09 Jul Section 17 Accommodation Challenge
They were housed in shared accommodation – 1 bedroom for a period of 7 months. The bedroom lacked limited floor space for the child to move around safely without injuring themselves. The child was strapped to a chair (provided by a physiotherapist) with a crash helmet for their own safety or held down on the bed, given the inadequacy of the accommodation.
We entered into lengthy correspondence with the LA, obtained witness statements from the child’s medical practitioners, physiotherapists, school who detailed the fact that the accommodation was unsuitable and a hindrance to the child’s development. The LA had determined this family were in need and should be provided with a property with at least 2 bedrooms however, the delay in securing a suitable property took almost 8 months. Therefore, the delay in securing the accommodation has been as such to interfere with the child’s right to a private and family life protected by Article 8.
We challenged the delay in securing this alternative accommodation and in particular challenged the LA’s refusal to search for properties beyond their existing, limited housing stock allocated to NRPF families. Before we issued proceedings, we tried to ascertain from the LA what steps had been and were being taken to search for alternative accommodation beyond the NRPF stock providers. We argued they had unlawfully fettered their discretion by not searching for accommodation beyond NRPF stock.
After proceedings were issued, the LA moved the family into more suitable accommodation with 2 bedrooms. Irrespective of suitable accommodation being secured for the family, permission was granted to proceed and the judicial review, which includes a claim for damages. The matter will be heard later this year and this will be the first case which the Court will consider on the issues we have raised.
We have had a number of cases whereby LA are confining their search for accommodation to limited housing stock allocated to NRPF families therefore, this will be an important case where the Court may give some prescriptive requirements regarding accommodation providers used by the LA and the nature of accommodation allocated to NRPF families.