Client not intentionally homeless after leaving flat in disrepair
The client made a Homelessness Application but the Council stated that the client made herself intentionally homeless and therefore they do not have a duty to accommodate her.
Our client and her children had been living in rented accommodation which was in a serious state of disrepair. This was having a bad effect on her and her children’s health and included:
- Mould on the windows
- Damp on the walls
- A leaking roof
- A bed was always wet because of damp.
The landlord had promised to move her but did nothing. The problems were so bad that she moved out of the rented accommodation and in with her parents. She stayed with her parents for 5 months however the premises were so seriously overcrowded that it was not possible for her to remain and she applied to the council for housing.
To be considered as homeless our client would have to satisfy the following criteria:
- Be homeless
- Be eligible for assistance
- Be in priority need of help
- Not be intentionally homeless
- Have a local area connection
We advised that she satisfied all the above but the council refused her application on the grounds that she had left her rented flat, which they considered her last settled accommodation, voluntarily. They said she had therefore made herself intentionally homeless. We advised her that we would argue that her last settled accommodation was her parents’ house and that she had to leave that as it was overcrowded.
We therefore requested a Section 202 Review of the Council decision’s that the client was intentionally homeless. This is the start of a review procedure, which if not successful, can be taken on appeal to a judge of the County Court. We made lengthy submissions on behalf of the client which resulted in the Council overturning their original decision. The Council confirmed that the client was not intentionally homeless and provided her with accommodation.