July 2008 - Duty to Accommodate Someone with No Settled Residence

A claimant applied to Lewisham for accommodation under section 21 National Assistance Act 1948, having previously lived in Lambeth & Hackney.

All three councils accepted that the claimant was entitled to accommodation but disagreed about who should be responsible for providing it.

The Secretary of State declared that the claimant had no settled residence &  Lewisham was ordered to house her pending a judicial review hearing.

Lewisham in turn, sought an order requiring Hackney to meet the accommodation costs.

It was held that it was the authority where the claimant was physically present that owed the claimant the duty to accommodate – in this case Lewisham. On the day of the claimant’s application to Lewisham they had been physically present in the borough and no degree of residence was required to trigger the duty.

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