Stephen Evans successfully defended the Local Authority’s decision to discharge duty under s.189B of the Housing Act 1996 and make a finding of not homeless, when it facilitated accommodation in a hostel under licence for an applicant whose NASS accommodation had ended. The Court of Appeal held that a person might be “homeless” and so owed the main housing duty under s.193, despite having “suitable accommodation available for occupation” and “a reasonable prospect” of retaining it for at least six months within the meaning of s.189B(7)(a). Accordingly, where a local housing authority terminated its relief duty pursuant to s.189B(5) and s.189B(7)(a) on the basis that suitable accommodation was available, that might not prevent the applicant from being owed the s.193 duty on the basis that they were “homeless”. However, that situation would rarely arise and did not arise on the facts of the case. As to suitability of the accommodation, the CA upheld the review officer’s decision. As a postscript, the CA commented that challenges to local housing authorities’ decisions relating to homelessness should generally be pursued under statutory provisions and not by way of judicial review.
22nd August 2023