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Social housing: tenant in London

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP undertakes the entire ambit of social housing litigation for tenants and leaseholders, with a particular strength in repairs cases. It is lauded for having 'terrific depth and experience in social housing'. Matters involve new-build and shared ownership properties, fire safety remediation works, tenancy deposits and licensing issues. Practice head Andrew Brookes and Timothy Waitt are among the key individuals in the group, with the latter practitioner being particularly knowledgeable about defective newly-built shared housing schemes. Also noted are Giles Peaker, who is 'the doyen of housing lawyers' and Sara Stephens, who 'fights harder than anyone'; they have particular experience of homelessness and possession cases.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Brookes

Other key lawyers:

Giles Peaker; Timothy Waitt; Sara Stephens; Eleanor Solomon

Testimonials

‘Very responsive to referrals and eager to get good outcomes for vulnerable young homeless people.’

‘Giles Peaker, through his blog Nearly Legal, not only provides an invaluable service for all housing lawyers but has put Anthony Gold right at the top for social housing issues. Andrew Brookes is an excellent solicitor with tremendous depth of knowledge and experience.’

‘Excellent mix of work and particularly skilled at group claims, long leasehold disputes and shared ownership issues.’

‘Giles Peaker – probably the leading social housing law solicitor working today. Andrew Brookes – he’s seen it all and nothing surprises him. Sara Stephens – Fights harder than anyone I’ve ever seen.’

‘The team has very wide expertise, covering not just the bread and butter areas of landlord and tenant work (i.e. possession, homelessness, disrepair…) but also more specialist topics such as housing habitation and long leasehold claims.’

‘Giles Peaker among the established solicitors, is the doyen of housing lawyers, Eleanor Solomon among the senior associates is committed, articulate and a real-stand out performer in disrepair claims.’

‘They have terrific depth and experience in social housing and have a balanced approach as they work for both landlords and tenants.’

Key clients

Core Participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Tia Jones v London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Tenants and Leaseholders of the Paragon

4 tenants of Desmond House

A v LB Southwark

Work highlights

  • Acted for a high profile survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire who is a core participant in the ongoing public inquiry. Advised and assisted the core participant in making submissions, preparing questions for witnesses and examining evidence.
  • Acted for a tenant who was not told of her neighbour’s racial abuse and other anti-social behaviour before she moved in to her housing association flat.
  • Acted for a large group of residents who were forced at short notice to leave their social housing blocks because of fire safety concerns.

Bindmans LLP

The social housing department at Bindmans LLP focuses on complex possession claims, injunctions and cases where capacity is an issue. Paul Ridge's work covers the intersection between mental capacity issues, community care responsibilities and housing needs. In addition, the firm continues to act for a large number of Grenfell Tower victims and has thereby built a strong reputation for fire hazard expertise, particularly in relation to cladding, and now acts for increasing number of clients with similar issues. Christian Hansen shows an 'excellent combination of experience and commitment' and specialises in complex housing possession, unlawful eviction, nuisance and disrepair claims. Will Whitaker has a focus on high-value unlawful eviction cases that involve crossover with breaches of right to liberty and right to private and family life.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ridge

Other key lawyers:

Christian Hansen; Will Whitaker; Samuel Cronin

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable about the needs of protected parties within court proceedings. Tactful when dealing with difficult clients. Go over and above to achieve great outcomes for protected parties.’

‘Samuel is very committed to his work. Samuel also provides excellent advice on complex cases. Further both Paul and Samuel are a joy to work with on difficult cases.’

‘Christian Hansen is the best housing lawyer out there, bar none.’

‘Good breadth of expertise across housing, community care, Court of Protection, health and general public law issues.’

‘Paul Ridge has an amazing overview of housing/community care issues. The team as a whole has got very, very good at fire safety work given that it has several hundred Grenfell clients.’

‘This practice is very hands-on, there is nothing too complicated for them to consider and achieve on behalf of a client, in fact they will always go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in the client’s favour.’

‘I have worked with a number of individuals at this practice and have found over the years that no task or question is unimportant, they will exhaust every possible scenario before conceding that there is no alternative outcome for a possible situation and even then will still consider how it would be possible to assist in obtaining the very best outcome for the client.’

‘Christian Hansen – Excellent combination of experience and commitment.’

