Homeless client’s appeal succeeds
Waltham Forest council said that a one bedroom flat they had offered was suitable. Our client had applied as homeless with her disabled son. The Council had accepted a full homelessness duty. This was because it was satisfied that she was homeless, eligible and in priority need. They agreed that she was not intentionally homeless. Our client turned it down as unsuitable because:
- It was too far from the special needs nursery her son attended.
- The property had only one bedroom and all the medical evidence indicated that he needed a separate bedroom.
Waltham Forest then said they no longer had to house our client as she had rejected an offer of suitable accommodation. Our client requested a review which was dismissed within days.
Moss & Co tenants department were then asked to advise and quickly identified that the Council had not considered all the evidence. This was an error of law. Legal Aid was obtained and we made an appeal to the County Court under s.204 of the Housing Act 1996 . After consideration of our legal arguments and grounds of appeal, the Council agreed to settle. They accepted our client remained homeless and that:
- They had a duty to house our client
- A further offer of suitable accommodation would be made
- They would pay the legal costs
Applicants who apply for Housing as homeless can refuse offers of accommodation which are genuinely unsuitable. This case succeeded because we could show that the Council had not taken proper account of the client’s or her son’s needs. But beware – there have to be genuine reasons backed by hard evidence. A refusal to accept accommodation without genuine reasons supported by evidence will mean that the applicant does not get housed.