Social housing: tenant in London

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP is widely regarded as a market-leader in the social housing sphere and has ‘true expertise in the field that few other firms can match’. It advises social housing tenants and leaseholders on complex issues, including homelessness, possession, breach of lease and leasehold enfranchisement. The team is particularly strong in disrepair claims; Giles Peaker played a major role in drafting the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which came into full force in 2020 and enables tenants to take action against their landlord if their home contains a hazard that is a risk to their health or well-being. Practice head Andrew Brookes specialises in tenant disputes with freeholders concerning repairs and service charges. Timothy Waitt advises on defective newly-built shared housing schemes. Sara Stephens handles complex, sensitive issues with ‘rigour and compassion’.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Brookes

Testimonials

One of the best in the business. They cover the full range of social housing disputes and act on both legal aid and a private client basis

Giles Peaker is someone who lives, sleeps and breathes this area. Andrew Brookes has seen it all and nothing phases him.’

Good team and strong presence.

Andrew Brookes – been doing it for years and is well known for his calm demeanour and excellent judgment. Sara Stephens – also a well-respected housing lawyer who really cares for her clients.’

Mixed commercial and legal aid team that puts considerable resources into its cases. Excellent individuals in the team, including members of the team that write and train regularly. Very active in the sector and highly regarded by peers.

Timothy Waitt – extremely hard working and bright solicitor who is very good at keeping cases on track. Dogged and tenacious but also very good in strategically managing cases for the best outcome. Andrew Brookes – extremely experienced and high-quality solicitor leading the team Sarah Stephens – mixed practice but very good on legal aid cases. Highly regarded.’

No other firm can I think claim the high level of commitment to be found at AG.

Sara Stephens – exceptional, hard-working, gritty and determined. If I had a housing problem I would without hesitation take it to her.’

Key clients

Residential Landlords Association

Residents and Former Residents of the Ledbury Estate

Three tenants of the City of Westminster

Five tenants of PA Housing

Housing Association Tenant

Tenant of London Council

Shared ownership leaseholder

Mr C

A Development Residents Group

Work highlights

  • Successful intervention on behalf of the Residential Landlords Association in Judicial Review of the government’s “right to rent” immigration rules.
  • Acting for shared ownership owners of a new-build residential block developed by a housing association with multiple defects.
  • Successful group action on behalf of residents of south London estate where the flats had fire safety defects and many repairing issues.

Bindmans LLP

Bindmans LLP’s specialist team is the ‘first choice for larger cases, particularly involving fire safety works’. Its most significant work recently has been the enquiry into the Grenfell fire; practice head Paul Ridge represents approximately half of all claimants involved in the enquiry. More generally, the firm is representing an increasing number of large resident groups in claims against social housing landlords under the Defective Premises Act 1972 over fire safety. Christian Hansen has a broad practice, which involves advising homeless people, tenants and other residential occupiers; he is ‘one of the best housing lawyers out there’.  Will Whitaker focuses on mental capacity issues, housing, and community care.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ridge

Other key lawyers:

Christian Hansen; Will Whitaker

Testimonials

Excellent breadth of expertise for dealing with vulnerable clients. Able to deal with housing, community care, Court of Protection and public law issues.

Christian Hansen – good knowledge of the law combined with tenacity and pragmatic sense.’

Good team. Not large but effective.

Christian Hansen is a superb lawyer – one of the best housing lawyers out there. Never misses a good point, looks after his clients and get results. Totally dependable every time.’

Paul Ridge is the leader of the team and had an amazing knowledge of housing law and commitment to his clients.

Paul Ridge as above. He is currently instructed in the Grenfell Inquiry and his care and empathy with his clients is extraordinary.’

They pick and choose their cases, but the size of the firm and its resourcing and profile makes them a first choice for larger cases, particularly involving fire safety works. They are heavily involved in the Grenfell inquiry and the other affected blocks.

Paul Ridge – with clients, he is fantastic. With opponents, he is as hard as nails.’