Key clients

Grenfell Tower Inquiry – 200 victims

Richmond House – Worcester Park Fire

The Exchange residents, Bermondsey

The Official Solicitor

Pavilion (300 leaseholders in Tottenham)

Deighton Pierce Glynn

Deighton Pierce Glynn handles all types of social housing issues on behalf of tenants, including judicial review claims, High Court service charge disputes and County Court homelessness appeals and possession claims. Also notable is that the team has built up a strong reputation for undertaking housing litigation on behalf of migrants, as well as the travelling community, with several legal challenges recently resulting in policy changes at the Home Office. Sasha Rozansky, who made partner in September of 2020, jointly leads the department with 'outstanding social housing solicitor' Rebecca Bahar. Sue Willman acts for migrants, including destitute asylum seekers, in public law housing cases. Polly Glynn set up the firm's Pre-Action Protocol Project to assist NGOs with their initial pre-action letters, and she specialises in homelessness and destitution matters, as well as Equality Act challenges.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Rozansky; Rebecca Bahar

Other key lawyers:

Polly Glynn; Sue Willman; Diane Astin; Keith Coughtrie

Testimonials

‘The firm’s unique selling point is its first-class reputation in relation to claims for judicial review and in particular its expertise in relation to migrants’ rights. This means that it is one of a small number of go-to firms for the purposes of strategic litigation in relation to social housing and social welfare cases.’

‘Sasha Rozansky is an exceptional solicitor, with extensive experience in housing, public law and migrant support. She is equally at home achieving important results for individuals and bringing important strategic challenges.’

‘A renowned and cutting-edge team of leading practitioners in the social welfare and housing field, with particular commitment to supporting some of the most marginalised individuals in complex and difficult cases to achieve social justice.’

‘Sasha Rozansky  – excellent and committed social welfare and housing lawyer. I have greatly enjoyed working with Sasha who is a very collaborative and highly engaged social welfare and housing lawyer.’

‘Rebecca Bahar is an outstanding social housing solicitor. She is extremely intelligent, very thorough, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Diane Astin is well-known and well-respected in the social housing field. She is the author of the invaluable textbook “Housing Law Handbook” published by Legal Action Group.’

‘Keith Coughtrie has spent many years defending the rights of gypsies and travellers and is highly experienced in this field.’

‘I have worked with three outstanding members of the team in recent years – Polly Glynn, Sue Willman and Keith Coughtrie. All three have a huge amount of expertise and experience in this field but also have a huge amount of dedication to their clients and publicly funded work – a rare combination of qualities in a time when publicly funded work for the most vulnerable members of our society is so under-valued.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed in a challenge of the defendant’s decision to accommodate the claimants, who are vulnerable asylum seekers, at Napier Barracks in Kent where there has been a widespread outbreak of COVID-19. The claimants are challenging the legality of conditions at Napier Barracks and the defendant’s system for allocating asylum seekers to barracks accommodation, including that the conditions of the Napier accommodation breach, or create a real risk of a breach of, Articles 2, 3 and/or 8 ECHR, particularly with regard to the lack of privacy, hygiene and toileting facilities, and the heightened risk of COVID-19 infections. Following an oral permission hearing on 16 February 2021, at which the SSHD conceded permission, Mr Justice Chamberlain granted the clients permission to proceed on all grounds.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors acts for tenants on a broad variety of matters, including disrepair cases, tenant-landlord disputes, illegal evictions, homelessness, possession claims, as well as judicial reviews. Practice head Jayesh Kunwardia is 'an excellent and imaginative housing lawyer', who specialises in a variety of housing issues and has been involved in high-profile claims relating to the Grenfell disaster and HS2, among others. The 'extremely thorough and hard working' Sophie Bell frequently acts for clients where capacity and health issues intersect with disrepair and possession. Daniel Fitzpatrick is experienced in group claims that are often related to human rights and discrimination issues.

Practice head(s):

Jayesh Kunwardia  

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Fitzpatrick; Farzana Chowdhury; Sophie Bell

Testimonials

‘The housing team at Hodge Jones Allen is a true leader in the field of tenant work across the board. The team covers all areas of possession, including anti-social behaviour work and injunctions, together with homelessness (both appeals and in the High Court), disrepair and fitness for habitation work. The team have been involved in a number of key cases in housing and homelessness law. It is at present one of the pre-eminent teams in social housing in the country.’

