Sharif v The London Borough of Camden: SC 20 Feb 2013

The council appealed against a decision that having found Ms Sharif to be homeless, they had a duty also to house her sick father and sister as family members in one accomodation unit.
Held: The Council’s appeal succeeded (Lord Kerr dissenting). Though a fundamental aim of the legislation was to keep families together, section 176 did not prevent the Council deciding as a matter of fact two separate units might be so close that their provision would not breach that aim.
The Act required the accomodation to be suitable. Neither of the terms ‘accomodation’ or the phrase ‘together with’ could be read to imply a need for the accomodation to be in one unit.
Lord Kerr said: ‘if the opportunity is available to house families in different living units, there is every reason to suppose that local authorities, with the pressures that are placed on them to meet housing need, will, perfectly understandably, seek to exploit that opportunity to the fullest extent. There is therefore a real risk that one of the principal purposes of the legislation (that of bringing and keeping families together) will be, if not undermined, at least put under considerable strain. ‘

Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath
[2013] UKSC 10, [2013] PTSR 343, UKSC 2011/0117
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Housing Act 1996 176
England and Wales
CitedLangford Property Co Ltd v Goldrich CA 1949
The premises consisted of two flats in a single block, which had previously been separately let. They were on the same floor but not next to each other. The tenant had taken these two flats ‘as a home for himself and some relatives . . his father, . .
Appeal fromAS v London Borough of Camden CA 20-Apr-2011
The claimant appealed against rejection of her objection to the defendant’s decision that it had discharged its housing duties toward her.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Etherton LJ said: ‘The accommodation offered by Camden to the applicant . .
CitedUratemp Ventures Limited v Collins HL 11-Oct-2001
Can a single room within a hotel comprise a separate dwelling within the 1988 Act and be subject to an assured tenancy?
Held: A single room can be a dwelling. Each case must be interpreted in its own light as a question of fact, but respecting . .
CitedEaling 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 . .
CitedDin (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 . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Ealing London Borough Council Ex Parte Nicola Surdonja Admn 20-Oct-1998
The homeless applicant family were housed in two hostels approximately a mile apart.
Held: A housing authority’s duty to provide interim accommodation pending homelessness decision extended to the provision of suitable accommodation. There was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.471050