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Built on years of specialist expertise.

Housing

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Our Housing Group

42 Bedford Row’s housing barristers include two part-time judges, a former solicitor in housing law and a founder member of the Social Housing Law Association.

This highly experienced group appears in and advises not only on the more common types of housing dispute, but also rarer disputes such as HMO licensing and licence breaches, environmental law and discrimination.

We regularly act for local authorities, housing associations/trusts, portfolio and private landlords and individuals, providing clear tactical advice and providing representation at short notice when required, such as when seeking, or responding to, injunctions.

Here is a summary of the areas of housing law in which we are active:-

  • Possession
  • Housing discrimination
  • Disrepair
  • Anti-social behaviour, including injunctions
  • Unlawful eviction
  • Homelessness
  • HMO licensing
  • HMO licensing breaches
  • Environmental law
  • Right to buy

Below are some examples of our recent work:-

  • Begum & Begum v Luton Borough Council EWHC 1044 (Admin) Appeal by way of case stated in the Divisional Court. Edmund Walters, who is a specialist in regulatory and licensing law successfully represented one of two appellants in an appeal by way of case stated which decided an important legal point about the six month time limit for laying informations in the magistrates’ court under section 127(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (“MCA 1980”) and the Criminal Procedure Rule 2015 (“Crim PR 2015”).

  • Anwar v Waltham Forest LBC - Mathew McDermott successfully represented the Respondent authority in this High Court appeal against a decision of the Valuation Tribunal, finding that the Appellant was liable for council tax. The Appellant argued that the authority had changed locks on the appellant’s property, which was let out by the Appellant to a number of tenants with a HMO in place, and so she ought not to be responsible for the council tax as she herself could not access the property. The High Court rejected this and the appeal was dismissed.

  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Persons Unknown - Naomi Hawkes was instructed by Southend on Sea Borough Council. A high profile case, as it concerned an injunction covering the entire borough to prevent severe nuisance (including risk to life and limb) from being caused to local residents by unauthorised “car cruising” events.Hounslow LBC v Alfred– Iris Ferber for the claimant. Iris won appeal before HHJ Luba QC, overturning judge’s refusal to make possession order in tenancy fraud case.

  • SJ v London Borough of Waltham Forest - Stefan Liberadzki represented a local housing authority in a s.204 homelessness appeal, in which it was held as a matter of law that young persons aged 19 or over cannot be treated as ‘dependent children’ for the purposes of assessing priority need.


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News & events

Housing Law Bulletin: Banning Orders and the Housing and Planning Act 2016

In this Bulletin, Christi Scarborough discusses banning orders: what are they? When would one be used? What are their consequences? Banning Orders – what are they and how do they work? Christi Scarborough looks at new powers available to Local Authorities from 6 April 2018, and the circumstances under which private landlords or letting and

1st May 2018 Read more

Desmond Kilcoyne instructed in Paul Alibert David -v- Audra Catherine Wamsteker

Desmond Kilcoyne has been acting on behalf of the Defendant, Audra Wamsteker, in a six-day trial brought against her by her father, Paul David. Judgment has been reserved. The dispute concerns the ownership of two domestic properties, the proceeds of sale of four American properties and her late mother’s jewellery collection. The legal issues include

17th April 2018 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: errors of law, burden and homelessness appeals

In this bulletin Elizabeth England discusses a recent Court of Appeal case that reminds us who has the burden of proving an error of law in homelessness appeals under Part VII Housing Act 1996 Avoiding exegetical sophistication: Rother District Council v Stephen Freeman-Roach [2018] EWCA Civ 368 The Court of Appeal has handed down guidance

16th April 2018 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

On 3 April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 commenced, imposing a number of new duties on housing authorities to provide early intervention, in order to prevent homelessness. The Act makes significant amendments and additions to the Housing Act 1996

9th April 2018 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: Article 14 ECHR and Succeeding to a Secure Tenancy

Is it fair to treat the children of secure tenants differently for the purpose of succession depending upon how their deceased parent became the tenant? This, in essence, is the question at the heart of the long-running case of London Borough of Haringey v. Simawi. The question will be answered at trial in October 2018

28th February 2018 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: When is settled accommodation actually settled?