‘Jayesh Kunwardia is the head of the team and an excellent and imaginative housing lawyer. He always leads from the front and has an excellent reputation in client management and finding ground breaking test cases. Dan Fitzpatrick is an excellent lawyer who is currently involved in the long running Grenfell Inquiry. Sophie Bell is an extremely through and hard working lawyer especially in cases involving very vulnerable clients alleged to have committed anti-social behaviour. Farzana Choudhury is an excellent lawyer and very dedicated to the interests of her clients.’

‘Hodge Jones & Allen are a well-known presence in the social housing field with an experienced team of solicitors. They cover a wide range of housing work and are focused on achieving good practical outcomes for their clients.’

‘Daniel Fitzpatrick is an extremely experienced and committed housing solicitor with wide-ranging expertise. Sophie Bell is a well-respected housing solicitor who is very good with clients.’

‘This firm is committed to making sure clients are given all relevant information and understanding in their case. They’re also happy to talk through any information not understood.’

‘My case has been very long and challenging at times. My lawyer worked tirelessly to make sure I’m kept up to date as well as chasing for court dates to get my case completed.’

‘They are very professional, very well connected. I happened to be on legal aid and their eligibility assessment was very straightforward and quick.’

Work highlights

  • Legal representative to the Inquiry representing residents on the Grenfell Public Inquiry
  • Advising residents of Denby Court (occupied by 51 families) in relation to the threat of eviction to allow for the redevelopment of the land.
  • Acting for the Appellant in a High Court Appeal in possession proceedings, on an important procedural point as yet unresolved in the courts below.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors is contracted with the Legal Aid Agency and provides publicly funded services to tenants on a diverse range of social housing matters which include cases of disrepair and rent disputes, as well as judicial reviews. The team is particularly experienced in possession and unlawful eviction claims, with a significant presence in County Court Possession Duty Schemes in London. A further niche specialism of the practice is in assisting vulnerable clients with Equality Act defence cases. Manjinder Kaur Atwal, 'excellent solicitor' Dianne CowieBernadette Chikwe and David Head jointly lead the practice. Chinedu Orogbu and James de Vere Moss have left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Manjinder Kaur Atwal; Dianne Cowie; Bernadette Chikwe; David Head

Testimonials

‘Duncan Lewis are hugely experienced and have a good relationship with the local community, especially interpreters.’

‘Bernadette Chikwe is efficient and is trusted by many tenants and homeless people. She is calm and a good listener and seems to have a good rapport with her clients.’

‘This practice has excellent experience and specialist knowledge in this sector and the lawyers there are prepared to go the extra mile for their clients.’

‘Manjinder Atwal is one of the solicitors and directors there and she stands out by far. She responds quickly, she’s very organised and extremely knowledgeable. She is also very easy to talk to and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘From my experience of working with the social housing team at Duncan Lewis, they are extremely dedicated, hardworking and knowledgeable. They care about their clients and always fight their corner.’

‘The firm provides a country wide range of services for social tenants both in respect of possession and homelessness.’

‘Diane Cowie – an excellent solicitor who provides a high range of services Manjinder Kaur Atwal – provides a high quality services to all of her clients.’

‘I have never felt like a case number that needed to be dealt with. Manjinder has always treated me as a person and calmed me down when the unexpected happened with my case and taken the time to explain what was going on and why and what my options were. The help and advice Manjinder gave me was always correct and on point. Her recommendations for every aspect of my case have been beyond excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Represented the defendant in a possession claim where the claimant sought possession based on Ground 17 of the Housing Act 1988 in respect of the defendant’s premises.
  • Acted for a client in a possession claim brought by the landlord (property development company).
  • Represented the applicant in a homelessness judicial review matter at the High Court. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council was the respondent.

Osbornes

Osbornes advises on all social housing issues impacting vulnerable clients, including those with no access to public funding. Clients are additionally advised on a host of housing-related welfare benefits, while EU nationals are advised on their legal position and status. 'Astute litigator' William Ford, who heads up the team, has a focus on matters concerning the eligibility of migrants to apply for benefits, community care services and housing assistance. The 'knowledgable and dedicated' Edward Taylor is particularly experienced in working with the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee in matters where clients lack capacity. Alex McMahon is experienced in matters concerning alleged statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Manjit Mandair is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

William Ford

Other key lawyers:

Edward Taylor; Alex McMahon; Manjit Mandair

Testimonials

‘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.’

