Hotak v Southwark LBC  EWCA Civ 515 concerned a short point on whether an authority was entitled to have regard to the assistance that a homeless person would receive, in the event he became homeless, when determining whether he was vulnerable or not.
The facts of the case were this: Mr Hotak had come to London with his brother. They moved into a flat in Peckham. They were asked to leave the flat and both approached Southwark for assistance (albeit Mr Hotak’s brother at that time was ineligible for assistance and so the application was made in Mr Hotak’s name only).
Southwark accepted that Mr Hotak’s suffered from depression, … Read the full post
In which two [now confirmed as four] Housing Associations behave very badly in anticipation of the benefit cap.
Haringey is one of the pilot boroughs for the benefit cap, limiting the total amount of benefit, including housing benefit/LHA (and astonishingly Child Benefit) that any household can receive to £500 per week. The prospective effects of the benefit cap on housing provision and the homeless have become apparent in the astonishing actions of two [now three] Housing Associations.
First up, and in Haringey, Genesis. The Guardian reported on ‘eviction letters’ being send to Genesis tenants because of the benefit cap. Although it isn’t clear from the report, I’ve established that these … Read the full post
We are all aware that there is no general entitlement to permanent accommodation via the Part VII route (R v Brent ex p Awua). So it is interesting to find a s.204 appeal where it was argued that the Appellant had a legitimate expectation of permanent accommodation in preference to anything else that the Council might offer.
The judgement in Obiorah v LB Lewisham  EWCA Civ 325 contains, unusually, scant background information about the Appellant and the property that was offered to her in discharge of the homelessness duty.
The Court of Appeal’s judgement reveals a long history of accommodation that was offered, withdrawn and compromised … Read the full post
Shelter have produced a briefing on the use of Localism Act powers to place homeless applicants in private sector accommodation, aimed at Local Authorities and Councillors,
Changes in the Localism Act 2011 give local authorities more scope to place homeless households in private rented homes, increasing your options for placements. These powers also provide an opportunity to build stronger links with local landlords and raise the general standards of rented homes in your area.
The briefing is also obviously of interest and potential use to those advising or acting for homeless people, not least as it engages with the alternatives that might avoid a necessity of private sector discharge.… Read the full post
Chishimba v RBKC, Court of Appeal, March 25, 2013, [from a lawtel note - not on bailii yet] concerned an appeal brought by a homeless applicant. The issue was whether Ms Chishimba had become intentionally homeless.
Ms Chishimba approached the authority for assistance under Part 7. When asked about her immigraiton status she supplied the authority with a British passport. The passport was, however, a counterfeit and Ms Chishimba was not eligible for assistance. She therefore committed, at the very least, the criminal offence under s.214, Housing Act 1996.
The authority, however, were unaware it was a counterfeit passport and appear (it is not entirely clear from the note) to … Read the full post
In El-Dinnaoui v Westminster CC  EWCA Civ 231, the Court of Appeal found that the offer of a flat on the 16th floor of a block to a household which contained a person with fear of heights was perverse. The offer of accommodation was “in the teeth” of the medical evidence. How could the case have got this far, one might well ask? At heart in this case, there is something interesting about the reception by homelessness officers about medical evidence (see comments at the end). The final point by way of introduction is a hat-tip to Debra Wilson at Anthony Gold who, I’m told, took Mr El-Dinnaoui’s appeal pro … Read the full post
Sharif v The London Borough of Camden  UKSC 10
Does accommodation available for occupation by a person and those reasonably expected to reside with them have to be in one unit of accommodation?
In this case, the Court of Appeal had said yes (our report here), rejecting Camden’s argument that two separate flats on the same floor of a hostel building could be considered as ‘accommodation available to occupy’ for Ms Shairf, her much younger sister and her father, who needed her care. The full facts are in our earlier report.
Camden appealed to the Supreme Court.
The issue was the meaning of ‘together with’ in section 176 … Read the full post