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Accommodation approved by probation officer not the same as prison

Rageb v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2017] EWCA 360

A prisoner was released on licence to supported accommodation run by St Mungo's ("the Hostel"). It was a condition of his licence that he reside at accommodation approved by his probation officer, namely the Hostel.

While he was living there, he re-offended, as a result of which he was recalled to prison. After being released again and a period of occupation of a bail hostel, he applied to Kensington and Chelsea for housing assistance. Kensington and Chelsea decided that he was homeless intentionally.

An appeal to the county court was dismissed. The appellant sought to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

He argued that the Hostel should not count as "accommodation" for the purposes of the intentional homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996 because (i) it was not settled, (ii) was not of his choice and (iii) was analogous to a prison cell.

In a reserved judgment handed down on 17 May 2017, Patten LJ rejected the appellant's arguments. He saw no policy reason why accommodation occupied by a prisoner released on licence, as a condition of his licence, should be excluded from the operation of the intentional homelessness provisions. As a result, the appeal had no real prospect of success and permission to appeal was refused.

Matt Hutchings QC represented the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the Court of Appeal.