The local authority will owe a main housing duty to someone who is eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need. A person could have a priority need if s/he is vulnerable as a result of mental illness or a learning disability.
We acted for a homeless client who had a learning disability. A homelessness application was made to Lambeth Council on behalf of the client and the council decided that she did not have a priority need for housing. We requested a review of the decision and Lambeth Council upheld its original decision that our client did not have a priority need for housing.
During the course of the review, Lambeth Council was provided with medical evidence from a consultant psychiatrist who specialised in learning disabilities and who carried out a face to face assessment of our client. The resulting detailed report set out our client’s vulnerabilities. The Review officer at Lambeth Council preferred the medical evidence of the NowMedical doctors who had prepared no less than 3 short reports on our client, had not seen or interviewed her but concluded that she was not vulnerable. The Review officer gave no reasons why she preferred the evidence of NowMedical.
In addition, Lambeth Council failed to consult with its own social services department. Our client’s social worker considered her to be vulnerable.
We appealed against the Lambeth Council's decision in the County Court and succeeded on all the grounds of the appeal. The court varied Lambeth Council’s decision holding that our client was vulnerable and therefore Lambeth Council owed her a main housing duty.
Further details of the case can be found here.
Client was represented by Denise Phillips, Solicitor and barristers Justine Compton and Nick Bano of Garden Court Chambers.