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Is this disability discrimination

(141 Posts)
Sweetfa22 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:20:27

This is my first post (although i do read loads) so please be nice as I'm an emotional wreck. Any friends here will know me and my situation. I need advice on whether you think I may have a case for discrimination against my local housing authority. It's a long one.
My dh and I have 5 kids ranging from 20 to 4. We lived in a lovely council house semi detached in a quiet area which had 6 big stone steps leading up to the front door where there were another 2 large steps to get into the house. I wasn't disabled when we got the house so all was fine. After a year I became registered disabled (I'm 44) due to chronic pain and progressive degenerative sacroilitis. I really struggle to mobilise and have been in and out of hospital loads for pain management. The council managed to adapt the inside of the house to meet my disability needs after much shouting and begging and emails to the chief exec. They installed a wet room into my downstairs bedroom so I could function a bit easier as stairs cripple me. We also spent around £9k landscaping our garden to make it accessible for me to use, with decking area, new lawn etc. It's beautiful. We'd no intention of moving home so we spent the money doing the house up. Now my condition is worsening and I was really struggling to access the house using the wheelie bin ramp that was put in as the stairs are so steep to get bins down. The council have tried everything apparantly to install a metal wheelchair ramp but they say the layour prevents them from getting the proper gradients so it couldn't be done. We were given a letter telling us to find another suitable property either through the home swap system or private rent or bid on other properties. Each option would cost us money we don't have. We've since been offered a property in another town which has level access and we've had no choice but to take it as I'm really struggling to enter/leave my old house. We had literally 2 weeks to move house as we can't afford 2 rents etc. The new place needed fully redecorated and carpeted (our existing carpets wouldn't do and my mum kindy paid for new ones). My issue is that we are now seriously in debt after having to pay for paints brushes new blinds curtains etc. My kitchen has no cooker as we had to buy new integrated oven and separate hob for the old house when it was adapted for me. This new place has no space for any of these appliances and I can't use a normal cooker as I struggle to bend down hence buying the build in oven. These appliances are still in the old house and we need to hand the keys back on Monday. We've had to fork out for a skip for rubbish, pay removal vans and spend a whole heap of money we had to borrow in order to move house. All because I'm disabled and the council couldn't put a wheelchair ramp in. I'm so angry that we get no help no recompense and nothing but debt because of this. As well as having to pay higher rent and double the council tax for a house the same size as we had to leave. If I wasn't disabled then we wouldn't have to move. Aibu to feel really pissed off and discriminated against because I'm now disabled. Do you think I have a case for suing for losses after all the work we've put into the other house, purely because they couldn't make it accessible?

RainbowsAndUnicorn Tue 21-Feb-17 18:23:38

Why didn't you spend the money on a ramp instead of a new lawn?

They didn't force you to spend £9k on a garden that you didn't even own so I doubt you have means to claim the money back.

Grilledaubergines Tue 21-Feb-17 18:23:58

I really sympathise but I don't think it's discrimination. They've clearly done a survey of the access to your property and a ramp isn't safely possible. They've offered you an alternative but understandably you don't want to move having spend substantial money on marking the house a home.

I don't see what else they could do.

But I am sorry, you must be very upset about it all.

SlimForSummer Tue 21-Feb-17 18:25:29

To be fair everybody else has to pay for these sorts of things by themselves.

skippythebushkangarootoo Tue 21-Feb-17 18:28:13

Really? They spent a fortune of taxpayers money trying to sort it for you, you still aren't happy, got another free house and you want to sue? 🍘

witsender Tue 21-Feb-17 18:29:42

It isn't really discrimination is it? You spent money on a home you didn't own, just like private rental. The council can't facilitate the changes so have given you somewhere else. All the associated cost of moving are yours, whether you rent from the council or anyone else.

TheCatsMother99 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:30:21

Doesn't sound like discrimination to me as they have tried to install the ramp and they've given you other housing options.

Live and learn by this. It's very very risky spending that amount of money on things that aren't essential when you don't own the property. I appreciate it will have been nice to have a nice garden but the £9k would have been better placed elsewhere to make the house itself more suitable. Or at the very least perhaps holding off on spending that till you knew for sure the house would be adapted for you.

TheCatsMother99 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:31:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

AndShesGone Tue 21-Feb-17 18:32:46

Are you saying you think the council COULD have provided suitable access to your front door but decided not to?

If it COULD be done why didn't you do that with your 9 grand ?

cafenoirbiscuit Tue 21-Feb-17 18:33:30

They should have tried a step lift

Sirzy Tue 21-Feb-17 18:33:50

Sounds like they have tried everything they can, why did you spend so much on a garden rather than thinking ahead to practical things like access?

heartisshattered Tue 21-Feb-17 18:34:41

don't spend 9k on a property you don't own

Pippa12 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:35:41

I can understand why you are devastated and angry at the situation. Having to leave your home due to disability is awful and really sad

Unfortunately i doubt you'll be able to sue for loses if the council have solid ground to refuse a wheel chair ramp. Im sure you've exhausted every avenue, but why couldn't you source somebody to do this work privately? I hope somebody with legal background will be able to give you an answer. I hope you manage to get settled in your new home flowers

Pinotwoman82 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:36:14

To be honest 9k is a lot to spend on a garden

Soubriquet Tue 21-Feb-17 18:37:40

Council says it wasn't possible

Therefore no discrimation took place

SuburbanRhonda Tue 21-Feb-17 18:38:08

How come your council tax is twice as much if the house is no bigger?

heebiejeebie Tue 21-Feb-17 18:38:15

If you want legal advice have a look at Disability law service dls.org.uk

They tried, they couldn't do it...not unusual with steep steps and little room for options....no discrimination took place and I can't believe you actually think suing them is a sensible decision

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 21-Feb-17 18:43:08

It doesn't sound as if you have been discriminated against as it would appear they have done all they can for you. It is not their fault that they cannot put in a ramp that gives the legal gradients that are required.

You do realise that if you had purchased your own home all the adjustments etc would have been at your own expense and if they hadn't been able to be done at your purchased property you would have the expense of selling and buying etc including stamp duty.

TaliDiNozzo Tue 21-Feb-17 18:43:44

I sympathise OP. It's not a great situation at all. However, I'm not seeing the discrimination in this. Can you explain a bit more specifically why you feel like this?

TaliDiNozzo Tue 21-Feb-17 18:45:28

I realise it's too late for this now, but would it not have been possible for you to put in a lift rather than a ramp? I'm thinking something like this (hopefully the photo attached!).

Grilledaubergines Tue 21-Feb-17 18:45:55

OP, if you sued, would you have the funds to pay for legal costs?

Oblomov17 Tue 21-Feb-17 18:47:48

Not disability discrimination.
You shouldn't have spent the £9k.

orangepudding Tue 21-Feb-17 18:49:18

It sounds like they tried but couldn't make the access any easier in your old house.
Did you ask any private companies of making access easier was possible?

witsender Tue 21-Feb-17 18:49:37

I do sympathise, but this situation isn't anyone's fault, it just is what it is.

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