Key clients

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Richmond House residents, Worcester Park

The Exchange residents, Bermondsey

Work highlights

  • Represents the largest group of bereaved, survivors and residents in The Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the largest public inquiry in the UK.
  • Instructed by the Official Solicitor in a complex range of cases dealing with the overlap between housing, capacity and community care.
  • Leading firm in responding to the national cladding scandal. Acting for all victims of a large shared ownership block in Worcester Park and cladding victims in Bermondsey.

Deighton Pierce Glynn

Praised for its ‘one of a kind’ practice, Deighton Pierce Glynn handles a broad range of contentious matters, including complex judicial review claims, High Court service charge disputes and county court homelessness appeals and possession claims. The team’s distinguishing feature is the work it does with migrants, asylum seekers, trafficking victims and the travelling community; Sue Willman has a strong track record of advising such clients on a broad range of housing issues. Polly Glynn is ‘very sharp, focused and committed’ to assisting clients with homelessness, destitution and Equality Act challenges. Rebecca Bahar and Sasha Rozansky lead the practice from the London Bridge and City offices respectively.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Rozansky; Rebecca Bahar

Testimonials

DPG are one of a kind. They really practice what they preach. A firm that embodies the values that they seek to advance in society. Often representing the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals in the UK, they have created an oasis in the legal advice desert of the South West for social tenants.’

As a firm, Deighton Pierce Glynn are renowned for being forward-thinking and innovative, always ahead in terms of identifying new ways to assist their clients and often identify and progress test cases. They will always present well researched and well-prepared cases.

In social housing, Rebecca Bahar is a leading practitioner who has a very strong reputation in this area, she fights hard to get good results for her clients and even in complex disputes is clear-sighted and able to present a pathway forward even in complex cases.’

Deighton Pierce Glynn have a fantastic team of lawyers who are committed to social justice and publicly funded work in this field.

Polly Glynn is a brilliant lawyer but importantly she also has a marvellous way with clients, putting them at their ease, instilling them with confidence and giving them clear and concise advice. Keith Coughtrie has extensive experience in housing law and a niche specialism in representing Gypsies and Travellers who reside on local authority and privately owned caravan sites, defending possession proceedings, challenging allocation decisions and dealing with other issues arising between his clients and the site managers/owners. Keith has an unerring commitment to the protection and preservation of his Gypsy and Traveller clients’ right to live in accordance with their traditional way of life which he regularly demonstrates by going that extra mile for them – often achieving remarkable results as a consequence.’

Very driven, passionate and client-focused. A real commitment to clients, and effective advocates for vulnerable individuals.

Polly Glynn is excellent – very sharp, focused and committed.’

The team really understand the urgency of these cases for their clients and are quick to respond, effective and supportive, with exceptional knowledge and professionalism.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a Claimant who lacks mental capacity in a public law judicial review claim against the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to Schedule 10 Immigration Act 2016, particularly concerning the Secretary of State’s exercise of his discretion to grant such accommodation, the legality of his policy concerning eligibility for such accommodation and/or whether the SSHD is operating a fair and rational system to determine such eligibility.
  • Acting for the Claimant, a Romany Traveller seeking planning permission for a site her family owns, in a statutory appeal to the Planning Court of a refusal of planning permission by the local authority. This is important because it is the first test of the duty in Wales to provide sites.
  • Acted on a strategic challenge against the delays in the provision of accommodation and support provided to migrants under Section 4 Immigration and Asylum Act.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors is best known for its involvement in ‘novel and groundbreaking litigation in the higher courts’. It handles complex and novel issues relating to disrepair, possession, illegal evictions, homelessness and judicial reviews. A recent highlight involved assisting the Latin Village Community at Seven Sisters market on the judicial review of a compulsory purchase order. Jayesh Kunwardia ‘leads the team from the front’ and has advised on many of the most high-profile issues in the sector. Daniel Fitzpatrick is recognised for his work in human rights and discrimination cases, often taking on large group actions. Sophie Bell is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Jayesh Kunwardia

Testimonials

A large team handling a lot of work with some very good individuals who stand out.

Sophie Bell, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Jayesh Kunwardia and Satvir Sahota are very strong. I particularly like Sioned Roberts and Suzanne Bird. Both very good legal aid housing lawyers.’

