A LONDONDERRY man who woke up one morning to discover Derry City Council had changed his address without telling him with potential implications for his credit rating and car and house insurance has received an apology and £400 from the local authority, it’s been revealed.
According to a report by the Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley the Council said the man’s address had been changed without his knowledge “as the developer had failed to follow proper procedure in consulting with the affected residents.”
But Mr Frawley said the council had no right under law to change addresses. He also found evidence of poor record-keeping and maladministration within Derry City Council.
Details of the case have been published in the NI Ombudsman’s Digest Issue 5, December 2012.
The Londonderry man complained to the Ombudsman over Derry City Council’s failure to consult on the change of a road name.
Apparently, the man bought a new property in 2006 but two years later received a letter from Derry City Council advising that his address had been changed.
The report states: “The complainant was concerned about this change and raised the issue with the Council. The Council subsequently wrote to him to advise that his address had been changed, as the developer had failed to follow proper procedure in consulting with the affected residents.
“However, the complainant believed his address had been changed, as he had encountered difficulties during credit rating checks, and he believed that his house / car insurance could have been invalidated.
“My investigation revealed evidence of maladministration by the Council. In particular, I found that the Council does not have the statutory authority to change an address, while their Building Control Department had issued a letter to the complainant advising that his address had been changed.
“I also identified poor record keeping by the Council in its correspondence with external bodies, in particular, its correspondence with Land and Property Service.”
As a result of these discoveries he advised the Council’s Chief Executive to “personally issue an apology to the complainant and issue a payment of £400 for the upset, frustration and inconvenience caused.”
Mr Frawley said he was “pleased to record that my recommendations were accepted.”