Property law concerns the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property and personal property. It also establishes the rules for resolving property disputes. Our specialist and dedicated team of Housing and Property solicitors have been passionately defending the rights of those with housing and property issues for over 40 years.
Our property dispute solicitors also deal with boundary disputes, planning appeals, leasehold disputes, injunctions, rights of way, possession claims and compulsory purchase orders.
Our solicitors will deal with your case sympathetically and will fight on your behalf to get you the best outcome possible for you.
With our no win no fee cases, we provide free legal advice on housing issues and only take a fee if we win your case.
Our Housing team has been ranked in Band 1 in the Chambers & Partners 2022 legal directory. Jayesh Kunwardia, head of the department, has been described as “born litigator and strategic in applications” and Sophie Bell was praised for being “great with vulnerable clients.”
What is social housing and property law?
Social homes are provided by housing associations (not-for-profit organisations that own, let, and manage rented housing) or a local council. Property law focuses on the various forms of ownership and tenancy, including social housing.
Social housing and property services
Our specialist housing and property solicitors have expertise in a broad range of legal matters including:
Under public law, the actions of public bodies are subject to scrutiny. If the council, government or housing association who owns your home fails you in some way, our public law specialists are here to help fight for your rights and hold the relevant public bodies to account.
Housing discrimination simply means not getting social housing based on some kind of discrimination. We’re here to help you challenge this refusal and achieve a fair outcome if you feel you have been treated unfairly.
We understand how disruptive faults and disrepair in your home can be, especially if your landlord has refused to sort repairs or hasn’t kept the house in a suitable condition. Our team of specialists endeavour to get you quick results wherever possible to get your home back to the way it should be.
Our compassionate and expert team are well known for representing tenants facing claims for possession of their homes. At Hodge Jones & Allen, we understand how difficult and stressful this situation can be and will fight to protect your rights and obtain the best outcome possible for you.
We understand how traumatising an eviction can be, especially if it’s unlawful. If you are evicted without a court order, we can assist you with obtaining an injunction against your landlord to re-permit you access to the property.
We understand that getting the help you need can be difficult if you are threatened with homelessness. Our housing solicitors are recognised leaders in this field will approach your case sensitively and provide you with clear advice to help you understand your position.
When you have a dispute over a property, you need a solicitor who will work with you to resolve your issue in the most cost-effective and expeditious way. Our team of property dispute lawyers have plenty of experience dealing with a range of different property disputes to get the best possible results for you.
Everyone is entitled to basic human rights, including being treated fairly and with dignity and respect. If you feel decisions made by your council or housing association breach your human rights, our specialist team can help you find the justice you deserve.
How do I make a housing claim?
- Speak to your landlord before pursuing a claim. If they don’t respond in a reasonable time, you may have a claim.
- Contact our specialist property law and housing solicitors for a free initial assessment and to discuss your funding options.
- Our team will assess your case for legal merits and then if there is a legal case, we will allocate to the best solicitor to deal with your matter.
- We’ll talk through your options and provide you with the best approach for a successful solution.
No Win No Fee housing claims
One funding option we can discuss with you is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) more commonly known as ‘No Win No Fee’. This allows you to bring a property and housing claim, with no financial risks to you or the need to pay any solicitors’ fees upfront.
Our expert team will assess your claim and check if you’re eligible for this funding option. If you want to know more about funding your case with a No Win No Fee agreement, please speak with one of our specialist housing solicitors.
Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors?
Our specialist property solicitors will handle your case with expertise, discretion and the utmost sensitivity. We’re entirely committed to achieving the best result for all our clients, supporting them through the process and working very hard to get justice for you.
We’re one of only three firms in the UK to be listed as a Tier 1 firm for this area of law in the Legal 500 guide. Plus, we’ve been independently ranked as a Band 1 firm for housing law by Chambers & Partners UK.
Our expert solicitors have an excellent track record for successfully challenging authorities and resolving claims quickly with a vast experience dealing with an array of housing claims.
"The team at HJA showed empathy and the highest level of professionalism to my situation, and turned around a possible injustice."
Our client was a secure tenant of a London local authority. She had been experiencing disrepair to her home, including leaks in the bathroom. These were causing damp and mould growth, as well as damage to the wall plaster and timbers.
Our housing team were instructed to represent her in bringing a claim against the local authority landlord. A claim was issued at court and settlement was secured for all the necessary works to be carried out to her home. Our client was also awarded compensation of £22,500.
Over the course of two months, we acted for a homeowner whose neighbour was excessively noisy. Our solicitors successfully resolved the issue by negotiating with the landlord of that neighbour, who served notice on them. Our solicitors were able to do this via mediation, which provided our client with a cost-effective alternative to entering protracted litigation.
Our housing lawyers represented a tenant from a local authority who complained of extensive disrepair throughout their home.
We obtained a report from a chartered surveyor detailing the defects to the property and what works were required, then sent this to the landlord. The tenant’s landlord failed to respond, so court proceedings were issued. At court, the landlord was found liable for the damage. We secured an injunction for the repairs and compensation for our client of £21,782 plus, their legal fees.
