Local housing authorities across the country are struggling in the face of a housing crisis. That fact forms part of the background to the case of Lomax v Gosport Borough Council, which is heard by the Court of Appeal today.
When considering whether it is reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation, the authority may have regard to "the general circumstances prevailing in relation to housing in the district of the local housing authority to whom he has applied for accommodation".
The Court of Appeal has not considered this sub-section for several years and not at all since the Public Sector Equality Duty became law. Therefore this case will be the first to consider the relationship between section 177(2) and the PSED.
The Court has given permission to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to intervene in the appeal.
In this case, the reviewing officer found that the Appellant was disabled and that her current accommodation was having a substantial impact on her health and wellbeing.
However, he also attached significant weight to the general shortage of accommodation in Gosport and found that this, in combination with other factors weighing in favour of the property's suitability, meant that it was reasonable for the Appellant to continue to occupy her accommodation.
Matt Lewin represents the Respondent, Gosport Borough Council.