Homelessness

June 20th, 2012

In an extempore judgment R (on the application of Cranfield-Adams) v Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council (QBD, judgment of 19 June 2012) which has not yet been properly reported, Jeremy Stuart-Smith QC, sitting as a Deputy, held that it was lawful for a local housing authority and in accordance with its duty under s.193 of the Housing Act 1996 to defer a homeless man’s application for housing for two years where he had previously refused a suitable offer of accommodation.

The Claimant had originally applied under Part VI of the Act and was allocated housing, which he refused. He subsequently became homeless as a result and re-applied under Part VII. The local authority applied the policy it had warned the Claimant of, and deferred his application for two years as a result of his previous rejection of suitable accommodation. The judge held that the authority was applying a unitary policy which synchronised Parts VI and VII. The refusal of accommodation was a reasonable factor for the authority to take into account under its policy, which was compatible with s.193.

Localism Act 2011

The Localism Act 2011 (Commencement No.6 and Transitional, Savings and Transitory Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1463) brought into force, on 18 June 2012, certain provisions of the Localism Act 2011 relevant to housing. In particular, it brought into force:

·         s.145 (reversing the amendments to s.159 of the Housing Act 1996 made by the Homelessness Act 2002, so that the majority of housing transfers are once again outside Part VI);

·         s.146 (inserting a new s.160ZA into the 1996 Act which reintroduces the concept of the qualifying person);

·         s.147 (inserting a new s.166A into the 1996 Act, re-enacting much of the current s.167, save that there is no provision that reasonable preference need not be accorded to persons who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour, as authorities will be able to decide that such applicants are not qualifying persons under the allocation schemes permitted by s.146).

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