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HJA housing lawyer continues to successfully settle homelessness cases for vulnerable tenants

Amirah Choudhury, Paralegal in the Housing team continues to successfully support clients facing difficult situations regarding unsuitable living accommodations. She has recently represented two people with particular needs, both were fighting for appropriate accommodation.

A disabled client who had been onto their local authority for years highlighting the unsuitability for her needs but, her local Council ignored her requests despite an Occupational Therapy report stating the property was not suitable. Ealing Council did not take the client’s situation seriously until a formal suitability review was requested.

Amirah’s client was severely disabled and cannot walk without the aid of crutches and assistance from her son. Her property is located on the 1st floor with no lift access. She has both leg and back injuries and is often unable to leave her home as she cannot get up and down the stairs without help from her son. She struggles too, when using her crutches on the stairs and had fallen on a number of occasions.

The Suitability Review resulted in the local authority overturning Ealing Council’s original decision that the property was suitable. They accepted that the property was unsuitable for her medical needs and that she required ground floor or lifted accommodation. This was after years of residing in this accommodation despite knowing our client has a disability.

Another of Amirah’s clients suffered mental health issues that required unique treatment which was only available in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Amirah submitted that the accommodation was not suitable for her client’s medical needs, primarily because she was receiving unique treatment for her mental health and she needed to remain within the borough. The local authority had unlawfully failed to apply their temporary accommodation policy where it states that those with medical conditions should remain within the borough.

This case progressed to a homelessness appeal in the County Court, but the Council withdrew their original decision and agreed to carry out a new review. This case was an example of the Local Authority failing to apply their own policy. They did not take our client’s mental health issues seriously and did not consider the impact this would have on her, if she moved to a different borough.

Commenting on the recent successes Amirah said: “Helping my clients fight back and gain the accommodation they need to allow them to live safely in suitable accommodation is very important to me. We shouldn’t need to push back on the decisions made by Councils but, sadly they keep making the wrong ones which have a huge impact on people’s lives, particularly those who are vulnerable and need additional support”

Amirah Choudhury predominantly deals with homelessness cases, housing suitability reviews, possession and housing disrepair claims.