In the last few years, the social housing team at Hodge Jones and Allen has gone from strength to strength and are now one of the largest and most prominent firms in this sector. They have been involved in some of the most notable cases before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in the last couple of years. They have managed to balance taking on new trainees but maintaining an exceptionally high level of internal training. They are forward-thinking and always at the cutting edge of legal developments.

Hodge Jones & Allen are probably the leading firm for tenant work in social housing in London. They provide an across the board services of defending possession proceedings, homelessness work, disrepair combined with novel and groundbreaking litigation in the higher courts. The team is comprised of a large number of highly experienced and able solicitors and caseworkers who provide an excellent service to their clients and always attempt to achieve the right outcome.

Jayesh Kunwardia, a leading housing lawyer who leads the team from the front and has a history of novel and groundbreaking litigation in the areas of homelessness and allocation of social housing. Daniel Fitzpatrick a solicitor who is dedicated to his clients and maintaining housing standards. He is heavily involved in the Grenfell Inquiry. Farzana Choudhury is an excellent lawyer and has a vast knowledge of possession proceedings and disrepair claims. Jack Crown, a rising star with a subtle and complex understanding of homelessness law.’

HJA has a very strong housing team, with breadth and depth. They take important test cases whilst also doing “coal face” work that might not involve imaginative points of law but keeps their clients in their homes, resolves their rent arrears etc.’

Hodge Jones and Allen were very knowledgeable in this field. Organising an experienced team to represent us.

Jayesh Kunwardia was very helpful in clarify our position and identifying a good strategy moving forward.’

Key clients

Abdelrahim Alibkhiet

Noelia Del Rio Sanchez

The Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry

Sivapragasam Kannan

Yavuz Yildiz

Carlos Burgos and Nicholas Amayo (on behalf of the Latin Village Community at Seven Sisters Market)

Mohammed Araho

Danni-Lee Morris

Mr Shane Harris

Dionne Greenland

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in an appeal from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the decision made by a local authority to place an applicant out of borough without explaining why accommodation within or closer to the borough in question could not be sourced for the family who were offered a full housing duty.
  • Represented a client who was unlawfully evicted and recovered damages at trial in the sum of £56,675.91 plus payment of her costs on an indemnity basis.
  • Acted on an appeal against a Part 7 Housing Act 1996 homelessness suitability review decision. The case defined the approach that local authorities must take in assessing the suitability of temporary accommodation for people with disabilities.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors' team is spread across the Croydon, Dalston, Harrow and Shepherd's Bush offices. It covers a full range of contentious issues, with particular expertise in handling Equality Act defence cases and possession claims. Practice Head Manjinder Kaur Atwal frequently advises on matters involving novel points of law and has recently had a case listed at the Court of Appeal concerning the interrelationship between the Public Sector Equality Duty and the court’s discretion to make a possession order under Ground 17, Housing Act 1988. Dianne Cowie has a ‘robust and sensible approach’ to advising on disrepair matters and cases involving allegations of anti-social behaviour, particularly in relation to vulnerable clients. James de Vere Moss, Chinedu Orogbu  and Bernadette Chikwe are the other practice heads.

Testimonials

They have good knowledge and experience in housing law which is reflected in their reported cases.

They are good at running novel points of law to the Court of Appeal.’

Hard working and committed team.’

The team is extensive and dedicated. This sets it apart from other legal aid housing firms that I have dealt with recently. They are always able to deal with matters properly and quickly as a result. It goes without saying that they are experts in their field and professional.

I would single out Dianne Cowie and Manjinder Kaur Atwal, both for their extensive experience, knowledge and hard work. They are very thorough and good at dealing with the more vulnerable housing tenants.’

Effective team with finger on the pulse and quick to identify the critical issues

Dianne Cowie – always engaged with the legal issues. Incredibly practical with robust and sensible approach.

