Housing Benefit for Zambrano carers?

01 Jan 2018


R (on the Application of H) v Milton Keynes CC [2013]

Do Zambrano carers have a right to housing benefit? Are the new Regulations effective to remove any such directly enforceable right? And in any event is the provision of accommodation which is unaffordable without housing benefit suitable for Part VII purposes? These important issues are to be raised in the Administrative Court next month.

H was offered permanent Part 7 Housing Act accommodation, following the recent case of Pryce v Southwark LBC. However the council refused to award her housing benefit in reliance upon the Habitual Residence Regulations 2012.

On judicial review of this decision, H argues that:

(a)    the Regulations were unlawful as they violated direct treaty rights;

(b)   the council’s reliance on the Regulations to defeat or interfere with direct treaty rights was irrational or unlawful;

(c)    the council had failed to provide suitable accommodation under Part VII as the same was unaffordable; and

(d)   the failure to provide for discharge of H’s rent from other sources, whether under the Children Act 1989 or Localism Act 2011 or otherwise, was irrational or unlawful.

The challenge has been listed for a rolled up hearing to immediately follow the case of Sanneh v SSWP (where similar arguments are run in relation to income support) in March 2013.

Bryan McGuire QC and Shomik Datta, instructed by Bhatia Best Solicitors, have been representing H.