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Supreme Court agrees to hear key case on intentional homelessness

The Supreme Court has given an appellant permission to appeal a Court of Appeal ruling over the relevant time for a council to consider whether her homelessness was intentional.

In Haile v Waltham Forest LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 792 the Court of Appeal ruled that Din v London Borough of Wandsworth [1983] 1 AC 657, HL, remained binding and governed the operation of Pt 7 Housing Act 1996.

This meant that the relevant time for considering whether it was reasonable to continue to occupy accommodation was the moment when the applicant became homeless.

The appellant, Ms Haile, was an asylum-seeker who had been granted leave to remain. She was granted a written assured shorthold tenancy of a room by a housing association. It was agreed that it was for a single person.

A year later Ms Haile became pregnant. In October 2011 she left the property, subsequently saying this was because of unpleasant smells.

She applied to the council as homeless under Part 7. Inquiries were made and she was given temporary accommodation. In February 2012 she gave birth, which would have prevented her from remaining in the accommodation.

The initial decision on her application was that she became homeless intentionally. This was upheld on review, and appeals to the county court and the Court of Appeal were dismissed.

Permission to take the case to the Supreme Court was granted by Lady Hale and Lord Toulson.

See: Becoming homeless intentionally – Christopher Baker, counsel for Waltham Forest LBC, explains the Court of Appeal's ruling

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