The case of Terryann Samuels –v- Birmingham City Council came to the Supreme Court on Thursday 31st January 2019.
The appellant was the tenant of a house at 18 Dagger Lane from November 2010 to July 2011, when her tenancy was terminated due to rent arrears. She was in receipts of benefits, including housing benefit, which did not cover her actual rent, but left her with a monthly shortfall. She made a homelessness application to the respondent housing authority but was judged to have become homeless intentionally, because her house was affordable. She appealed, claiming that the respondent had failed to follow the relevant guidance and had not given adequate reasons for the conclusion that there was sufficient flexibility in her income from benefits to fund the weekly shortfall in rent.
The issue before the Supreme Court was, whether the respondent was entitled to treat the appellant as intentionally homeless on the basis that part of her income from subsistence benefits was available to meet the shortfall between her contractual rent and the housing benefit awarded to her, and whether sufficient reasons were given for this decision. Judgment is reserved.
The barristers for Ms. Samuels were James Stark and Tom Royston of Garden Court North Chambers and the case was run by Mike McIlvaney (previously run to the Court of Appeal by Des Smith for us, before he retired).
Shelter and CPAG intervened in the case and their Barristers were, Martin Westgate QC and Conor Johnston.