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Case Studies

Disrepair

Our client was a tenant of a local authority who complained of extensive disrepair to her home since 2007. The disrepair included rotten windows, a defective boiler and damp in the kitchen and two bedrooms. There was also extensive problems with the damp proofing course and a gas leak reportedly caused by the damp corroding a cooper gas pipe. We helped our client to secure a report from a chartered surveyor detailing the defects to the property and what works were required to rectify the disrepair. The landlord failed to respond and it was necessary to issue court proceedings.

At trial the Judge found that the landlord had received full notice of the disrepair and had repeatedly failed to rectify the defects. The Judge, in finding the landlord liable, ordered an injunction for repairs and made an award for damages in the sum of £21,782 plus payment of the client’s legal costs.

Suitability Review

Our client was placed in accommodation with her two daughters in East London following a successful homeless application to her local authority. She challenged the suitability of the accommodation on the basis that the girls’ journey to school was too long and too expensive.

The review decision reached by the local authority maintained that the property was suitable and we assisted the client in issuing an appeal. On appeal, we challenged the apparent failure of the local authority to comply with their obligation to take all reasonable steps to identify accommodation nearer to the client’s borough.

This was an important point not only for this particular client but for many other homeless applicants who find themselves placed a long way out of their home borough following a positive homeless decision.

Eviction

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 London firms of solicitors, but both advised he had no defence. After a date for eviction was set, we represented him in our capacity as duty solicitor.

At the return hearing, we satisfied the judge that 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.

Rent Arrears

The client was an assured short-hold tenant. His landlord issued a claim for possession on the grounds that there were alleged rent arrears exceeding £30,000. We represented the tenant in defending the possession on the basis that the actual arrears were a fraction of that alleged, and in bringing a counterclaim for damages for breach of quiet enjoyment, harassment, and disrepair.

The premises suffered from water penetration, defective windows, and internal leaking. The landlord had failed to carry out the requisite repairs and instead had started harassing the tenant in order to force him to pay the alleged outstanding rent and/or vacate the premises. The landlord made regular threats of violence, switched off the gas and electricity supply by deliberately damaging the pipes, let himself into the premises without giving notice to the tenant and changing the locks on the premises.

The possession claim was struck out and judgment given for the tenant, with a total award of damages in the sum of £26,650 plus interest.

Homelessness Review + appeal

We acted for a client, a refugee from Iran, in a battle with his local authority who were threatening to make him homeless on account of non-priority need.

On behalf of our client, we asked the council to consider the fact that our client had depression and acute anxiety, and suffered from osteoarthritis and cardio-pulmonary obstructive disorder.

The council decided that he was not “vulnerable” in housing terms.

However, in an application for review, we said that his mental health would deteriorate if he was rendered homeless, despite which the council still considered our client not to be in priority need. The case was then appealed to the county court and a request made for urgent interim accommodation. Both succeeded and the council were required to issue a fresh decision and pending that decision, the client was provided temporary accommodation.

Possession

Our client was a secure tenant of a local authority property, where she had been residing for approximately 30 years. After experiencing a breakdown in a particularly difficult relationship, she suffered from extreme depression and became increasingly withdrawn and isolated.

In an effort to provide her with companionship, her son, and her friend arranged for a lodger to move into the spare room. The defendant became increasingly despondent and decided to travel abroad for several months in the hope that this would help her mental state.

The local authority issued possession proceedings on the grounds our client had parted with possession of the property and was not occupying the property as her only or principle home.

After lengthy negotiations with the local authority, a settlement was reached whereby a suspended order for possession was made requiring our client to pay the rent, and that our client does not sublet any part of the property without seeking permission of her landlord.

Our Social Housing Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0800 437 0322 today.

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