Din (Taj) v Wandsworth LBC [1981]

Although the Supreme Court went to great lengths to suggest that this earlier judgment from the House of Lords was not being overturned and remained good law, they effectively overturned it in the case of Haile v Waltham Forest London Borough Council [2015]. This was on the basis that following the case of Birmingham v Ali; Moran v Manchester 2009  the Court had to take future events into account.

The appellants had applied for emergency housing as homeless persons, anticipating loss of their secure accommodation after falling into arrears. The Council reject their application, but a County Court quashed that decision. The Court of Appeal re-instated it, and the applicants now appealed again. The applicants had first sought advice from the council and had been told to stay in their existing accommodation, but had instead taken temporary accommodation.
Held: The appeal failed (Lord Russell Of Killowen, Lord Bridge Of Harwich dissenting)
Lord Wilberforce said of the 1977 Act: ‘One of the main purposes of that Act was to secure that, when accommodation is provided for homeless persons by the housing authority, it should be made available for all members of his family together and to end the practice which had previously been common under which adult members of a homeless family were accommodated in hostels while children were taken into care, and the family thus split up. The emphasis on treating the family as a unit appears from section 1 which provides that a person is homeless for the purpose of the Act if he has no accommodation, and that he is to be treated as having no accommodation if there is no accommodation which he ‘together with any other person who normally resides with him as a member of his family . . is entitled to occupy’ (section 1 (1) (a)). The particular emphasis on families with children appears from section 2 which provides that a homeless person has ‘a priority need for accommodation’ when the housing authority is satisfied that he is within one of certain categories, the first of which is that ‘he has dependant children who are residing with him or who might reasonably be expected to reside with him’: (section 2 (1) (a)).’
Lord Fraser of Tullybelton said: ‘While the main purposes of that Act was to secure that, when accommodation is provided for homeless persons by the housing authority, it should be made available for all the members of his family together and to end the practice which had previously been common under which adult members of a homeless family were accommodated in hostels while children were taken into care, and the family thus split up. The emphasis on treating the family as a unit appears from section 1 which provides that a person is homeless for the purposes of the Act if he has no accommodation, and that he is to be treated as having no accommodation if there is no accommodation which he ‘together with any other person who normally resides with him as a member of his family . . is intended to occupy’ (section 1(1)(a)). The particular emphasis on families with children appears from section 2 which provides that a homeless person has ‘a priority need for accommodation’ when the housing authority is satisfied that he is within one of certain categories, the first of which is that ‘he has dependant children who are residing with him or who might reasonably expect to reside with him’: (section 2(1)(a)).’
Lord Lowry said: ‘to be homeless and to have found some temporary accommodation are not mutually inconsistent concepts’.
Source Swarb.co.uk

Bailii

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.