*Johnston v City of Westminster

Housing – Homeless person. The appellant had applied to the respondent local authority for homeless assistance under the Housing Act 1996. The authority accepted that he met all of the criteria other than a connection with the local area, as he had more of a connection with Eastbourne and referred the application accordingly. Eastbourne accepted that it had a housing duty towards him, but the appellant never applied to that authority for assistance. The respondent authority rejected the appellant's applications as the appellant was not homeless as accommodation was available to him in Eastbourne if he applied for it. The appellant's appeals were refused. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that the fact that an applicant might be offered accommodation by another authority which might satisfy s 175(3) of the Act did not entitle the decision maker, per se, to find that an applicant was not homeless and that, accordingly, the qualifications for homelessness contained in s 175(1) were not satisfied. The court found that the judge below had erred but, remaking the decision for itself, held that the appellant had been homeless but that, in the circumstances, the authority had no longer owed any housing duty to him.

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