Manjinder Atwal – professional and dedicated.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an assured tenant on defending a possession claim sought by a development company who acquired a plot of land where the client resided.
  • Represented a client at the Court of Appeal concerning the important point of principle about the interrelationship between the PSED and the court’s discretion to make a possession order.
  • Challenged the security of tenure for a client.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors, whose specialist team ‘punches above its weight’, advises on a broad range of housing work. It has particular expertise in housing-related public law challenges. A recent highlight involved advising on a dispute in the European Court of Human Rights concerning the application of “bedroom tax” to victims of domestic violence in specially adapted sanctuary scheme homes. The group is jointly led by Lesley Curtis and Rebekah Carrier; the former advises on claims under the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, while the latter frequently acts in public interest cases including complex judicial review cases and proceedings in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Ann Bevington acts as duty solicitor on the Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court Housing Possession scheme.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Curtis; Rebekah Carrier

Other key lawyers:

Ann Bevington

Testimonials

Ann Bevington, Lesley Curtis and Rebekah Carrier are standout individuals within the social housing world, whose reputations are up with the very best. They are extremely able, experienced and thorough, allowing them to go many extra miles for their clients, taking novel points that push the boundaries of the area. This is perhaps most obviously reflected in their involvement in an extraordinary proportion of the leading housing and social welfare cases of recent years.’

This firm has a mixed legal aid and CFA practice. A small firm but with solicitors with a combined experience that few can touch.

Lesley Curtis is extremely experienced. Very good at disrepair cases. Ann Bevington is excellent. Has an expertise and gravitas that brings confidence to clients. She is very practical and very good at getting solid results for her clients.’

Lesley Curtis and Ann Bevington are brilliant. work hard, tenacious and bold. They will represent people others won’t.’

Lesley Curtis and Ann Bevington are both outstanding. Knowledgeable, thorough with keen attention to detail. They focus in on key points and are very clear about strengths and weaknesses. They are also both fierce negotiators.’

The social housing team at Hopkin Murray Beskine punches above its weight. It has particular expertise in housing allocations and has brought some of the most important recent cases in this area. The quality of its work is exceptional and it achieves brilliant results for its clients.

Ann Bevington is a very well-respected and extremely experienced social housing solicitor. She has particular expertise in housing allocation cases and has brought some of the most significant recent cases in this area. Her work is reliable and thorough and she prepares her cases extremely well.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for an appellant in a case concerning application of “bedroom tax” to victims of domestic violence in specially adapted “sanctuary scheme” homes. Gained a significant judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which establishes that justifying discrimination involving disabled persons or on the grounds of gender will require “weighty reasons”.
  • Acted for a claimant regarding interpretation of homelessness provisions regarding discharge of duty through the making of a private sector offer of accommodation.
  • Obtained a significant Court of Appeal decision establishing that a 10 year residence requirement in a local authority’s housing allocation policy unlawfully discriminated against Irish Travellers.

Osbornes

Osbornes provides a complete service to clients who have claims against local authorities and housing associations. The team handles judicial reviews, possession claims and disrepair matters in addition to advising EU nationals on their legal position and status. William Ford, who leads the team, advises on possession and disrepair claims; he also has particular expertise in cases involving the protection of tenancy deposits under the Housing Act 2004. Assistant solicitor Edward Taylor represents unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors whose age is disputed by the Home Office and social services. Alex McMahon is recommended for his work with children.

Practice head(s):

William Ford

Testimonials

Osbornes provide an incredibly high-quality service to their clients. The firm treats its legal aid clients with the same respect and commitment as if they were important private clients, which is rare and admirable. Their housing solicitors are also highly skilled and knowledgable.’

Osbornes has an impressive social housing team and the quality of their work that I have seen is very high. Will Ford is a very well-regarded figure in the housing law world and leads a team of high quality and committed lawyers. The existence of family and property law teams at the firm, amongst others, means that they are able to offer a holistic and expert approach to their clients.’

A committed and well-organised team with a good knowledge of the law and who work hard to secure a good outcome for their clients

Will Ford – good technical lawyer with a strong commitment to his clients Alex McMahon – thorough and committed. Very easy to work with.’

The team at Osbornes is inspired by its leader Will Ford, a truly first-rate, modern lawyer’s lawyer. The team have blossomed under his Will and are now packed with conscientious, dedicated and excellent lawyers who always give their clients 100%.’

