Southwark Council Spent £14k Fighting Unsuccessful Housing Case

Southwark Council spent at least £14,000 fighting a resident on an overcrowding case that it subsequently lost, a Liberal Democrat question revealed on Wednesday.

A High Court ruling in May overturned the council’s decision to deny a resident higher housing priority.

The resident, at the time of the council decision, was living in an overcrowded home with their family.

Southwark Council originally rejected this resident’s request for a higher social housing band as it claimed it was a ‘deliberate act’ of the family to overcrowd their property. 

A written answer to the Southwark Liberal Democrat question on Wednesday evening divulged that the council had paid £14,124 in legal costs to fight this case.

The council may pay more as they are obliged to finance 90% of the resident’s legal bills, which were in the process of being prepared.

In the written answer, the council also disclosed that it had rejected 44 cases for housing band 1 priority since 2019 due to the controversial ‘deliberate act’ provision.

The resident from the £14,000 case, in better news, did successfully bid for a home and was due to have a tenancy start date of 4th July 2022.  

Commenting, Cllr Hamish McCallum, the Southwark Liberal Democrat who asked the question said:

“Southwark Labour love to complain about tight purse strings, but are more than happy to splash money on distressing residents that live in unsuitable conditions. A long-term solution to overcrowded homes is to get tough on developers and demand 50% affordable housing on all private developments. But, I fear that in the meantime Labour will simply find other ways to cruelly make their residents’ lives more difficult in order to dissuade them from applying for higher priority social housing.”