Mohamed 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 section 193. The authority told Mrs M that they accepted a duty to arrange accommodation for her but that, although she had a local connection with Ealing where she had lived, she had no connection with Hammersmith, so the applications of both husband and wife were referred to Ealing on the basis that they appeared to have a local connection with Ealing but not with Hammersmith. The decision to refer was upheld on review and in the county court on the basis that the husband’s residence in Hammersmith was not normal residence under 199(1)(a). Hammersmith argued that the occupation of interim accommodation pending a decision on the husband’s application under section 193 could not amount to normal residence. This argument was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The appeal failed. When testing the decision of a local authority to refer an applicant for housing to another local authority, on the basis that the applicant had no local connection, the authority must make allowance for an interim residence in the area. The prima facie meaning of ‘normal residence,’ was a place where, at the relevant time, the person in fact resided. So long as that place where he eat and slept was voluntarily accepted by him, the reason why he was there rather than somewhere else did not prevent that place from being his normal residence. The date at which the connection was to be tested was the date at which the review was carried out, and the review could include matters arising after the initial decision.
The occupation by a homeless person of interim accommodation provided under section 188 of the 1996 Act could be ‘normal residence’ for the purpose of establishing a local connection under section 199.
Lord Slynn of Hadley stated that words like ‘ordinary residence’ and ‘normal residence’ take their precise meaning from the context of the legislation in which they appear. He suggested that the place that a person voluntarily accepts and in which he eats and sleeps is for the relevant time where he normally resides. The fact that the local authority had given him interim accommodation in performance of its statutory duty under section 188 of the 1996 Act did not prevent that accommodation from being the place where he was for the time normally resident.


Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hutton and Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough


Times 02-Nov-2001, Gazette 22-Nov-2001, [2001] UKHL 57, [2002 1 AC 547, [2002] 1 All ER 176, [2002] HLR 7, [2001] 3 WLR 1339, [2002] 1 FCR 183, [2001] NPC 154


House of Lords, Bailii


Housing Act 1996 198 199(1)(a)


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Barnet London Borough Council, Ex parte Shah HL 16-Dec-1982
The five applicants had lived in the UK for at least three years while attending school or college. All five were subject to immigration control, four had entered as students with limited leave to remain for the duration of their studies, and the . .
Appeal fromEaling London Borough Council v Surdonja etc CA 21-Jan-2000
When a local authority came to make the decision about the extent of the local connection of the homelessness applicant with the area, the assessment was to be made as regards the situation at the date of that decision. Where there was a review, the . .
CitedRegina v Eastleigh Borough Council, Ex parte Betts; In re Betts HL 27-Jul-1983
Mr Betts applied to Eastleigh for accommodation under the 1977 Act. They said that he had no local connection and referred his application to Blaby where the applicant and his family had formerly been living. Blaby accepted the referral and offered . .
CitedRegina v London Borough of Southwark ex parte Olivia Hughes Admn 6-Oct-1997
. .

Cited by:

CitedAl-Ameri v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Osmani v London Borough of Harrow (Conjoined Appeals) HL 5-Feb-2004
The applicants had been asylum seekers, and obliged to live in Glasgow. Upon losing their asylum claim, but being given exceptional leave to remain, they sought to be rehoused by the appellants. The appellants had said that the applicants having . .
CitedCalgin, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Enfield Admn 29-Jul-2005
The claimant complained that having applied for housing in the borough they had in fact housed him outside the borough.
Held: The authority had a duty to house the applicant so far it was reasonably practicable within its borders. The policy . .
CitedDesnousse v London Borough of Newham and others CA 17-May-2006
The occupier had been granted a temporary licence by the authority under the homelessness provisions whilst it made its assessment. The assessment concluded that she had become homeless intentionally, and therefore terminated the licence and set out . .
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 . .
CitedBirmingham 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 . .
CitedCornwall Council, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Health and Somerset County Council SC 8-Jul-2015
PH had severe physical and learning disabilities and was without speech, lacking capacity to decide for himself where to live. Since the age of four he received accommodation and support at public expense. Until his majority in December 2004, he was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Local Government

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.166720