July 13th, 2016 by James Goudie KC

A person can rid of himself or herself of the status of being intentionally homeless. The question often is whether this is what has happened.  The main circumstances in which the status will cease is if “settled” accommodation is found which is subsequently lost.  The question whether accommodation is “settled” is one of fact and degree to be determined objectively and without reference to the subjective motives or beliefs of either the homeless person or the local authority.

In Huda v Redbridge LBC [2016] EWCA Civ 709 the person contended that “settled” accommodation was constituted by the fact that he had been occupying, with his family, a property under licence from a third party (L), which was procured by Redbridge Council (R) for his benefit in performance of its limited housing duty under Sections 190 of the Housing Act 1996 to persons who are in priority need but are also found to be intentionally homeless.

The Court of Appeal held that all relevant facts had to be considered. In particular, no distinction could be drawn between those factors evident from the licence agreement and factors that arose from outside the agreement, including that he had been told that no greater housing duty was owed to him. Given that his right to occupy was precarious, and that he could not have any reasonable expectation of continuing in occupation for a significant period of time, R’s reviewing officer had been entitled to find that the accommodation was not settled.

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