12 October 2010
Ground of discrimination
Summary of case
Mr Pieretti and his wife rented a house in Edmonton under an assured shorthold tenancy. In April 2008 their landlady obtained an order for possession against them. In June 2008 the bailiffs evicted them. Meanwhile, in May 2008, they had applied to Enfield for the provision to them of accommodation.
They claimed that Enfield should secure that accommodation was available for their occupation. They claimed that they were (or, upon eviction, would be) homeless and eligible for assistance, that they had a priority need for accommodation and that they were not homeless intentionally or (to be strictly accurate) that Enfield should not be satisfied that they were homeless intentionally. In assessing whether they were intentionally homeless Enfield should have considered whether Mr Pieretti’s acts and omissions indicated that he had a mental impairment amounting to a disability and whether, therefore, the Disability Equality Duty should be applied to this decision.
The Equality Duty applies to local authorities in carrying out their functions – all of their functions, whether this is in formulating policy or in its application to a specific case. In particular in the course of making homelessness determinations in areas in which a person’s disability could be of relevance, a local authority shall ‘have due regard to … the need to take steps to take account of disabled persons’ disabilities’. This would be relevant in relation to three areas in particular: the priority of need, the intentionality of homelessness and the suitability of accommodation.