Birmingham City Council v Ali and Others; Moran v Manchester City Council: HL 1 Jul 2009

Homelessness Status Requires LA Action

The House considered appeals challenging whether local authorities who gave unacceptable housing to the homeless had satisfied their obligations to them as homeless people. What was meant by the phrase ‘accommodation which it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy’? In the Birmingham cases large families had been temporarily housed in accommodation which was too small, and in the Manchester case a mother having rejected the unsatisfactory temporary accommodation had been deemed intentionally homeless.
Held: Parliament did not intend that a woman who left her violent partner and found temporary shelter in a women’s refuge should no longer be considered homeless. The refuge was a mere staging post until she had decided where to go from there. However, it is proper for a local authority to decide that it would not be reasonable for a person to continue to occupy the accommodation which is available to him or her, even if it is reasonable for that person to occupy it for a little while longer, if it would not be reasonable for the person to continue to occupy the accommodation for as long as he or she will have to do so unless the authority take action.
It was lawful for Birmingham to decide that an applicant is homeless because it is not reasonable for him to remain in his present accommodation indefinitely but to leave him there for the short term. We would not agree that it is lawful for them to leave such families where they are until a house becomes available under the council’s allocation scheme. The present accommodation may become unsuitable long before then. In the Manchester case the decision that Mrs Moran was intentionally homeless was quashed.

Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
[2009] UKHL 36, Times 07-Jul-2009, [2009] NPC 88, [2009] 1 WLR 1506, [2009] PTSR 1270, [2009] 4 All ER 161, [2009] BLGR 749
Housing Act 1996 193(2), Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977
England and Wales
PreferredCodona v Mid-Bedfordshire District Council CA 15-Jul-2004
A homeless gypsy caravan dweller applied for housing. The authority offered temporary bed and breakfast accomodation. She complained that she had an aversion to living in bricks and mortar.
Held: The authority had discharged its function. The . .
CitedPaterson v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis EAT 23-Jul-2007
A police officer was found by the Tribunal to be significantly disadvantaged compared with his peers when carrying out examinations for promotion. Nonetheless, the Tribunal held that he . .
CitedAweys and Others, Regina (on the Application Of) v Birmingham City Council Admn 26-Jan-2007
The applicant complained that the respondent’s housing allocation policies were unlawful, giving priority to those who were homeless or in temporary accommodation over those it had been found to be in overcrowded conditions.
Held: The policy . .
Not preferredBirmingham City Council v Aweys and others CA 7-Feb-2008
If accommodation is not reasonable for a person to occupy, it is not suitable for him. Arden LJ said: ‘homelessness is a large social problem directly and substantially affecting the lives of many people in the UK, and those who depend on them, . .
CitedRegina v London Borough of Ealing Ex parte Sidhu 2-Jan-1982
The applicant, in flight from domestic violence, had gone with her two young children, to stay in a women’s refuge. The local authority argued that she was not homeless because she had accommodation available to her in the refuge.
Held: The . .
CitedRegina v Waveney District Council ex parte Bowers 25-May-1982
The applicant sought judicial review of a decision that he was not homeless under section 1 of the Act. For 15 months he had been using a night shelter in Lowestoft. It was an unheated dormitory in a derelict building. It was empty and closed . .
CitedRegina v Hillingdon London Borough Council Ex parte Puhlhofer HL 2-Jan-1986
Not Homeless Even if Accomodation Inadequate
The applicants, a married couple, lived with a young child and later also a baby in one room of a guest house. They were given breakfast but had no cooking or washing facilities. They succeeded on a judicial review of the housing authority’s . .
CitedAhmad, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Newham HL 4-Mar-2009
The claimant wished to be rehoused by the defendant authority. He complained that their allocations policy was unlawful. Once an applicant was deemed in priority need, he entered a pool if such persons and houses were allocated (save in extreme . .
CitedRegina v Brent London Borough Council Ex Parte Awua HL 6-Jul-1995
The term ‘Accommodation’ in the Act was to be read to include short term lettings, and was not to be restricted to secure accommodation, and the loss of such accommodation can be counted as intentional homelessness. If a person who had been provided . .
CitedStewart v London Borough of Lambeth CA 26-Apr-2002
The local authority said that the claimant, having been sentenced to a term of five years imprisonment for drugs offences, had made himself intentionally homeless within the section. While in prison, he was evicted from the flat for non-payment of . .
CitedAlam v London Borough of Tower Hamlets Admn 23-Jan-2009
The claimant sought to challenge the defendant’s housing allocation policy. He said that as a homeless person he should have been given a reasonable preference for housing. The authority said he was not in priority need, and that the temporary . .
Appeal fromManchester City Council v Moran and Another; Richards v Ipswich Borough Council CA 17-Apr-2008
The two applicants had occupied a women’s refuge. They appealed against a refusal to consider them as homeless when they acted in such a way as to be evicted from the refuge, saying that the refuge did not constitute ‘accommodation . . which it . .
CitedB, Regina (on the Application Of) v Southwark Admn 4-Jul-2003
A young offender was to be released subject to being tagged. He wished to apply for housing.
Held: The claimant should be considered homeless. He had ‘no accomodation available for his occupation’ under the Act. Prison was not a right to . .
CitedMohamed v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council HL 1-Nov-2001
Mrs M came to England in 1994 living first in Ealing and then Hammersmith. Mr M came later and lived elsewhere in Hammersmith. Hammersmith gave them jointly temporary accommodation, first in a hotel and then in a flat. They then applied under . .

Cited by:
CitedKing, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 27-Mar-2012
In each case the prisoners challenged their transfer to cellular confinement or segregation within prison or YOI, saying that the transfers infringed their rights under Article 6, saying that domestic law, either in itself or in conjunction with . .
CitedZH and CN, Regina (on The Applications of) v London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham SC 12-Nov-2014
The court was asked whether the 1977 Act required a local authorty to obtain a court order before taking possession of interim accommodation it provided to an apparently homeless person while it investigated whether it owed him or her a duty under . .
CitedHaile v London Borough of Waltham Forest SC 20-May-2015
‘The question in this case is whether the appellant falls within the scope of section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 as amended, which applies, by virtue of subsection (1), where the local housing authority are satisfied that ‘an applicant is homeless, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Local Government

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.368923