29 August 2019

Mr Laryea was a single homeless man. He had both epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He approached Ealing Council, and provided medical evidence to show that there had been a deterioration of his epilepsy since he had become homeless. The Council temporarily accommodated him while they worked with him to relieve his homelessness (Housing Act 1996 S189B - Relief Duty), having reason to believe that he was in priority need. However, Mr Laryea did not carry out the reasonable steps designed to help him relieve his homelessness, outlined in his Personal Housing Plan (PHP).

Having discharged the Relief Duty, Ealing determined that Mr Laryea was in priority need, but had made himself homeless intentionally. They decided that they had no further duty to accommodate him. Mr Laryea asked for a review of that decision, and requested accommodation be provided whilst the review decision was awaited. This request was refused, on the grounds that he had not followed his PHP steps. The letter confirming this decision did not clearly show that the Council had considered Mr Laryea's personal circumstances, and the impact on him of their refusal to accommodate him.

Mr Laryea applied for a judicial review of the decision not to accommodate pending the review, and this was allowed. Mr Layea's failure to engage with the steps in his PHP should have been considered in the light of his physical and mental disabilities. The decision letter was faulty, and should have contained an analysis of the likely effect on Mr Laryea of a negative decision. The letter had not addressed the fact that Mr Laryea's epilepsy was demonstrably worse when he was homeless. The precedent that should be followed when taking the decision whether or not to accommodate is in R v Camden LBC ex p Mohammed (hence these decision letters being referred to as 'Mohammed letters').

The judge granted an interim order for accommodation.

 


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