A family evicted by a private landlord and made homeless during the pandemic were failed by Tower Hamlets Council when they sought help.

The local authority “did not do enough” for the family being evicted, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has found.

The landlord served the notice in November 2021, when the family contacted the Town Hall.

But the council failed to respond properly or take action, according to a condemning report this week by the Ombudsman.

The council should have had reason to believe the family were eligible for housing assistance and provided interim accommodation — but failed to do so, the report says.

“The family had to face the humiliation and indignity of being evicted by bailiffs from their home,” Local Government Ombudsman Amerdeep Somal said.

“This case demonstrates how vital it is for councils to follow the correct process at the earliest opportunity for vulnerable families at risk of losing their homes.

“Instead, Tower Hamlets relied on ‘gatekeeping’ their services and not acting until the family’s situation was desperate.

“The family had the embarrassment of having to ask friends and relatives to look after their belongings until they were properly housed.”

Tower Hamlets has since agreed to recommendations to prevent this happening to others, the Ombudsman says.

The family had nowhere else to go when they were served with the eviction notice and had to stay put, the Ombudsman's report says. The father was disabled and relatives struggled to find another home for them.

They spent months not knowing how or when the council would help and were eventually evicted by bailiffs, then having to ask friends to look after their belongings while spending months in bed and breakfast accommodation.

The council has agreed to pay the family £1,355 “for the uncertainty, worry and avoidable costs” they faced.

It is also deciding on the family’s priority on the housing register, back-dated to October 2022 “when it should have made a main housing duty decision”.

Tower Hamlets is now required to “learn from the case” with all housing and social care officers who deal with homelessness making sure lessons are learned. Council officers have been “reminded of their duties to homeless people” and the steps they need to take.

A council statement said: “We fully accept the report and its findings and apologise for the uncertainty and upset we caused him and his family.

“These findings came at a time when we were facing unprecedented demand for housing and homelessness services.

“Our team is working to improve and already acting on the report’s recommendations.”