Osbornes are an exceptional team. They have a wealth of housing experience and knowledge that is ‘top notch’. Clients are safe in their hands. As colleagues, they have a fantastic working relationship with each other and, feeding off of each other’s expert knowledge, their solicitors work to ensure that no stone is unturned.

Arjun Jethwa: I have been instructed by Arjun for some years now. He will always, rightly, look at what favourable outcomes we can get for the clients and has often challenged me where I have taken an overly conservative approach. He looks for points to assist his clients wherever he can and, on a recent case, refused to allow a local authorities uncompromising approach deter him. He is bright and dedicated and will certainly go far.

Manjit Mandair is exceptionally clever and has housing law at her fingertips. She is known in the housing world for her hard work and dedication. She has spent long weekends challenging LAA decisions for emergency funding, only to secure favourable outcomes for her clients. She gives her clients clear advice and seeks early and favourable outcomes to her cases.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a tenant on a challenge to the London Borough of Hillingdon’s allocation scheme.
  • Represented a family with severely disabled children in a disrepair claim.
  • Advised on an appeal by a tenant of a possession order made against her under s21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates’ housing group works with its mental health and community care teams to provide tenants in affordable housing with a complete service on a private, legal aid and pro bono basis. The team is particularly active in advising mentally ill clients. Practice head Keith Clarke has advised on reported Court of Appeal matters relating to both housing and mental health law. Associate Michael Barrett advises on housing, community care and mental capacity matters.

Practice head(s):

Keith Clarke; Michael Barrett

Testimonials

Keith Clarke is clearly a subject matter expert, with vast experience and knowledge. His professional yet warm approach is both reassuring and confidence-inducing. Although we won our case, for a long time it looked as though this result would be unlikely, but despite this, I had every confidence that everything possible would be explored to obtain the best outcome and our case was in safe hands.’

The team not only responded on the same day to my referral, processed and assigned my case, but they also got the ball rolling from the very start. They are very approachable and I felt able to contact them directly for regular updates- this is not usual with other firms where it can be difficult to get updates or get in contact with the individual(s) that are assisting with the case. The team also delivered a standout training and information session to us, which was organised at our convenience; they came to our office, presented and explained complex legal matters in an engaging and memorable format, answered all our questions, and provided further resources to us. This resulted in improved service provision for us, in which our clients benefited most and we were confident to refer and recommend our clients to them- we were not disappointed.’

GT Stewart Limited

GT Stewart Limited’s ‘strong, specialist housing team’ assists vulnerable clients with a wide range of matters, including unlawful evictions, judicial reviews, homelessness and possession matters. Team head Claire Wiles recently represented a client in a Court of Appeal case, which concerned the application of the Equality Act 2010 at the warrant stage. Dirghayu Patel is able to ‘navigate round the often-complex issues that homelessness and possession cases can include’. David Araya arrived from TV Edwards LLP in 2019 to advise on housing and community care issues.

Practice head(s):

Claire Wiles

Other key lawyers:

David Araya; Dirghayu Patel

Testimonials

An absolute commitment to clients makes this practice unique.

The team’s main strengths and key capabilities are: competence, being prepared to go the extra mile in an emergency or urgent situation, communication skills and a collegiate atmosphere.

GT Stewart has a very strong housing team. They know their local area very well indeed and are committed to their clients.’

The social housing team is one of the strongest of a dwindling number in this field. They have a wealth of experience and expertise and strong commitment to their clients.’

This is an outstanding firm with an incredible attention to detail. They work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. They are highly organised and clearly have strong client care skills. Briefs and instructions are always very detailed and consideration has always been given to creative solutions for resolving the case including settlement and alternative dispute resolution options where available. The legal knowledge of the team is always up to date with current developments. Overall there is a strong emphasis on client care and creative use of the law to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Dirghayu Patel is a fantastic lawyer who thinks creatively to resolve difficult cases. He is very good with vulnerable clients and very good at using Equality Act arguments to win cases or persuade an opponent to concede which makes a huge difference for clients who might otherwise be evicted. He is very considered and thoughtful in his approach to cases, and his legal knowledge is consistently spot-on.