Niamh O’Brien discusses the recent Court of Appeal decision on ‘settled accommodation’ and asks: when is accommodation ‘settled’? Doka v London Borough of Southwark [2017] EWCA Civ 1523 Introduction The ‘full housing duty’ owed by local authorities to house homeless applicants does not apply to those who have become intentionally homeless. In order to be

7th November 2017 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: Letting agents & Administration Fees – London Borough of Camden v. Foxtons Ltd

Matthew Feldman discusses the recent Upper Tribunal decision dealing with the thorny issue of letting agents’ administration fees. In this case, the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) found that Foxtons Limited (‘Foxtons’) were in breach of the requirements of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘the Act’) in connection with published details of its relevant fees in three branches and on its website, and imposed a penalty of £4,500 in respect of each breach, amounting to £18,000.

30th October 2017 Read more

Panayiotou v Waltham Forest, Smith v LB Haringey [2017] EWCA Civ 1624

Panayiotou v Waltham Forest, Smith v LB Haringey [2017] EWCA Civ 1624 The demise of significance The Court of Appeal have considered the conjoined appeals of two homeless applicants who claimed that the Respondent housing authorities had applied a wrong legal test when considering whether or not they were ‘vulnerable’ within the meaning of s.189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996.

23rd October 2017 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin: Part VII Housing Act 1996 and ‘settled accommodation’

Mathew McDermott discusses how relevant, if at all, the questions of hindsight and one’s own understanding of one’s security of tenure are when looking at whether or not accommodation is ‘settled’. To what extent is a tenant’s mistaken but honestly-held understanding of their security of tenure relevant when asking if accommodation is ‘settled’ for the

4th September 2017 Read more

Priority need and the meaning of ‘dependent children’

19 and 21-year old son and daughter of a homeless applicant are not ‘dependent children’ for the purposes of assessing ‘priority need’ Introduction Stefan Liberadzki recently appeared for a local authority in a homelessness appeal under s.204 of the Housing Act 1996. Here he discusses the Court’s decision that the appellant’s children could not count

5th July 2017 Read more

Mental Health Issues in Housing Litigation

Mental Health Issues in Housing Litigation During April and May 2017, we ran a 2-part workshop in Chambers exploring the law and procedure on dealing with mental health issues in housing cases. This Bulletin is intended as a follow-up note for those of you who attended, and as a general practice note for those of

30th May 2017 Read more

Double-edged sword: Can you have two possession orders at once?

Double-edged sword: Can you have two possession orders at once? In a recent case an interesting point arose around whether or not it was possible for a landlord under an AST to have two possession orders in respect of the same property at the same time. Facts The facts of the case were fairly typical.

13th March 2017 Read more

Mathew McDermott successfully represented the Defendant in R (on the application of Osman) v. LB of Harrow [2017] EWHC 274 (Admin)

Article 14 European Convention on Human Rights and treating private sector tenants differently from secure tenants for the purposes of a local authority’s Part VI housing allocation scheme R (on the application of Osman) v. LB of Harrow [2017] EWHC 274 (Admin) 42 Bedford Row’s Mathew McDermott successfully represented the Defendant in this challenge brought

22nd February 2017 Read more

Housing Bulletin No 18 – Forfeiture for non-payment of service charges

Welcome to this, the 18th bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com Forfeiture for non-payment of service charges Last month, we ran a workshop in Chambers exploring the law and procedure of forfeiting a

9th January 2017 Read more

Housing Bulletin No 17 – Anti-social behaviour injunctions

Welcome to this, the 17th bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com Anti-social behaviour injunctions: can the Court rely on historic bad behaviour? Birmingham City Council v Glenn Parode [2016] EWHC 3119 (QB) In

