Immediate, Non-Deferrable and Unqualified

16 May 2022 | Muna Adam
london house

Table of Contents

Judgment was handed down on 04 May 2022 in the Court of Appeal in an important case regarding the main housing duty. The decision will be very helpful for many homeless applicants, who are all too often left for months or even years in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
The main housing duty is a duty that is owed to people who make a homeless application and are found to be eligible for assistance, homeless, in priority need and not intentionally homeless. Under the main housing duty, local housing authorities must ensure that suitable accommodation is provided. This accommodation could be social or ‘council’ housing or, if it meets certain criteria, accommodation in the private rented sector. If the accommodation is in the private rented sector, then it must be long-term accommodation – a tenancy of at least one year.

The local housing authority can also provide applicants with temporary accommodation whilst it looks for more long-term accommodation. In the recent case of (R) Elkundi v Birmingham City Council and (R) Imam v London Borough of Croydon [2022] EWCA Civ 601, the Court of Appeal considered the issue of unsuitable temporary accommodation provided to those owed the main housing duty.

The case concerned five applicants who were owed the main housing duty and who were living in accommodation that the local authority had accepted was not suitable. In four of the cases the unsuitable accommodation had been provided by the local housing authority. Lawyers for the five applicants argued that under the main housing duty, those in unsuitable temporary accommodation should immediately be provided with suitable accommodation – as opposed to within a ‘reasonable’ period. Lawyers also argued that it was unlawful for a local housing authority to operate a waiting list for persons, owed the main housing duty, in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

In his judgment, Lewis LJ set down that the main housing duty is “an immediate, non-deferrable, unqualified duty to secure that suitable accommodation is available.”. It was not lawful for the local housing authority to place applicants, owed the main housing duty and in accommodation accepted as unsuitable, to be placed on a waiting list whilst it took ‘reasonable time’ to find alternative accommodation.

Lewis LJ also set down useful guidance for lawyers on which factors the court should consider, when seeking an order from the Court to force a local housing authority to provide suitable accommodation to an applicant owed the main housing duty.

Going forward, this means that it will be much easier and faster for persons owed the main housing duty, and left often hopelessly and indefinitely in unsuitable temporary accommodation, to challenge the local housing authority and get somewhere suitable to call home.

If you would like to speak to us about a housing litigation case, please call us, or complete an online enquiry form.

Share this article

Contact

Contact Muna Today

For a free initial conversation call 0207 485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    • "The people I have worked with have been fantastic; they are truly passionate about the work they do and are exceptionally good at building good relationships."

      Chambers UK 2022

    • "This is an outstanding firm with great attention to detail. They work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. They have excellent client care skills and are extremely organised."

      Chambers UK 2022

    Related InsightsVIEW ALL

    1. House rent
      15.7.2024

      How To Deal With Rent Arrears

      What can I do if I am struggling to pay off rent arrears? There are many reasons why one might...

      Read more
    2. houses of parliament
      16.4.2024

      When can you challenge public body decisions about...

      An introduction to public law Public law governs the relationship between public bodies, such as central government or local government,...

      Read more
    3. asylum seeker
      16.4.2024

      Short-Form Assessments of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children

      Age is just a number? Shining a light on Local Authorities’ Short-Form Assessments of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children A recent report...

      Read more
    4. 23.1.2024

      Case Reiterates Local Authorities should follow Allocation Scheme

      R (on the application of Kukhtyak) -v- London Borough of Hounslow [2023] EWHC 2914 (Admin) This sad case concerned an elderly couple...

      Read more
    5. housing discussions
      7.12.2023

      Supreme Court sets High Threshold for Local Authorities...

      Judgment was handed down on 28 November 2023 by the Supreme Court in an important case regarding the main housing duty. The...

      Read more
    6. Renters Reform Bill
      15.8.2023

      The Renters (Reform) Bill – Will it have the...

      There has been much publicity recently over the Renters (Reform) Bill, the assumption being that the government have their eye...

      Read more
    7. Homeless Teenager
      5.11.2021

      Council overturns unlawful housing policy

      Homeless teenager claims victory for more than 1,200 homeless people after forcing council to overturn unlawful housing policy A homeless teenager...

      Read more
    8. shoreditch london
      3.9.2021

      Homeless Teenager takes London Council to High Court

      A homeless teenager is taking a London council to the High Court for ‘unlawfully’ banning hundreds of homeless people from...

      Read more
    9. mould
      19.8.2021

      Housing Disrepair Scandal in South London

      Following an investigation by ITV nearly 500 homes in the Eastfields Estate in Mitcham, south London, owned by the housing association...

      Read more
    10. model houses
      8.4.2021

      Council to amend unlawful housing allocation banding process

      For the last 8 years Brent Council has stopped the majority of homeless applicants from bidding for rehousing, treating them as ‘...

      Read more
    11. Troy Golide
      25.1.2021

      Hackney Council ignore vulnerable resident’s request

      Paranoid schizophrenic ignored by Hackney Council for four years wins legal battle over unsafe front door A man who suffers...

      Read more
    12. asylum seekers
      25.1.2021

      Teenage asylum seeker wins legal battle against Council...

      Vulnerable teenage asylum seeker wins age case against the council which unlawfully assessed him A vulnerable teenager who sought asylum...

      Read more
    13. signing document
      23.12.2020

      EU Nationals with Pre-Settled Status entitled to benefits...

      Court Judgment means EU Nationals with Pre-Settled Status can access benefits and housing On 18 December 2020 the Court of Appeal handed...

      Read more
    14. 2.12.2020

      Education provision to age disputed migrants

      The thorny issue of education provision to age disputed migrants There was an interesting article in The Guardian last week...

      Read more
    15. 24.11.2020

      Is the delay in the Renters Reform Bill...

      There have been issues tenants have faced for a long time before pandemic; namely no fault evictions and the other...

      Read more
    16. 20.11.2020

      Up Up and away to the First Tier...

      This year we assisted in written representations for a welfare benefit case in the Upper Tribunal. This is a Housing...

      Read more
    17. 20.11.2020

      You are homeless because you are in shared...

      It is well established that shared facilities are not suitable for families with children as long term accommodation. The client...

      Read more
    18. scales law
      13.8.2020

      Judicial review – friend or foe?

      The Government announced on 31st July 2020 that an independent panel has been asked to look at judicial review to consider...

      Read more
    19. to-let sign
      24.7.2020

      Rejecting tenants on housing benefit deemed indirect discrimination

      In a recent decision in the County Court at York it was held that a letting agent’s policy of...

      Read more
    20. home
      27.5.2020

      I am vulnerable and homeless but the Council...

      Homelessness law and procedure can be very complicated. We hope this blog gives you some helpful pointers but it is...

      Read more
    21. 5.5.2020

      I have lost my job and I have...

      The impact of the current pandemic is being felt by many, but the prospect of losing your job or not...

      Read more
    22. eviction notice
      4.5.2020

      I am renting from a private landlord and...

      I know that many individuals across the country are extremely worried about the instability of their housing. This was a...

      Read more
    23. 29.4.2020

      Case news: Housing benefit decision addresses issue of...

      The background You might be forgiven for thinking that the question of whether a course is full time or part...

      Read more
    24. 28.4.2020

      When does a Local Authority have to provide...

      Absolutely anyone can be struck down by misfortune and find themselves in a situation where they are homeless. Though many...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL

    Accreditations

    • Times best law firm 2024
    • legal 500 leading firm
    • chambers logo