Southwark LBC v Vatansever (2001) EWHC Admin 546 (QBD)

Housing – duty to accommodate – unsuitable accommodation – delay – homelessness

An ordinary waiting list claimant challenged the priority medical points system, and got 20, on the basis of his son’s disability. His partner moved in with a disabled daughter. The family then got the maximum points – 30 – instead of adding the two children’s points together – as if the daughter’s superseded the son’s. The judge was unmoved by the suggestion that he should not grant a remedy, and accept the authority’s indication that it would re-consider its medical points scheme. He pointed out that 2 years had elapsed since the decision in Uddin, (on the rationality of a priority points scheme); and several months had passed since the claimant’s letter before action and the commencement of the proceedings, without any steps towards revising the scheme having been taken. He gave a declaration that the scheme was unlawful and irrational.

The scheme had a category for social services nominations. A nomination had been made, but cancelled the next day because the claimant had taken legal advice and because even with the nomination, the housing department indicated it would take more than the target time of 6 months to come to the top of the list. This cancellation was also quashed as irrational.

The judge specifically noted that the claimant’s position was no better under the Children Act or the Housing Act Part VI, and recommended that he would be better off applying as homeless under s175(3) – accommodation available, but which it is not reasonable to continue to occupy.

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