‘Will Ford – very experienced, highly professional and with a wide and deep knowledge of social housing litigation and related social welfare areas of law. Manjit Mandair – very committed to getting the very best outcome for her clients. Her work includes cases acting for the Official Solicitor concerning complex capacity issues and duties to vulnerable adults.’

‘At the top of the social housing tree. Their team provides high quality advice and great client care. They can offer a holistic approach, so where a housing problem also requires community care or other aspects, this can be provided.’

‘Will Ford is a leading figure in the social housing field. He is highly committed to his clients and leaves no stone unturned in seeking to assist them with their problems. He is an astute litigator, and his breadth of knowledge across the fields of housing and social welfare law allows him to take a holistic approach to clients’ situations.’

‘Very strong team – incredibly knowledgable with good cross-over knowledge in mental capacity and community care. Thorough, dedicated and very professional. Clients will feel they are getting a gold standard service.’

‘Edward Taylor and Alex McMahon are both knowledgable and dedicated. In particular Edward has in every case offered both useful insight and knowledge and works all hours, going to lengths and detailed instructions and input well beyond any other solicitor I work for; even if a rare couple come close. It is truly astonishing work ethic coupled to quality of legal skill.’

‘This is a very high-end law firm, which treats its legal aid clients with the same seriousness and respect as its privately paying clients.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a family to issue judicial review proceedings in the High Court regarding the decision of the London Borough of Southwark that the family had acted “deliberately” by occupying a statutory overcrowded flat many years earlier before becoming aware of the council’s allocation policy and applying to it for housing assistance.
  • Acted for a client who had applied to the claimant to succeed the tenancy following the death of her late husband. The housing association determined that no person had a right to succeed the tenancy and commenced possession proceeding by posting a notice to quit to the premises. Further, in accordance with s.18 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994, a copy was posted to the Public Trustee a few days later. The trial concerned a complex legal issue which the county courts had grappled with for a number of years. The important question being “what happens if the two copies of the notice arrive during different periods of the tenancy?”.
  • Acted for a client in a case involving an application by the client’s landlord to the County Court for a decision on who should succeed to the client’s mother’s Rent Act tenancy.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates acts on all manner of social housing related matters and its team has 'great expertise particularly in combining social housing with mental health and Court of Protection work'. A particular feature of the team is that each lawyer is specialised in an additional area of law, while housing law remains the core focus. Practice heads Keith Clarke and Michael Barrett are knowledgeable about mental health and community care law. with other members of the group having specialisms in family law, public law, nuisance and land law, among other areas.

Practice head(s):

Keith Clarke; Michael Barrett

Other key lawyers:

Alaa Abdoun

Testimonials

‘Work to an incredibly high standard servicing one of London’s poorest inner-city communities.’

‘I particularly recommend their senior solicitor Michael Barrett, a fierce champion of people at risk of losing their homes from illness or poverty. Michael finds solutions that other solicitors wouldn’t dare to try.’

‘The team’s key strengths are in combining being very competent and client friendly with great expertise particularly in combining social housing with mental health and Court of Protection work.’

‘At the senior level, I have the greatest long term experience of working with Keith Clarke and Michael Barrett. Both have very great experience and combine great calmness with immense competence. More recently, I have worked with Alaa Abdoun, who has also impressed me with her dedication and client care skills.’

‘I found Burke Niazi to be efficient friendly and always quick to deal with any queries. Keith Clarke has dealt with my case for some time and I am more than happy. All my questions or queries are dealt with understanding and extremely good efficiency.’

‘Mr. Keith Clarke is trustworthy, a man of integrity, top professional, knowledgable, helpful and dedicated to his work.’

GT Stewart Limited

GT Stewart Limited's team is highlighted for showing 'exceptional commitment to their clients'. Its varied portfolio of work covers disrepair claims, possession proceedings (including matters involving alleged anti-social behaviour, succession and rent arrears issues), homelessness and community care cases. Claire Wiles frequently acts for clients lacking capacity. In November 2020, the team was strengthened by the arrivals of James Garvey (who has a specialism in service charge disputes), Sarah Mossop and Michael McCrone, following a merger with Hockfield & Co Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Claire Wiles; James Garvey

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Mossop; Michael McCrone; Denise Phillips; Susan Gronbach; Simeon Wilmore

Testimonials

‘Claire Wiles went above and beyond what we expected of anyone!’

‘Ms Sarah Mossop was my solicitor, she met all my expectations of what a solicitor should be and more. My case was long and complicated and I have mental health issues, Sarah explained each stage thoroughly and only moved forward when she was sure I fully understood.’

