QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HAMMIA||(CLAIMANT)|
|MAYOR & BURGESSES OF THE LONDON BOROUGH OF WANDSWORTH||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR R CLARKE (instructed by London Borough of Wandsworth) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"The defendant's policy to apply their allocation scheme under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 to assessments of applicants who apply to them as homeless under Part 7 of the Act, requiring any homeless applicant holding an existing secure joint tenancy to relinquish that tenancy as required under their Part 6 policy before they will accept a duty under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996."
"Further to your application of 4th September 2003 and subsequent enquiries, I write to advise you that you are considered to be unintentionally homeless, an eligible person and in priority need within the meaning of the above mentioned Act. Provided you relinquish your tenancy at 16 Whitgate House, Westbridge Road, SW11 and your other circumstances remain unchanged, this decision that the Council accepts that under section 193(3) . . . it has a duty to secure that accommodation remains available to you. The Council will be subject to this duty until it ceases."
"On or about 6th August 2003 I was contacted by Marcia Anglin who is a case worker in the Homeless Persons Unit that Miss Malika had presented herself as homeless. Given that Miss Malika was a joint tenant of 16 Whitgate House, she would need to relinquish her tenancy there before she could be offered another tenancy. I can confirm that an appointment was made for me to see Miss Malika further to her interview with Marcia Anglin."
Then in paragraph 7 he says this:
"I can confirm that Miss Malika was made aware by the Homeless Persons Unit when she presented herself as homeless that it is the Council's policy that she would be required to relinquish her current tenancy before she could be granted a further tenancy."
"Tenancies are created by the prospective tenants signing a tenancy agreement. The tenant will be given a copy of the signed tenancy agreement."
This was as far as that paragraph went until the alteration which became part of the scheme on 6th October. As from 6th October, however, the following passage was added to this paragraph:
"Applicants who, at the time of an offer made under the scheme, hold an existing Council tenancy will be expected to relinquish their interest in that tenancy on acceptance of an offer for a transfer."
It is clear from a document which was annexed to the minute of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting that the change in paragraph 2.13.7 to add that passage simply reflected existing procedure and was added as a matter of clarification. Thus, even though it may not have been formally part of the allocation scheme until 6th October 2003, that statement represented Council policy.
"A person shall not be treated as having accommodation unless it is accommodation which it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy."
"It is not reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation if it is probable that this will lead to domestic violence against him or against any person who normally resides with him as a member of his family."
Later in that subsection:
"For this purpose domestic violence in relation to a person means violence from a person with whom he is associated, of threats of violence from such a person which are likely to be carried out."
"This section applies where the local housing authority are satisfied that an applicant is eligible for assistance and has a priority need and are not satisfied that he became homeless intentionally."
The duty is expressed in subsection (3), namely that the authority are subject to the duty under this section until it ceases by virtue of any of the following provisions in the section. The duty may be discharged by the local housing authority pursuant to section 206(1) in a specific number of ways. That is to say:
"(a) by securing suitable accommodation provided by them is available;
(b) by securing that he obtains suitable accommodation from some other person; or.
(c) by giving him such advice or assistance as will secure that suitable accommodation is available from some other person."