A Conservative-controlled council unlawfully blocked a family made homeless by the benefit cap from getting social housing, a court has found.
The High Court said Westminster City Council was wrong to bar the anonymous family from applying for a home in the borough where they lived.
The plaintiff, known as “Ms A” had lost her family home in Westminster after the benefit cap meant she could no longer afford her rent.
The council, which has a legal duty to house homeless families, shipped Ms A’s family miles out of the borough to Enfield and said they could not reapply for a home in their own neighbourhood least 12 months.
But the High Court ruled that this suspension was unlawful.
“This landmark ruling makes it abundantly clear that homeless people have the right to bid for social housing from the time they secure a full housing duty from a local authority rather than being suspended for one year,” said Jayesh Kunwardia, a lawyer at Hodge Jones & Allen.
“Westminster’s subtle way of registering the homeless, saying they will have points but denying them the right to bid for 12 months is now deemed unlawful.”
Last month welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith described the cap which made the family in this case homeless as “social justice in action”.
“Welfare reform is improving social mobility for families across the country,” he argued in an article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper.