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Discrimination & Housing Rights

Discrimination

Jayesh Kunwardia
Jayesh Kunwardia
Partner
Daniel Fitzpatrick
Daniel Fitzpatrick
Partner
Sioned Wyn Roberts
Sioned Wyn Roberts
Senior Associate
Edward Sharp
Edward Sharp
Senior Associate
Bahareh Amani
Bahareh Amani
Partner
Farzana Chowdhury
Farzana Chowdhury
Partner
Siddiq Fazaluddin
Siddiq Fazaluddin
Partner
Sophie Bell
Sophie Bell
Partner
Suzanne Bird
Suzanne Bird
Associate
Aneela Samrai
Aneela Samrai
Solicitor
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Nivashinie Sivalokanathan
Solicitor
Ellen Biney
Ellen Biney
Trainee
Robyn Brett
Robyn Brett
Trainee

Hodge Jones & Allen hold a legal aid contract to advise those who have been discriminated against in housing matters.

Discrimination means treating a person less favourably because of who they are.

Our experienced team of housing discrimination solicitors will help you to fight for justice and achieve the outcome you deserve. We work closely with charities as well as with individuals and their families affected by discrimination.

Hodge Jones & Allen_Chambers UK 2023

Legal 500 UK - Top Tier Firm-2023

Are you protected by the law?

The Equality Act 2010 protects you against discrimination by many different organisations and individuals. This includes landlords and other housing providers, public bodies like government departments and local authorities, businesses and organisations providing goods or services such as estate agents and building contractors.

It is against the law if you’re discriminated because of:

  • Age
  • Gender reassignment
  • Being married or in a civil partnership
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Disability
  • Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

The above are called protected characteristics. It’s also against the law for anyone to discriminate against you because:

  • You’re associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, for example a family member or friend
  • You’ve  complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim of discrimination

Our housing discrimination solicitors also use the Human Rights Act 1998 to challenge discrimination not covered by the Equality Act.

“The Housing Team at HJA have provided their expert advice to many of our service users in housing crisis, and have handled their cases with respect, care and determination. They have worked with women, often at the most difficult moments in their lives, to give them confidence in their rights to safe rehousing, which is a crucial foundation for the journey of recovering from abuse. Many of the women accessing our service would not have access to legal representation or advice, were it not for HJA going the extra mile to ensure the rights of survivors to housing justice.” Solace

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What counts as discrimination?

Discrimination can take a number of forms:

Direct discrimination

This is treating someone with a protected characteristic less favourably than another person without that protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

This is putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but it puts someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage.

Harassment

This is unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic.

Victimisation

This is treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment

Contact our specialist housing discrimination team on
or request a call back.
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Examples & common scenarios of discrimination in relation to housing

Our team is extremely experienced in bringing claims (and counterclaims) and making sure that you’re treated fairly. This can be seen by our previous challenges. Some examples of the cases we have successfully handled include:

Disability challenges

  • A request for a reasonable adjustment on behalf of a partially sighted client to have all written correspondence in large font.
  • Defending possession and injunction claims against tenants on grounds of alleged anti-social behaviour, where the behaviour was caused by the tenants’ disability.
  • A challenge to an allocations policy that discriminated against disabled people who required an adapted property.

Gender challenges

  • A challenge to a local housing authority for placing a transgender female in an all-male accommodation with shared showering facilities.

Welfare challenges

  • A request for a reasonable adjustment on behalf of a tenant being evicted for rent debt, as our client couldn’t manage her finances due to a disability. We requested her areas be paid directly from her Income Support.
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Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen?

Depending on your case it’s possible to achieve:

A reasonable adjustment

For example, we’ve represented a tenant who was deaf and her son who was blind. We sought for there to be two different types of doorbells fitted– one audio and one visual to make it easier for them to live in the property.

The adjustment must be reasonable. You couldn’t  ask your landlord to start making structural changes to a property, for example widening doorways for a wheelchair, but it would be reasonable to ask for a non-fixed ramp to a front door to allow wheelchair access.

Changes to a policy or practice that will stop the problem happening again, or happening to someone else

For example, we could obtain changes to a local authority’s housing allocation scheme to make it fairer, not only for you but for other people who face the same challenges that you do.

An apology

Many of our clients simply want the discrimination to be acknowledged and to receive an apology.

For the discrimination to stop

This is going to be a priority if the discrimination is ongoing.

Compensation

Compensation could be available if you’ve been distressed,  upset or have lost money as a result of the discrimination.

Hodge Jones & Allen_Chambers UK 2023 Legal 500 UK - Top Tier Firm-2023

 

 

 

“Our Housing team has been ranked in Band 1 in the Chambers & Partners 2023 legal directory. The team was described as “progressive and robust in defending the rights of vulnerable tenants and homeless applicants.” – Chambers UK, 2023

“Hodge Jones & Allen is an industry leader in social housing law. The firm provides an exceptional service for all of its clients in disrepair, possession and homelessness. The firm has a reputation for providing an exceptional level of service and advancement of the law in very high profile cases in the Court of Appeal and Supreme court.” Legal 500, 2023

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Housing discrimination compensation

In a claim for discrimination related to housing you could get compensation for:

  • Any money you have lost because of the discrimination, known as ‘financial losses’.

Examples are: the cost of temporary accommodation, storage costs, removal costs, lost wages if you had to take time off work, the cost of replacing any damaged items, etc. You must keep receipts or invoices for any extra expenses, as you will need these as evidence.

  • The emotional impact of the discrimination, such as hurt or distress, known as ‘injury to feelings’.
  • A personal injury, such as depression or a physical injury, caused by the discrimination.
  • Any exceptionally bad behaviour from the other side, which has aggravated the impact the discrimination has had on you. This is known as ‘aggravated damages’.

You’ll need to show that you’ve tried to minimise your financial losses, known as ‘mitigating your losses’. You could do this by showing, for example, you found alternative accommodation or went to stay with friends or family.

"I AM GRATEFUL TO YOU THAT YOU TOOK ALL THE STRESS AND RESTORED EVERYTHING FOR ME."

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Frequently asked questions

Are there time limits for making a claim in the county court?

Yes there are strict time limits and a claim must be brought within 6 months less one day of the act you’re complaining about. The court can allow a claim outside the time limits, but only if it considers it just and equitable to do so.

How do I calculate the time limit if the discrimination keeps happening?

If it is a continuing act then the time only begins to run when the last act is completed.

Is there anything else I can do instead of making a claim?

Yes you could complain directly to the person or organisation or look at alternatives such as mediation.

Do I need to tell my landlord I am going to make a claim for discrimination against them?

Yes the court will expect you to send your landlord a letter of claim and allow your landlord to respond before you issue a claim. You might well be able to resolve the matter at this stage.

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