What is a home?

19 Feb 2014

In the case of R (Walford) v Worcestershire CC [2014], decided on 10 February 2014, the claimant's mother became resident in a care home. In determining what charges she should pay, the council took into account the value of her house. The relevant regulations provide that property should be disregarded where it is occupied in whole or in part by a relative who is aged 60 or over "as their home". The claimant, who was 67, contended that the house should be disregarded because she occupied it as her home.

The High Court quashed the council's decision as it has applied a test of actual occupation and/or permanent residence as at the date the mother went into care. "Home" is a place to which a person has a degree of attachment both physical and emotional. Any determination of "home" requires a qualitative and a quantitative assessment. That falls to be reviewed each time circumstances change.