Claire Wiles is an excellent lawyer who has an exceptional attention to detail. She leaves no stone unturned in finding the right solution for her often vulnerable clients. She is a tough and effective negotiator and is committed to achieving the right outcome for her clients. She works tirelessly and is amazingly efficient at producing high-quality work in a short period of time. She is generous with her time and is a passionate advocate for the rights of her tenant clients.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP’s clients are ‘guaranteed a good service’ when they consult the firm for advice on possession and disrepair claims. Graham French has recently retired from the partnership but remains as a consultant to advise the victims of the Grenfell fire and their families, both as part of the official inquiry and on issues of rehousing. Associate Caroline Brosnan is ‘prepared to go the extra mile for her clients’ in homelessness cases, in particular section 204 appeals, and has provided training to local agencies. Jason Hunter is the team head.

Practice head(s):

Jason Hunter

Key clients

Arneway Housing Co-Operative Limited

W11 Housing Co-Operative Limited

Portobello Housing Co-Operative Limited

Work highlights

  • Challenged the Personalised Housing Plans which are now a key element of the assessment process for homeless applicants and introduced under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
  • Advised clients in relation to the duties placed upon Local Authorities to provide support with housing and financial assistance further to Section 17 of the Children Act 1989. These duties are outside of the normal housing duties placed upon Local Authorities, further to the Housing Act 1996.
  • Advised a client who was facing eviction under Ground 13 on the basis that her home has been adapted for a physically disabled person  and no one residing in the property had those needs.

TV Edwards LLP

The ‘really standout individuals’ at TV Edwards LLP frequently advise really vulnerable clients on homelessness, possession and anti-social behaviour issues. The team has a particular specialism in challenging the suitability of temporary accommodation and issuing judicial review proceedings following local authorities’ failure to provide emergency housing. Katie Brown is highly active in migrant support matters; she represents migrant families with children and adults with care needs in both a housing and community care context. Jacky Starling is able to ‘think outside the box’ having worked in private practice, local government and the not-for-profit sectors.

Practice head(s):

Jacky Starling; Katie Brown

Testimonials

TV Edwards has an excellent team representing social housing and private tenants, which includes some of the best solicitors I have worked with (see below). They are fairly uniquely well-placed to deal with difficult cases for clients with complex needs given not only the strength of their community care, mental health and Court of Protection teams, but also the fact that many members of the housing team also work in these areas. This means that they are able to provide a truly holistic service to some of the most vulnerable clients, as a result of which they are often instructed by the Official Solicitor.’

Thorough and detailed work with exceptional expertise within the team.

Katie Brown, Jenny Mansell, and Jackie Starling are particularly recommended, but the team has many very good lawyers, e.g. Jenny Hunt and including ‘up and coming’ new solicitors like Hannah Rondel. Each is a recognised expert in the area with considerable cross-over experience in mental capacity and community care and excellent client skills.’

The social housing team at TV Edwards is one of the best in the field. Its solicitors are hard-working, dedicated and highly intelligent. Their cases are well-prepared and their briefs to counsel are thorough and helpful. It is always a pleasure to be instructed by them.

Jennifer Mansell is an exceptional housing solicitor. She has particular expertise and experience in representing very vulnerable clients, many of whom lack capacity, and she handles these cases with empathy and thoughtfulness. She is thorough and hard-working and shows very good judgement.’

In an inherently underfunded sector, it is rare to find such a high-quality team which both has solid knowledge and grasp of the relevant areas of law but also an incredibly professional approach to their clients and cases.

Radhika Shah – Exceptionally capable lawyer. Solid grasp of the legal principles applicable to any case in this field. Manages a large caseload in poorly funded legal aid circumstances remarkably well.

Amanda Ford – Safe pair of hands. Comprehensive knowledge of the relevant fields of law. Reliable and consistent in all cases. Very good at managing the time of herself and those she works with to secure the best possible outcome for clients in the most efficient manner.’

Work highlights

  • Advised on a complex appeal to County Court in relation to important point on interplay between sections 202 and 204 Housing Act 1996, when appealing initial decisions where no review decision made or has been made out of time.
  • Made a successful application for judicial review on a homelessness matter, where it was found that although the claimant  had not taken full advantage of the personalised housing plan, the Council had acted unlawfully in failing to take into account the evidence of likely deterioration in claimant’s medical condition if not provided with accommodation.

