R (Ariemuguvbe) v LB Islington (2009) QBD (Admin) 24/02/09 [just on Lawtel, not on Bailii yet – what’s up with Bailii?] concerned the meaning of ‘household’ for the purposes of Part VI Housing Act 1996.
A. had applied to Islington as homeless and Islington had accepted the full housing duty. A. and her family were temporarily accommodated in a three bed property. The family comprised A., her husband, her five adult children and three grandchildren. The five adult children were all subject to immigration control.
A. then applied under Part VI for permanent accommodation. Islington offered a two bedroom property on the basis that it was inappropriate to take the five adult children into account for allocation purposes as a) they were subject to immigration control and b) they were not dependent children and could make their own arrangements. Islington further argued that as the children were subject to immigration control and could not work, the provision of housing accommodation would be a breach of the no recourse to public funds condition set on their entry to the UK.
A. applied for judicial review, arguing that Islington were not entitled to exclude her children on the basis that they did not form part of her household to whom housing accommodation could be provided.
Cranston J held:
Local Authorities had a considerable discretion in the exercise of their statutory powers of allocation under s.159 HA 1996, Holmes Moorhouse v Richmond upon Thames (2009) UKHL 7 [Our note here]. However, it was clear that s.160(3) of the Act did not prevent allocation of accommodation to someone whose household contained a person who was not eligible, R (Kimvono) v Tower Hamlets LBC (2001) 33 HLR 78 QD (Admin). There had been no subsequent steps by parliament to change this since that judgment.
But, given that there was no definition of ‘household’ in the Act or in relevant accommodation policy, the LA was entitled to interpret ‘household’ on its normal everyday useage and it was its decision whther the five adult children were members of A.’s household.
Further, the LA was entitled to have regard to the ‘precarious’ immigration status of A.’s children and that provision of accommodation would amount to recourse to public funds for individuals subject to immigration control, Kimvono, and Begum v Tower Hamlets (2003) UKHL 5 applied.
The LA was entitled to reach the decision it did. It had not failed to apply its allocation policy but adopted an appropriate interpretation of ‘household’ given the circumstances of the family.
For A. Edward Fitzpatrick, instructed by Duncan Lewis.
For Islington, Terence Gallivan, instructed by Islington Legal.