Regina v Harrow London Borough Council Ex Parte Fahia: HL 16 Sep 1998

The local authority submitted first that a person making a second application for emergency housing had to demonstrate a change of circumstance which might lead to a second application being successful and second that it was for the local authority to decide whether that test has to be satisfied. The applicant could not point to any new circumstance, which could lead to the conclusion that she was not intentionally homeless and it was releived of any obligation to repeat the whole process of considering the fresh application.
Held: ”I have sympathy with Harrow’s case on this point but I am unable to extract from the statutory language any sufficient justification for the suggested short cut.’ ‘the statutory duty to make enquiries arises if (a) a person applies for accommodation (b) ‘the authority have reason to believe he may be homeless or threatened with homelessness’. It is established that requirement (a) is not satisfied if an application purports to be made by a person who lacks the capacity to do so . . Moreover when an applicant has been given temporary accommodation . . . and is then found to be intentionally homeless he cannot make a further application based on exactly the same facts as his earlier application’. A local authority Council had found intentional homelessness but where an appeal was pending had to consider fully again, the situation which arose on applicant being evicted again from temporary accommodation provided pending the appeal. As to Delahaye: ‘but those are very special cases where it is possible to say there is no application before the local authority and therefore the mandatory duty imposed by [the statutory predecessor to section 184] has not arisen. But in the present case there is no doubt that where [the homeless applicant] made her further application for accommodation she was threatened with homelessness. Moreover in my judgment her application could not be treated as identical with the earlier 1994 application. She was relying on her eviction from the guesthouse which, for one year, she had been occupying as the direct licensee of the guesthouse proprietor, paying the rate for that accommodation. She was reimbursed the amount of the rent by way of housing benefit but the fact was that she had occupied the premises as licensee for a year. It is impossible to say that there has been no relevant change in circumstances at all.’

Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Mustill, Lord Nolan, Lord Clyde, Lord Hutton
Times 24-Jul-1998, Gazette 16-Sep-1998, [1998] 4 All ER 137, [1998] UKHL 29, [1998] 1 WLR 1396
House of Lords, Bailii
Housing Act 1985 Part III
Appeal fromRegina v London Borough of Harrow ex parte Fahia CA 7-Mar-1997
The applicant had been found to have deliberately procured her own eviction from her tenanted accommodation in Harrow. She was given temporary accommodation in a guest house, where she stayed for over a year. Her housing benefit was then reduced by . .
CitedDelahaye v Oswestry Borough Council 29-Jul-1980
The applicant had made more than one application for emergency housing and temporary accomodation pending the result of her application.
Held: It could not have been the intention of Parliament that a similar statute should be used by someone, . .
At First InstanceRegina v London Borough of Harrow ex parte Fahia 1996
After deliberately losing her tenancy, the authority had provided the appliant with temporary accomodation in a guest house, but after her housing benefits were halved she lost that accomodation also.
Held: The authority had a duty to house . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina (Fatima Jeylani) v London Borough of Waltham Forest 2002
A declaration was granted requiring the local authority to consider the further homelessness application after the authority had followed the approach in Campisi and in consequence, it had refused to consider a further homelessness application of . .
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.


Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.86819