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Mathew McDermott

Call 2008
Telephone 020 7831 0222
Email mathew.mcdermott@42br.com

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Introduction

Mathew is a through-and-through landlord and tenant specialist, with a particular emphasis on social housing. If the matter is of relevance to either a landlord or a tenant, in whatever guise they appear (residential or commercial) or whatever Court or Tribunal in which they find themselves, Mathew will be able to assist.

His primary area of work is social housing with homelessness appeals comprising a very large portion of that work, and a growing judicial review practice on top. He frequently acts for many London boroughs, as well as other social landlords and tenants. He has given – and continues to give – training to solicitors and other professionals throughout the country on landlord and tenant matters, and he has written in the legal press numerous times and contributed recordings to the professional development podcasting service, CPDCast.

Above everything Mathew gives direct, concise, no-nonsense and honest advice that cuts through the irrelevancies and focuses solely on what matters to the client. One solicitor has said that “Mathew has the knack of still seeing the wood despite there being many trees in the way”.

In his spare time Mathew enjoys running, walking his beloved Whippet, Maple, and spending time with family. He is also keenly interested in British and North American history, in particular socio-economic history from the mid-19th Century to the 1980s, and also devours any book related to the Second World War.

Social Housing Profile

Rather than simply list the sort of cases with which he regularly deals, as a general rule if the issue or question relates to the occupation or condition of social housing – from the perspective of either the landlord or the tenant/occupier – Mathew can help. Indeed, prior to the Bar Mathew cut his teeth at a busy Housing Aid centre assisting tenants and mortgagors on the Duty Possession Desk. As such, Mathew’ experience in this field stretches beyond his years of work as a barrister.

A large portion of Mathew’s practice sees him advising on homelessness appeals under the Housing Act 1996, drafting skeleton arguments in respect of them and, of course, appearing in Court on behalf of both local authorities and applicants. Mathew is also accustomed in dealing with the now-frequently raised equality and human right issues in the housing, allocations and homelessness context.

Mathew has written a number of articles for the New Law Journal, Lexis Nexis PSL and Adviser (published by the Citizens Advice Bureau) and has recorded a number of podcasts on behalf of CPDCast. He also instigated and edits 42 Bedford Row’s successful and widely-distributed Housing Law Bulletins, which are often published by the Local Government Lawyer.

Landlord and Tenant Profile

Mathew’s experience of landlord and tenant matters reaches well-beyond the social housing sector, whether that landlord or tenant is a residential or a commercial one. He is very experienced in long leasehold matters and regularly appears in the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and has appeared in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). In this respect he is regularly instructed on issues ranging from lease extension, enfranchisement, Right to Manage and the payability and reasonableness of service charges. He also has a burgeoning TOLATA practice and has recently appeared in a number of multi-day trials.

He is particularly interested in the ever-changing context in which private residential landlords find themselves in respect of both managing and obtaining possession of premises (tenancy deposits, retaliatory eviction, HMOs, etc)

Mathew is also frequently instructed in forfeiture proceedings, whether they stem from breaches of residential or commercial leases, regardless of the nature of the breach. He has considerable experience advising on discreet points in this respect concerning entitlement to forfeit and waiver of the same. His commercial practice has additionally seen him undertake advisory and court work in respect of contested business lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Mathew’s direct and realistic advice is particularly valuable in the commercial context, and he prides himself in this respect on his ability and willingness to assist his solicitors or clients with the progression of the case generally.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Mathew is able to provide specialist, pragmatic and commercially focused advice and representation in all areas of concern to the commercial landlord or tenant. Mathew has particular experience representing both landlords and tenants in cases involving:

  • 1954 Act renewals;
  • Break clauses;
  • Sub-letting and assignments;
  • Forfeiture;
  • The condition of property;
  • Authorised guarantee agreements;
  • Rights of first refusal;
  • Retrieval of unpaid rent.
  • Mathew’s clients range from local authorities, large and small businesses through to individual traders.

He is commercially minded and seeks to achieve the best commercial outcome in every case.

News & events

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: 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

Has defending possession proceedings using Article 8 ECHR just got easier?

Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, and there shall be no interference with that right unless it is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society. In the context of possession proceedings, the courts have interpreted this as offering a defence to a possession claim if to allow it would be disproportionate in all the circumstances.

18th March 2014 Read more

Environmental

If the problem is on land, or started there, then Mathew can help.

Mathew has considerable experience in dealing with environmental matters that relate to property. In particular he is frequently instructed in statutory nuisance prosecutions under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and provides training to solicitors on this subject. He is also regularly instructed in general common law nuisance actions arising out of or concerning property as well as issues concerning the enforcement of housing standards under the scheme introduced by the Housing Act 2004.

He regularly appears in court on these matters, including the Magistrates’ Court, as well as advising – both pre- and post- issue or summons – on how to best resolve things.

Mathew appreciates the urgent nature of this work and is always able to advise in relation to emergency applications and to turn around paperwork quickly.

Housing

Mathew is a highly experienced and specialist social housing barrister.

Not only is this an area in which he now specialises, but he also worked for a specialist housing law firm prior to becoming a barrister. He cut his teeth with this busy firm, including working on a very busy court duty scheme. He is therefore experienced in any social housing matter:

  • Obtaining possession (on any ground),
  • Occupation
  • Anti-social behaviour (including injunctions and committals),
  • Homelessness,
  • Sub-letting,
  • Assignment,
  • Disrepair and housing-related health matters,
  • Unlawful eviction and harassment,
  • Trespass,
  • Discrimination and equality issues and human rights.

His work sees him regularly conducting trials (multi- and fast-track) as well as seeking emergency injunctive relief and committal applications, conducting case management hearings and interim hearings. He is available to draft statements of case and advise on any housing matter whatsoever. Mathew appreciates that in this area of law, more than most, quickly turning around paperwork is essential as is direct, practical advice.

Mathew has, over the years, represented the broad spectrum of housing clients: from large local authorities and housing associations through to tenants and other occupiers. This breadth provides a unique perspective and allows Mathew to cut immediately to the real issue in the case.

He prides himself in offering effective, practical and direct advice.

News & events

42 BR Housing Law Bulletin

In the latest newsletter from the Housing team at 42 Bedford Row, Mathew McDermott looks at the Supreme Court’s judgment dealing with the approach to affordability under Part VII Housing Act 1996

13th June 2019 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: 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

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 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

Property

Mathew’s specialist practice focuses exclusively on all matters relating to and concerning landlords and tenants, whether the setting is residential or commercial.

If there is a landlord or a tenant involved in some form or another Mathew can help.

He has considerable experience at the Bar – and at a specialist housing firm before that – in dealing with any landlord and tenant matter: issues of occupation, of possession, of a property’s condition, disputes over leases (of any nature), rents, succession, assignments, sub-tenancies, nuisance and environmental protection and discrimination and human rights in the landlord and tenant context.

Mathew has a particular interest in, and experience of, anti-social behaviour and the ever-changing attempts at dealing with it. He has dealt with many cases of serious violence, as well as cases involving the supply of Class A drugs and prolonged and sustained campaigns of harassment. Mathew is also experienced at dealing with anti-social behaviour generally, beyond the housing context.

For years he has been giving lectures and seminars in London and beyond to solicitors on developments in the law relating to landlords and tenants (ranging from procedural changes, human rights, disrepair, deposit disputes, anti-social behaviour and more), as well as having recorded numerous podcasts for the well-known CPD-provider CPDcast and published in the legal press.

Mathew is a specialist landlord and tenant barrister.

Residential Landlord & Tenant

If the matter is of concern to a landlord or a tenant, whether the residential lease is a short one or a long one, Mathew can help. From forfeiture claims, service charge disputes and section 21 possession proceedings right through to lengthy and complex cases of unlawful eviction, fraud, harassment and disrepair, Mathew is able to provide effective advocacy in court and direct but practical advice out of court.

Mathew practices in the county courts and the high court, as well as in the First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”), where his cases have involved lease extension, enfranchisement, costs, right to manage and many service charge disputes. Mathew is able to draft statements of case for use at the FTT as well as advice on any matter relating to the FTT’s jurisdiction.

