Genevieve Screeche-Powell represents local authority in Court of Appeal case about intentional homelessness.

05 March 2020

Genevieve Screeche-Powell is representing the local authority in a Court of Appeal case concerning intentional homelessness and domestic violence. Specifically the court will consider an important point of legal principle about the correct time to assess whether it is ‘reasonable to continue to occupy’ accommodation.

In intentional homeless cases, the question of whether it is reasonable to continue to occupy the accommodation is considered when the applicant leaves their home. This case looks at exactly when the reasonableness of continuing to occupy accommodation should be judged if an applicant alleges a future risk of domestic violence.

Background to the case

The local authority evicted LB because of rent arrears. (LB had been a victim of domestic violence but had non-molestation orders in place that were proving effective. There had been no domestic violence incidents for the 17 months before her eviction). Some months after the eviction, her husband re-appeared and she got another non-molestation order against him.

Despite her eviction being for rent arrears, her case is that it was unreasonable for her to continue to occupy the property from which she was evicted because she was at risk of violence. The local authority had found that it was not probable her continued occupation would lead to violence.

Judgment is expected later this month.