borough and the shortage of affordable, accessible housing, which are exacerbated by a lack of sufficient funding from the Government.

“We have introduced a new Housing Advisory Service to support residents at an earlier stage and are taking steps to increase the amount of private rented accommodation available to residents through the establishment of an ethical lettings agency. We are also pursuing ambitious plans to building thousands of new accessible and affordable homes in the borough.”