14th December 2016 Read more

Housing Bulletin No 16 – Warrants for Possession

Welcome to this, the sixteenth bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com Warrants for Possession Cardiff City Council v Lee (Flowers) [2016] EWCA Civ 1034 The Senior Master has today issued her practice note

22nd November 2016 Read more

Housing Bulletin No 15 – Some Top Tips for Tenancy Fraud Cases

Welcome to this, the fifteenth bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com Some Top Tips for Tenancy Fraud Cases Six years ago, the National Fraud Authority launched its Social Housing Tenancy Fraud Project that

5th September 2016 Read more

Housing Bulletin No 13 – Human Rights and the Private Sector

Welcome to this, the thirteenth bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com This bulletin discusses the judgment in the case of McDonald (by her litigation friend Duncan J McDonald) v McDonald & others [2016] UKSC 28.

20th June 2016 Read more

Recovery of Legal Costs as a Service Charge – What Has Changed Since Arnold v Britton?

The Supreme Court in Arnold v Britton [2015] A.C. 1619 has ruled that there are no special rules of interpretation which apply to service charge clauses. The old “restrictive” approach to the interpretation of service charge clauses has been criticised. The recovery of a landlord’s legal costs as a service charge remains a troublesome area, where the impact of Arnold v Britton is still being worked out.

23rd February 2016 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 12 – updating service of 2015 on all issues relating to housing law

Welcome to this, our twelfth updating service of 2015 on all issues relating to housing law — whether social or private, landlord or tenant. Here, Niamh O’Brien offers a case law update : Mansing Moorjani v Durban Estates Limited [2015] EWCA Civ 1252 An unusual set of facts permits the Court of Appeal to review the legal basis for damages to be awarded for disrepair to premises let on a long lease.

22nd December 2015 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 10 – Retaliatory Evictions Scheduled changes to the section 21 possession procedure

In this issue of 42 Bedford Row’s Housing Bulletin Peter Jolley discuses covers changes to the ’section 21 possession procedure' being introduced on 1 October 2015 by the Deregulation Act 2015, specifically restrictions upon certain landlords in using the section 21 procedure if a complaint has been received by their tenant about the condition of the property.

24th August 2015 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 5

Topic: “How should the courts assess whether a homeless applicant is vulnerable and in priority need of housing, with reference to the Housing Act 1996 s.189 (1)(c)?”

2nd July 2015 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 4

Topic: Changes to the tenancy deposit protection rules. On 26 March 2015, sections 30 to 32 of the Deregulation Act 2015 came in to force. What are the implications of this for landlords in relation to tenancy deposit schemes?

2nd July 2015 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 2

Welcome to this, the second bulletin from the Housing Team. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com. Topic: Akerman- Livingstone v Aster Communities Ltd “Can the court summarily dispose of a defence to possession based on an allegation of unlawful

31st March 2015 Read more

Housing Law Bulletin No 1

Welcome to this, the first bulletin of what will be a regular updating service on all issues relating to housing law — whether social or private, landlord or tenant. We hope that you will find the content of interest: if you wish to receive further updates you can subscribe by replying to housing@42br.com “Can a

4th March 2015 Read more

An end to “Squatters’ rights”?

On 1 September 2012, section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force. Greeted by much excited commentary in parts of the media with claims that it ended “squatters’ rights”, the section creates a new offence of squatting in a residential building. The section provides that a person

14th October 2012 Read more

Berrisford v Mexfield Housing Cooperative Limited [2011] UKSC 52

£350m cut to legal aid judged a 'false economy' and block to swift justice for most vulnerable "But it would actually be a false economy. Without legal advice more private family disputes would end up in court; without legal representation the hearings of them would take longer; and without assistant legal navigators the trial judges would more often be blown off course so there would be more appeals.

1st September 2012 Read more