Case Studies

Our specialist team of Housing & Property solicitors in London have been dedicated to defending the rights of those with housing issues for over 40 years. Our experienced lawyers specialise in a wide range of legal issues. The following case studies highlight how we’ve helped clients with an array of housing difficulties:

Disrepair Case Studies

Extensive disrepair and damp - £21,782 compensation awarded

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.

Disrepair claim against a local authority landlord - £22,500 compensation awarded

Our client, Mrs S, was a secure tenant of a London local authority. She had been experiencing disrepair to her home including leaks in the bathroom causing damp, mould growth and damage to the wall plaster and timbers. HJA 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 necessary works to be carried out and compensation of £22,500.

A group of residents who suffered a lack of hot water & heating - six-figure compensation sum awarded

Our clients were a group of residents of a London social landlord. They had suffered a lack of heating and hot water for several years. We were instructed on this group action and were able to secure a settlement in excess of £100,000 for the residents together with an agreement to carry out works.

Suitability Review Case Studies

Challenging the suitability of accommodation based on the distance to children's schools

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.

Claim for judicial review against a local authority for failing to provide temporary accommodation for a mother fleeing domestic violence

Our solicitors issued a claim for judicial review against a local authority for failing to provide temporary accommodation for a single mother with five children fleeing domestic violence from her husband. The local authority conceded the claim and provided accommodation before further Court action was required.

Eviction Case Studies

Challenging the eviction of a housing association tenant

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.

Urgent application to suspend an eviction

Client due to be evicted from his home, but with just a day to go Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors urgently made an application to the court to suspend the eviction accompanied by a detailed witness statement. At court, we were able to persuade the judge to suspend the eviction for a month to give us time to assist the client resolve his finances, including helping him obtain any backdates in benefits, or Discretionary Housing Payments. The client had lived in the property for the past 24 years and was desperate to keep hold of his home. We were able to help him with this.

Assisting a tenant where the locks to his flat had been changed by his private landlord

Due to the contract that we hold with Brent Council Tenant Services, we frequently assist tenants who have been threatened with eviction after a possession order or who have been unlawfully evicted. A tenant called us after he returned from work and found the locks to his flat had been changed by his private landlord.

We contacted the landlord and requested they let the client back in with immediate effect. When the landlord refused we applied for an injunction on the same day that the client approached us. This was granted and the landlord was forced to let the client back into his home.

Negotiating with a local authority to assess a vulnerable client’s care needs and rehouse them in suitable accommodation

An elderly and vulnerable client was facing eviction due to allegations of serious anti-social behaviour. Possession proceedings were commenced by the local authority and would have resulted in the tenant’s eviction. The tenant was suffering from mental illness and lacked capacity. We were able to stay the proceedings and negotiate with the local authority to assess the client’s care needs resulting in them agreeing to rehouse the tenant in more suitable accommodation that was appropriate to his needs, thereby preventing his homelessness.

Rent Arrears Case Studies

Disproving alleged rent arrears of £30,000 and bringing a counterclaim for breach of quiet enjoyment, harassment, and disrepair

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.

Defending a possession claim due to rent arrears and counterclaiming for disrepair - over £8,000 compensation awarded

Our client had a possession claim issued against her by her by her landlord due to rent arrears of nearly £3000. She was experiencing disrepair to her home, including defective windows, water penetration from the roof, damp and mould growth. We represented her in successfully defending the possession claim and counterclaiming for the disrepair, recovering more than £8000 compensation for her.

Homelessness Review & Appeal Case Studies

Acting for a refugee in a battle with his local authority who were threatening to make him homeless on account of non-priority need

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.

Challenging the suitability of accommodation in the County Court

Our client refused an offer of temporary accommodation by the council as she thought it was unsuitable for her and her children. She requested a review of the decision but didn’t obtain any legal advice, she lost her review. We challenged the review decision in the county court and they council later agreed the property was unsuitable and made her a new offer of accommodation that was suitable.

Challenging an out of borough placement in the Supreme Court

We have successfully challenged an out of borough placement in the Supreme Court. This is now the leading case in this area of law and the judgement resulted in local authorities needing to have clear policies in place.

Challenging how the initial duties of a local authority may be ended, resulting in clarification of the law

We have successfully challenged how the initial duties may be ended by a local authority by bringing a claim for judicial review, this case has provided much needed clarification in the law.

Judicial review to challenge a local authority who unlawfully placed a disabled client on the streets

A local authority who were acting unlawfully by placing a disabled man on the street were challenged by an emergency judicial review, an order was obtained to require the local authority to continue to provide him with emergency accommodation

Possession Case Studies

Negotiating a suspended order for possession with a local authority

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.

Negotiating with the council to prevent eviction and remove an injunction that prevented our client from keeping pets in her home

A council issued eviction proceedings against our client for anti-social behaviour following complaints about noise from our client’s family and the dogs she owned. The council also applied for an injunction to prevent our client from engaging in anti-social behaviour and from keeping animals in her home. Following representations from our specialist housing solicitors, the council allowed our client to remain in her property and to keep one of her dogs. The injunction was 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 giving evidence in court.

 

Our Social Housing Solicitors are backed by over four decades of experience. Our specialist team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable outcomes for their clients. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 231 6369 today.

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