United Kingdom: Applicant with international protection must be provided with appropriate housing under s.193 Housing Act 1996

Friday, October 11, 2019

On 11 October 2019, the High Court of Justice (Administrative) published its judgment concerning the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s (LBWF) unlawful breach of its statutory duty to secure suitable accommodation under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996.

The applicant arrived in the UK in 2012 after fleeing human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. She was pregnant as a result of forced sexual intercourse and was granted refugee status in 2014. An application to secure suitable accommodation was later made on the basis that she was homeless.

The applicant was offered accommodation before being served a no fault eviction notice. There is no evidence that the applicant was provided with an offer letter detailing the LBWF’s statutory obligations at this time. On 25 August 2017, the applicant and her daughter were offered accommodation in Tottenham where it was apparent that the communal grounds of the flat were used as a brothel. The Refugee Council and the applicant’s daughter’s school both expressed concern to the LBWF that sexual activity was visible from the flat. The applicant complained that the LBWF had not fulfilled its statutory duty by failing to provide an offer letter and by failing to conduct an enquiry into the suitability of the Tottenham property.

Firstly, the Court concluded that the LBWF had failed to comply with its statutory duty as there was no evidence that the letter providing notification in accordance with s.193 Housing Act 1996 was ever sent. Secondly, it noted that proper due diligence should have alerted the LBWF to the evidently unsuitable conditions in the Tottenham accommodation. The LBWF had failed to conduct an assessment of the accommodation which was clearly unsuitable, particularly for a child and a survivor of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It therefore held that the LBWF had acted unlawfully in breach of its duty under s.193 Housing Act 1996 and was not discharged of its obligation to provide suitable accommodation.

Photo: seier + seier, October 2014, Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.


Accommodation centre
Trafficking in human beings