Regina 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 with accommodation in accordance with section 65(2) of the 1985 Act was once again made homeless or threatened with homelessness (for example, because the Council or other landlord had terminated his right of occupation), he might apply again, and the Council would be required once again to make enquiries under section 62(1). Suitability is primarily a matter of space and arrangement though no doubt other matters may also be material. It is important when considering an authority’s duty under the two parts of the Act not to confuse them.
Lord Hoffmann reviewed the case law: ‘The consequence of the decision in Ex parte Puhlhofer was that a person accommodated in conditions so intolerable that it would not be reasonable for him to continue to occupy that accommodation was not homeless although, if he actually left, he would not thereby become intentionally homeless. This produced the inconvenient result that persons living in such conditions had to put themselves on the street before they could activate the local authority’s duty to provide them with accommodation. To remedy this difficulty, the 1986 amendments (by sections 14(1) and (2)) again introduced a definition of ‘accommodation’ in section 58(2A) of the Act of 1985: ‘A person shall not be treated as having accommodation unless it is accommodation which it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy.’ Guidance on the quality of accommodation which a local housing authority is entitled to treat as reasonable for a person to continue to occupy is provided by section 58(2B) (as added by the Act of 1986):
‘Regard may be had, in determining whether it would be reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation, to the general circumstances prevailing in relation to housing in the district of the local housing authority to whom he has applied for accommodation or for assistance in obtaining accommodation.’
It follows that a local authority is entitled to regard a person as having accommodation (and therefore as not being homeless) if he has accommodation which, having regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (2B), it can reasonably consider that it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy.’
Lord Hoffmann also said: ‘there is nothing in the Act to say that a local authority cannot take the view that a person can reasonably be expected to continue to occupy accommodation which is temporary. . the extent to which the accommodation is physically suitable, so that it would be reasonable for a person to continue to occupy it, must be related to the time for which he has been there and is expected to stay. A local housing authority could take the view that a family like the Puhlhofers, put into a single cramped and squalid bedroom, can be expected to make do for a temporary period. On the other hand, there will come a time at which it is no longer reasonable to expect them to continue to occupy such accommodation. At this point they come back within the definition of homeless in section 58(1).’


Lord Hoffmann


Times 07-Jul-1995, Independent 25-Jul-1995, Gazette 15-Sep-1995, [1996] 1 AC 55, (1995) 27 HLR 453, [1995] 3 All ER 493, [1995] 3 WLR 215, [1995] UKHL 23, 93 LGR 581




Housing Act 1985 58(1) 60(1) 65(2) 85(1)


England and Wales


Appeal fromRegina v Brent London Borough Council Ex Parte Awua CA 31-Mar-1994
Temporary housing may be treated as being settled, so an abandonment of it may be intentional homelessness.
The applicant had been accepted by Tower Hamlets as unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and given temporary accommodation. . .
At first instanceRegina v Brent London Borough Council, Ex Parte Awua QBD 1-Jul-1993
A person refusing an offer of permanent accommodation was intentionally homeless. . .
DoubtedDin (Taj) v Wandsworth London Borough Council HL 26-Nov-1981
The appellants had applied for emergency housing as homeless persons, anticipating loss of their secure accomodation after falling into arrears. The Council reject their application, but a County Court quashed that decision. The Court of Appeal . .

Cited by:

CitedKnight v Vale Royal Borough Council CA 31-Jul-2003
The claimant challenged a decision of the authority that she had made herself intentionally homeless.She had gone to a refuge, then to stay with her mother. She had been found to be intentionally homeless. She then found a shorthold tenancy. When . .
CitedRegina v London Borough of Camden ex parte Pereira CA 20-May-1998
When considering whether a person was vulnerable so as to be treated more favourably in applying for rehousing: ‘The Council should consider such application afresh applying the statutory criterion: The Ortiz test should not be used; the dictum of . .
AppliedRegina v Wandsworth London Borough Council Ex Parte Wingrove; Regina v Same Ex Parte Mansoor CA 7-Jun-1996
Accommodation provided by a local authority need not be permanent in order to satisfy the statutory requirement to assist somebody in need of assistance for homelessness. The full duty might be discharged by securing the offer of an assured . .
CitedGriffiths v St Helens Council CA 7-Mar-2006
The applicant had been agreed to be homeless with priority need, and had been provided with an assured shorthold tenancy.
Held: The Legislation now allowed broadly three classes of accomodation as suitable: (1) accommodation owned by the local . .
CitedSlater v London Borough of Lewisham CA 12-Apr-2006
The applicant was heavily pregnant when she was offered a first floor one bedroomed flat. She rejected it.
Held: When a housing authority reviewed its decision on the applicant’s decision not to accept the accommodation offered, that review . .
CitedHarouki v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea CA 17-Oct-2007
The applicant sought housing as a homeles person. Her present accommodation for herself, her husband and five children was so overcrowded that continued occupation was a criminal offence. She appealed a finding that it was reasonable to continue . .
CitedManchester 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 . .
CitedMuse v London Borough of Brent CA 19-Dec-2008
The court was asked whether the section 193 duty to provide housing was lost after the applicant had refused alternative temporary accommodation. The applicant had been granted temporary accommodation, but her family grew and it became too small. . .
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 . .
CitedRavichandran and Another v London Borough of Lewisham CA 2-Jul-2010
The claimant appealed against an order confirming a review of the decision that the local authority owed no futher duty to her under section 193. She had rejected the house offered as unsuitable for medical reasons.
Held: The tenant’s appeal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.86187