Mathew has a particular interest in, and experience of, tenancy deposit disputes and has published in the legal press on this subject as well as having recorded podcasts for the CPD-provider, CPDCast.

For some years, Mathew has provided training to solicitors on residential landlord and tenant matters. Training has included tenancy deposit changes, the employment of the section 21 procedure, disrepair and procedural issues. Mathew is available to provide training to solicitors and other legal professionals, and the clerks would be happy receive enquiries in this regard.

He is an experienced landlord and tenant barrister having worked for some years across the residential spectrum.

Reported Cases

  • R (on the Application of Osman) v the London Borough of Harrow [2017] EWHC 274 (Admin). Mathew successfully represented the Defendant local authority in opposing this judicial review of its housing allocations scheme. The case concerned Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and a challenge against the authority’s decision to treat more favourably its current overcrowded tenants seeking larger accommodation than those seeking accommodation living in the private rented sector. The High Court confirmed that it was justifiable to treat the two groups differently. Judgment can be found here.
  • Anwar v Waltham Forest LBC [2018] EWHC 294 (Admin). Mathew 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 be responsible for the council tax as she herself could not access the property. The High Court rejected this and the appeal was dismissed.
  • Francia Properties Limited v St James House Freehold Limited [2018] UKUT 79 (LC). Mathew represented the company formed by the leaseholders to purchase the freehold, both at first instance and on this appeal (where the Upper Tribunal heard the matter afresh). The dispute concerned the chances of a purchaser obtaining, and the value arising therefrom, planning permission in respect of the top of the block in question, along with what (if anything) could then be built. The freeholder argued for a total premium in excess of £2m. The case concerned the “reasonably prudent purchaser” and what that person would have paid for the premium as at the Determination Date, considering planning permission may have been a prospect but not a guarantee. The Appellant freeholder has sought permission to appeal the Upper Tribunal’s decision.

Publications

  • “Home help?” (the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017), Adviser, March 2018. 
  • “Guaranteed Chaos: When is a tenancy deposit not a tenancy deposit? Commentary on Johnson v. Old” 163 NLJ 14
  • “Dispelling the section 21 myths” 164 NLJ 7597 15
  • “In to the unknown” (section 11 disrepair) 165 NLJ 7645 11
  • Mathew has recorded a number of podcasts on matters of housing law with the established online CPD-provider CPD-cast on issues concerning tenancy deposit protection and the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
  • Mathew created 42 Bedford Row’s regular Housing Law Bulletin, which he edits and contributes to.

Qualifications and Appointments

  • University of Warwick (LLB) (Hons)
  • Nottingham Law School (Bar Vocational Course)
  • Universiteit Leiden, the Netherlands (LLM in Public International Law) Cum Laude honours
  • Bar Vocational Course Exhibition (Inner Temple)
  • Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship (Inner Temple)
  • Sir Joseph Priestly Scholarship (Inner Temple)
  • Sir Neville Laski Q.C scholarship (Inner Temple)
  • Qualified pupil supervisor
  • Qualified under the Public Access to Barristers scheme

Accreditations

  • Mathew is always very well prepared, extremely helpful, professional and empathises with the witnesses. He is very personable, down to earth and gets on well with the client. We are very pleased with his work

  • Mathew has the knack of still seeing the wood despite there being very many trees in the way

Professional memberships

  • The Property Bar Association

Other information

Mathew provides bespoke CPD-accredited training seminars in all matters of concern to landlords and tenants, either in the residential or commercial sector. These seminars can be held in chambers or at solicitors’ offices. If you are interested in discussing what is available, please contact chambers.

News & events

News & events

42 BR Housing Law Bulletin

In the latest newsletter from the Housing team at 42 Bedford Row, Mathew McDermott looks at the Supreme Court’s judgment dealing with the approach to affordability under Part VII Housing Act 1996

13th June 2019 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: 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

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 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

Has defending possession proceedings using Article 8 ECHR just got easier?

Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, and there shall be no interference with that right unless it is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society. In the context of possession proceedings, the courts have interpreted this as offering a defence to a possession claim if to allow it would be disproportionate in all the circumstances.

18th March 2014 Read more