Case Comment Haile v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2015]

Authors: Christopher Busst Published date: 15-07-2016 Status: Published

A homeless person may be owed a duty to be re-housed by a local housing authority if they can meet the requirements set out in the Housing Act 1996. The authority does not owe the full duty, however, in circumstances where the homeless person has made themselves ‘intentionally homeless’ - where they have carried out a deliberate act or omission which has led to their loss of accommodation. The House of Lords ruling in Din v Wandsworth London Borough Council [1983]1 had created a consistent and certain approach to findings of intentionality. The Supreme Court in Haile2 claims not to have departed from the reasoning in Din. Still, it will be shown that the express findings in Haile have completely changed the approach to intentionality. Despite the Supreme Court’s protestations to the contrary, a certain deliberate act by a homeless person can now be ignored if, hypothetically, the homeless person would have become homeless anyway—creating a causational nightmare for authority decision makers. Keywords: Housing Act 1996; Intentional homelessness; Din; Haile.

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