We helped a tenant when a local authority started eviction proceedings against them following noise complaints about their family and their pet dogs. The council also applied for an injunction to prevent our client from engaging in anti-social behaviour and from keeping any pets in her home.
Following representations from our housing solicitors, the council allowed our client to remain in her home and also keep one of her dogs. The injunction was also dropped, which removed the threat of a fine or prison sentence. The judge praised our handling of the case and spared our client the distress of going to court and giving evidence.
We acted for a client after his social landlord, Genesis, sought to evict him. However, the background to the claim strongly suggested the real reason for the claim was alleged anti-social behaviour by the client. The client sought advice from two other firms, but both advised he had no defence. After a date for eviction was set, we represented him in our capacity as duty solicitor.
We satisfied the judge that our client had a seriously arguable defence on Article 8/Public Law grounds and a timetable was set for trial. In compliance with the directions, we obtained a psychiatric assessment of our client that confirmed he suffered with developmental dyslexia and was disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
We continued to comply with the court timetable. We also entered into negotiations regarding settlement with Genesis and we successfully settled the claim with a general adjournment. The client retained his home.
Money was owed due to a change in circumstances and the knock-on effect on benefits. Over lockdown, the two Defendants’ relationship broke down and they separated. This caused further issues with benefit due to the money owed being caused by further changes in circumstances. The first Defendant contracted Covid which led to their health deteriorating, and was subjected to bedroom tax deduction and only half the rent as tenancy was in joint names. We negotiated the settlement for proceedings to be put on hold for 6 months to allow further time to appeal the benefit award. Counterclaim was brought on the basis of disrepair and fitness for human habitation and the landlord agreed to pay compensation, which had the effect of cancelling out the money owed by £6,000.
The client approached HJA after receiving a ‘not in priority need’ decision from Kensington and Chelsea. Our client suffers from mental health problems, is a victim of domestic abuse and suffered a miscarriage after being temporarily housed by the council in 2020. Following her miscarriage, the council found she wasn’t in priority need, but failed to take into account that she’s a victim of domestic abuse. We overturned their decision, however, they then found she was intentionally homeless from her last settled accommodation due to being evicted. We made further representations on her case, as the property wouldn’t have been reasonable for her to continue occupying regardless of the eviction, as she was a victim of harassment here and her whereabouts were discovered by the perpetrator. The council finally concluded in our client’s favour and have accepted the main housing duty towards her.
A homeless appeal was lodged when Westminster Council failed to respond to a review of the decision to stop assisting our client to find housing. Westminster settled the case and re-instated the duty to assist our client. Westminster then found she wasn’t in priority need for accommodation. The letter didn’t address any of the letters in support of the client, particularly from the mental health team who described her as at risk. The court found that the evidence from the mental health team “opened the door” to a finding of priority need, and the conclusions from the council didn’t give any reasons to explain why they disagreed.
Appeal settled on the basis that when finding accommodation suitable for our client to occupy, the council had ignored the impact of anti-social behaviour on the client, particularly given her disabilities.
Will I be evicted if my landlord takes me to court?
This will depend on your tenancy agreement and the reason that the landlord is seeking possession. If you have an assured or secure tenancy, the court will not order possession unless grounds to do so have been proved and in many cases, only if it reasonable to do so.
Although private tenants have less secure tenancies, there are often valid defences which can be put forward to avoid being evicted. We can advise you further in this regard.
What is an occupation order?
An occupation order is a legally binding document that states who can legally access and live in your home. It is typically used in cases of domestic abuse, with the abuser barred from entering and staying in the property. We work closely with our Family Law colleagues to deal with these sensitive cases.
Do you handle planning / boundary disputes?
We have specialist solicitors who understand that the boundary of your property is more than just a line on a map. It determines the value of your property, how it can be enjoyed and how it can be protected. Rights of way or views can be influenced by boundaries and they allow you to develop your land in a particular way.
Our specialist advisers have an intimate understanding of property law and can provide the legal protection you need, whatever the dispute might be, for example:
- Positioning of boundaries
- Overhanging trees
- Repairs and maintenance
- Encroachment from neighbouring buildings
- Overlooking windows
- Use of utilities
- Rights of way
- Adverse possession
The boundary lines on your land registry plan do not always reflect the true situation on the ground, as the boundary can be determined by several factors, such as new agreements, which can change over time.
What can I do about poor conditions in a property?
All landlords, including local authorities, housing associations and private landlords, have a legal duty to maintain their property in an adequate state of repair and to ensure they’re fit for human habitation.
They must also ensure that any defects in the property don’t pose a threat to the safety of tenants. If the property’s condition is unacceptable then we can help advise you on the best course of action.
This might include applying for a court order requiring the council or landlord to put things right. The court can also award you compensation where repairs have been delayed for no good reason and impose fines on landlords who don’t maintain their property correctly.
What is the cost for a housing claim?
Housing claims can differ in cost. Our expert solicitors will clearly set out all your funding options as soon as we know the details of your case. We will never incur costs on your behalf without your full agreement and knowledge.
If you’re not entitled to public funding, we can discuss other ways of funding your case, including private arrangements or a ‘conditional fee arrangement’, (often described as ‘no win, no fee’).