GT Stewart were instructed by Mr A, in relation to his application for homelessness assistance. Following his grant of refugee status, the Home Office ended his right to occupy NASS accommodation. He subsequently slept in the living room of a family member’s studio flat.

Amidst the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, his wife and son came to the UK on family visas. Mr A approached Epsom council, who found he was homeless and eligible, and placed the family in interim accommodation in Croydon.

Following enquiries, Epsom wrote to Mr A advising that their duty to help him find accommodation (‘the relief duty’) had ended. They also stated they were ‘minded to’ find him intentionally homeless. They said this was because he had invited his wife and son to join him in the UK, knowing that this would mean he could no longer stay in the studio flat, and that he had no way of supporting them.

GT Stewart wrote to Epsom, requesting a review of their decision to end the relief duty. We made representations to the effect that, we did not consider his occupancy in the studio flat to be an option genuinely available to him, other than on a short term basis. He also had no security of tenure at the address. On the same day, Epsom quashed the decision to end the relief duty, stating the decision was an oversight.

We sent further representations stating reasons why we considered he was not intentionally homeless. Mr A’s son and wife could no longer remain in their home country, and had no means of supporting themselves. Mr A could not return due to the threat of violence, and it was not reasonable for the family to remain separated. Epsom subsequently accepted that they owe Mr A the main housing duty.

Epsom attempted to discharge their duty to provide suitable temporary accommodation, by allowing the family to remain at their accommodation in Croydon. The location of this accommodation was not manageable for the family, due to Mr A’s son attending school in Epsom, and we requested a review of the suitability of the property.

Before reaching a decision on that review, Epsom Council made the family an offer of temporary accommodation in the local authority area. This was a great result for the client, as the family were accommodated in a suitable 2 bedroom flat, close to his son’s school.