A man who is living with long Covid has claimed he could face homelessness as a result of “negligence” by Barnet Council’s housing arm.

Michael Omezi, a former council employee, said Barnet Homes gave him temporary housing but later threatened to evict him after finding that he could still legally live with his partner.

Barnet Homes has a duty to provide interim accommodation when people are homeless and in priority need, pending further enquiries. But Michael believes the organisation should have checked key documents beforehand – and if it had, he would not face becoming homeless again. 

“I gave them all the information,” Michael said. “They just offered me the property and then, after that, started to conduct the investigation, and they are now quoting the law.

“But if they had done their homework, we would not be where we are today.

“All they are stating is that you are legally still married, so go back to the property.”

Michael worked for Barnet Council for 13 years and was made redundant in 2014. He had developed a critical illness the previous year that required chemotherapy, and he is still living with the illness. He said he had undergone several operations and was also recovering from long Covid.

After the relationship with his partner ended, Michael contacted Barnet Homes. He said a housing officer asked him a series of questions, and he complied with their requests to send in documentation.

The council housing arm offered him a property in Friern Barnet. But Michael said he was told “two weeks or so later” that he would have to move out again, because Barnet Homes had checked the Land Registry and found he was registered on the property he had previously lived in with his wife.

“The housing officer said ‘you need to move out’,” Michael said. “I said, ‘where do you want me to move to’? He said ‘it has nothing to do with us’. At that stage, I was really upset.”

Michael said he appealed the decision and wrote a “strong letter” saying Barnet Homes had been “negligent”, had “not done their job properly” and had decided to “wash their hands” of him. After allowing the appeal, Barnet Homes agreed he could remain in the property for several more months.

In a statement, the council’s housing arm said: “Barnet Homes understands the difficult situation Mr Omezi finds himself in and will work with him to find a solution. Normally, once a Section 184 decision is issued, we end the provision of temporary accommodation. In this case, it was ended as our decision was that Mr Omezi was not was homeless.

“For anyone who approaches our service and we have reason to believe they are eligible, homeless and in priority need, we have a duty to provide interim accommodation in the first instance pending further enquiries. In this case we did. Further enquiries we made found that Mr Omezi has matrimonial rights to a property, and this was the reason for our original decision.

“However, we decided to exercise discretion to keep Mr Omezi’s temporary accommodation open while his Section 202 review goes through. We will not evict Mr Omezi while the review is ongoing.”