Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2007] All ER (D) 230 (Jan)
Neutral Citation: [2007] EWHC 52 (Admin)
Court: Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Judge:

Collins J

Representation Zia Nabi (instructed by the Community Law Partnership) for the claimants in the first five sets of proceedings.
  Joshua Dubin (instructed by the Community Law Partnership) for the claimant in the sixth set of proceedings.
  Nicholas Nicol (instructed by the Community Law Partnership) for the claimant in the seventh set of proceedings.
  Catherine Rowlands (instructed by Mirza Ahmad) for the authority.
Judgment Dates: 26 January 2007

Catchwords

Housing - Homeless person - Duty of housing authority to provide accommodation - Discharge of duty - Local authority accepting statutory duty to secure offer of suitable accommodation - Policy of local authority to discharge statutory duty by offering settled accommodation pursuant to allocation scheme - Local authority failing to discharge duty - Whether local authority in breach of duty - Whether allocation scheme unlawful - , ss 175(3), 188, 193, 195.

The Case

It was a breach of the duty to provide suitable accommodation under s193 of the for a local authority to require families to remain in unsuitable accommodation until suitable settled accommodation was found for them. Families might prefer to remain in unsuitable accommodation for a short time, but that was a matter for agreement and not for compulsion. If the test under s175(3) of the Act was met, namely that it was no longer reasonable for a person to continue to occupy his existing accommodation, that accommodation could not be regarded as suitable, however temporary it might be expected to be. The duty to make inquiries under s184 of the 1996 Act was triggered if it was apparent from what was said by an applicant or from anything in writing that he might be homeless or threatened with homelessness, which, having regard to s175(3) of the Act, would include complaints that the conditions in his existing accommodation were so bad that he wanted a transfer or needed to find somewhere else. All steps taken to avoid homelessness were laudable, but, having regard to s195 of the Act, had to be taken in parallel to the carrying out of the authority's duty under PtVII.

Practice Areas

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