Edwards Duthie Shamash

A firm that specialises in a wide variety of legal aid work, Edwards Duthie Shamash provides expert advice across the full range of housing law, including homelessness and allocations, possession proceedings, disrepair and unlawful eviction. The team is particularly active in possession proceedings; it holds Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme contracts at three county courts. The ‘formidableJames Harrison leads the team. ‘Exceptional communicator’ Simon Mullings became chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association in 2020.

Practice head(s):

James Harrison

Other key lawyers:

Simon Mullings; Anna O’Connell

Testimonials

An amalgamation of two very good legal aid firms. Broad and active spectrum of work in the field, including pro bono interventions on important issues. Run exceptionally well – efficient, resourceful solicitors dedicated to their clients

Simon Mullings, James Harrison and Anna O’Connell are very experienced legal aid lawyers dealing with very vulnerable clients. Very good strategic and legal brains.’

Excellent team of caseworkers who combine a good depth and breadth of legal expertise with a determined commitment to achieving results for their clients.’

Simon Mullings is a great guy to work with. He is committed and kind to his clients.’

The housing team fights tirelessly for their clients. They are thorough, but sensitive and with great expertise. They are open to novel arguments and to taking risks, but do not seek to showboat at the expense of their clients.

Simon Mullings is especially highly recommended. He is a key person on the tenant side of housing law, but also fantastic at building rapport with even very difficult clients.’

Edwards Duthie Shamash has a great housing team. Its individuals completely understand housing law and work on the front line of poverty, possession due to rent arrears, homelessness etc. I would put up in the highest band for social housing.

James Harrison has years of experience, a great client manner and attention to detail and compassion. Simon Mullings always goes more than the extra mile for his clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client who was facing eviction from her local authority flat due to allegations of nuisance and hoarding. The case was defended using arguments under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Secured damages of some £35,000 for a client who was unlawfully evicted.
  • Acted for a number of individuals who have suffered loss as a consequence of a fire at the Barking Riverside development in June 2019. The fire started on a timber clad balcony and spread quickly to the neighbouring flats.

Hockfield & Co Solicitors

Hockfield & Co Solicitors is a ‘respectable local firm’ that is best known for handling disrepair work for social housing tenants and long leaseholders under condition fee funding agreements. Michael McCrone’s previous experience working in the construction industry is beneficial in this regard, as he is able to provide technical knowledge from the outset of a case before expert evidence is sought. ‘Immensely knowledgeable’ practice head James Garvey is regularly referred work by local councils and law centres. Sarah Mossop does a ‘brilliant job’ advising on disrepair claims and is another key practitioner.

Practice head(s):

James Garvey

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Mossop; Michael McCrone

Testimonials

Very knowledgeable about their specialist sector and act in a prompt, clear and efficient manner.

James Garvey has always dealt with my business faultlessly with proficiency and courtesy.’

Very prompt responses, really good communication, very organised

Sarah Mossop has done a brilliant job with my case.’

Michael McCrone is a very genial, approachable solicitor who has a wealth of experience in disrepair and leasehold disputes. Sarah Mossop is a very well-organised litigator who has a reputation for sharp, clear analysis that cuts through the fog in identifying core issues in her cases.’

A well-rounded and practical team, good knowledge and advice. All instructions are clear and to the point, all cases are thoroughly investigated and pre-inspected, by the instructing solicitors prior to instructions being received by ourselves.’

Respectable local firm.

Michael McCrone is very knowledgeable about leasehold and repair matters.’

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a possession and arrears claim against a tenant by bringing a counterclaim for disrepair and failure to protect tenancy deposit – which resulted in damages award to the Tenant of £15,000.
  • Brought an enforcement application against the Council where they failed to carry out works properly following the settlement of disrepair proceedings, which resulted an Order for further works, further damages of £3000 and the rehousing of the tenant in larger suitable permanent accommodation.
  • Challenged the amount of damages offered by Southwark Council following a flood at a tennant’s home, which resulted in a substantial increase in damages awarded.