Supreme Court gives councils further pause for thought on homelessness test

By Laura Tweedy | 29 May 2015

The Supreme Court has clarified the law on intentional homelessness adding another consideration to local authorities’ decision-making.

In the case of Haile v LBWF [2015] UKSC 34, Ms Haile succeeded in arguing that she was not intentionally homeless, as Court of Appeal had ruled in its s184 decision.

Ms Haile left her last settled accommodation while pregnant because of cooking smells, thereby making herself intentionally homeless. She subsequently gave birth to her daughter.

The review officer found that at the time of his decision (some months later) she would not have been permitted to stay at the last settled accommodation anyway, because occupancy with a baby was not allowed.

He found that to be irrelevant, because following the established case of Din v Wandsworth [1983] the relevant date for deciding whether a person was intentionally homeless was when they left the settled accommodation. Therefore it was not relevant that an intervening event, such as the birth of her baby, would have made her homeless (and not intentionally so) anyway.

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