‘Throughout the journey I felt there was a great deal of knowledge sharing within the team, which was detailed and well informed. This gave me confidence as we navigated different aspects of the cases. The staff were professional, sensitive and had a very person-centred approach.’

‘GT Stewart has some excellent solicitors that genuinely care and are proactive for their clients, going above and beyond what you would expect from a high street franchise. They obtain clients from the local community, such as from GP recommendations, due to their undoubtedly solid local reputations.’

‘Denise Phillips is dedicated, committed, knowledgable, thorough and a pleasure to be instructed by. Susan Gronbach is beyond compare, due to her dedication and care for her clients. Simeon Wilmore is a treat to work with, always open to creative solutions for his clients, and aggressively passionate about obtaining the best results.’

‘The social housing team show exceptional commitment to their clients and expertise in this area in the face of ever more challenging conditions.’

‘Claire Wiles’ knowledge and devotion to her cases is second to none. She is also extremely competent. The same goes for Simeon Wilmore, who I would also recommend.’

‘GT Stewart is a well-regarded firm with a strong presence in the social housing field. My perception is that it has a wider geographical reach than many other London-based firms, meaning that it is able to assist clients in areas where legally-aided representation might otherwise not be available.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in the High Court then Court of Appeal on the termination of their flexible tenancy in the fixed period. Outcome of this case could impact up to the 30,000 flexible tenancies in England as many do not contain a forfeiture clause.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP is an 'excellent one-stop destination for most legal issues', as is evidenced by it acting on matters concerning disrepair, possession and allocation claims. It is also instructed in judicial review challenges and homelessness appeals. The team, which is led by Jason Hunter, 'goes above and beyond the call of duty'. It has a niche specialism in acting for tenant-run housing co-operatives. Graham French continues to act for clients affected by the Grenfell disaster and is involved in the inquiry. Caroline Brosnan, Jodie Green and Matilda Rubens advise vulnerable tenants and homeless applicants under legal aid.

Practice head(s):

Jason Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Graham French; Caroline Brosnan; Matilda Rubens; Jodie Green

Testimonials

‘The team really do go above and beyond the call of duty. They were very clear and concise with their advice and ensured that they were able to provide me with alternative solutions.’

‘Matilda Rubens was the consultant who took on my case. She was exceptional from start to finish. I appreciate that she was always available and helped me even when the language barrier was difficult. She showed a very personal approach and I felt that she built rapport with me very easily.’

‘Good team. Very professional, very thorough. Very good cross-over knowledge in property law – very good on leasehold work for example and disrepair.’

‘The team are approachable. On initial contact even the reception staff were helpful and engaged and knowledgeable. Jodie Green explained the process of legal aid with great care and attention to detail, and in so doing, managed expectations. This practice has many areas of expertise and is therefore an excellent one stop destination for most legal issues.’

‘Jodie Green was straightforward, sensible and very calm. She has extensive experience and invaluable knowledge. Jodie was approachable and was very good at responding swiftly and in person to my many panicky calls/emails. (even in lockdown when working remotely).’

‘You are treated with respect by the staff members, your case is taken seriously with the aim of reaching a suitable outcome. The communication level is very effective and you are kept up to date with every stage of your case.’

‘My solicitor Jodie Green, delivered an excellent services from start to finish. Jodie prepared and presented every piece of work to the point, and I was satisfied with all the work she had provided with a successful outcome.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for housing association tenant who had suffered years of disrepair from her landlord with a leak coming into her property whenever it rained. A settlement of £23,000 plus legal costs was negotiated and the works were done.
  • Acted for a homeless client who was found to have refused an offer of alternative temporary accommodation. This meant he was facing street homelessness. Appealed the decision and a settlement was reached which means the client will continue to be accommodated.

TV Edwards LLP

With TV Edwards LLP's social welfare and public law department working across housing, community care, Court of Protection and public law matters, the 'large, well-resourced' team not only assists clients with housing issues but can ensure clients receive further support through community care packages or mental health assistance. Jacky Starling and 'very well-respected solicitor' Katie Brown, who jointly lead the practice, are experienced in defending possession claims brought on the grounds of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, as well as sub-letting, breaches of tenancy and under the section 21 notice procedure.

