This is somewhat belated – I’d missed these and the court of appeal isn’t on Bailii to link to – so thanks to Legal Action for the heads up.
White v Southwark LBC  EWCA Civ 792 was an application for permission for a second appeal from a s.204 appeal. Ms White was excluded from her mother’s home when she was 15. her mother said she had behaved unreasonably and broken house rules. Ms White later applied as homeless (apparently when over 18 with no settled interim accommodation – I may be wrong here). She was found intentionally homeless for her actions that resulted in her being excluded from the mother’s home.
The second appeal was on the basis that her acts while a dependent child should not have been considered as the statutory regime did not envisage consideration of either homelessness of dependent children or applications by them.
Held – permission refused. Neither statute nor authorities prevented the consideration of the deliberate acts and omissions of children even at 13, 14 or 15. This conduct can be taken into account in applications by those now non-dependent.
N v Allerdale BC Carlisle County Court 4/08/2008, on the other hand, concerned a finding of intentional homelessness based on the behaviour of the applicant’s child. Ms N was given notice to leave her private rented accommodation due to the behaviour of her son, then 14. The landlord was quite clear it was not a problem with her conduct personally.
Allerdale decided she was intentionally homeless, upheld on review. On s.204 appeal HHJ Peter Hughes allowed the appeal and varied the decision to not intentionally homeless.
- The s.184 was silent on the acts or omissions of the applicant that had rendered her homeless.
- The reviewing officer had failed to identify this fundamental flaw, triggering the requirements of reg 8(2) of Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review procedures) Regs 1999. SI no 71.
- The correct question was not whether the applicant could show she had not acquiesced in her son’s misconduct, but whether, on assessment of the all the available material, was there material that indicated she had not acquiesced.
- The reviewing officer should make clear that the applicant was being held responsible for the acts of another and give clear cogent reasons for this finding.
- Where credibility was at issue, fairness meant that the reviewing officer should have personally interviewed the applicant.
(Counsel, instructed by Shelter, was my new crush, James Stark of GCN)