Practice head(s):

Jacky Starling; Katie Brown

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Hunt; Amanda Ford; Jenny Mansell; Radhika Shah

Testimonials

‘TV Edwards is an outstanding law firm with an excellent social housing team. Its solicitors are dedicated, intelligent, determined, and empathetic. The solicitors I have worked with have particular expertise in dealing with vulnerable clients, many of whom lack capacity.’

‘Jenny Mansell is an exceptional solicitor. She is hard-working, intelligent, and very determined. She has particular experience in representing clients who lack capacity and is often instructed by the Official Solicitor. Katie Brown is a very well-respected solicitor with whom it is always a pleasure to work.’

‘Fee earners at this firm are extremely efficient, thorough, and dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for their client group, who mainly consist of those who are socially disadvantaged.’

‘Katie Brown is the head of the team and a well established lawyer providing high quality housing services in combination with community care. Jenny Hunt is a thorough and excellent solicitor who goes the extra mile for clients. Radhika Shah is a rising star within the team and has an established track record of cases within the High Court in securing accommodation for homeless persons.’

‘A large, well-resourced team, committed, hard-working and skilled at defending their legal aid clients.’

‘Extremely efficient: the firm generally, but Amanda Ford and Radhika Shah in particular are the associate solicitors I work most closely with, and their efficiency is unrivalled.’

‘We often refer clients to TV Edwards because we know that they will receive a high quality service.’

‘We’ve worked with several different members of the housing team and we have confidence when referring to them that our clients have the best possible chance of success.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a vulnerable client in an urgent judicial review over the provision of highly unsuitable accommodation by Newham LBC.

Edwards Duthie Shamash

Edwards Duthie Shamash advises on the full range of social housing matters, including possession proceedings, disrepair claims and unlawful evictions. The team, which is led by James Harrison, has particular expertise in homelessness and allocation cases, with additional experience of property guardian possession disputes. Simon Mullings, who is a co-head of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, has particular experience of possession proceedings and rent repayment orders.

Practice head(s):

James Harrison

Other key lawyers:

Simon Mullings; Nahar Islam; Olukemi Ajayi

Testimonials

‘Edwards Duthie Shamash are one of the best and most competent firms representing tenants. They have a duty advice contract, as a result of which they always have their finger on the pulse. They are strategic and sharp with a keen sense of where to push and where to concede.’

‘Simon Mullings is the joint Chair of HLPA. He is extremely knowledgable not only on his cases, but on the political and legislative framework more widely. He is certainly a ‘star’ individual.’

‘The firm is dedicated to tenant work and the housing team goes above and beyond for their clients. They have a deep knowledge base in social housing and progress cases well on the strength of this knowledge and experience.’

‘Simon Mullings – huge expertise in all things housing. Very accomplished in both the law and procedure particularly in relation to legal aid funding. Nahar Islam – very good on homelessness cases, identifies issues early and makes robust submissions on behalf of her clients.’

‘The team’s commitment to delivering high quality legal services in the social housing sector stands out.’

‘In recent years, I have most experience working with Olukemi Ajayi and of observing her at work. She is extremely calm and effective at the same time, with great communication skills. Simon Mullings combines being a very effective litigator with instant rapport with clients as well as leading the sector in his policy work. James Harrison’s great depth of expertise shows through in cutting through complicated cases to the core issues.’

‘James Harrison is head of the team and has a strong track record of providing excellent advice and assistance to clients and also appearing in some key housing cases. Simon Mullings operates not only the duty scheme in various county courts but has also been instrumental in housing law in the England and Wales through his campaigning work as chair of HLPA especially in respect of key litigation in the Court of Appeal on the lawfulness of the stay under Covid 19. Olukemi Ajayi is an extremely diligent and able solicitor who works tirelessly for homeless clients.’

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Acted for a client [Nikolaeva v LB Redbridge (2020) EWCA Civ 1586] in an important appeal concerning what constitutes a lawful final offer of accommodation under section 193 Housing Act 1996. The Court of Appeal held that the offer has to be of accommodation that is available.
  • Acted for a vulnerable client in successfully challenging a decision by the local authority that the relief duty had been terminated and thereby secured the provision of accommodation for the client. Case of interest because there have been very few reported challenges to the relief duty (as introduced by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017). In this case the Local Authority had contended that the duty had been complied with but upon disclosure of the homelessness file it became clear that no steps had been taken to fulfil the duty since the client became homeless as the Personalised Housing Plan that had been prepared was focused on the steps to be taken to prevent homelessness.