020 8952 8882 enquiries@lawlegal.co.uk

HOUSING

Alister Cryan is the head of the housing department at Williams & Co.  He has over 15 years experience as a housing solicitor and has acted as a duty advisor in the County Courts as well as giving advice and seminars on this area of law to fellow professionals, and to organisations concerned with this area of law such as Charities, Churches, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Women’s Aid Centres.

Disrepair
If you are living in rented accommodation that is falling into serious disrepair or where the condition of the property poses a serious risk or threat to your health, it is likely that your landlord has failed to comply with either his contractual or statutory repairing obligations.  We will be able to help you to comply with the pre-action protocol and to prepare your matter for hearing in the civil courts and then once an order has been obtained compel the landlord to comply with his contractual or statutory obligations.

Serious disrepair causing homelessness
If the property you are living in is in a poor state of repair that is considered to be unfit for human habitation or poses a serious risk to your health because of a health condition that you suffer from it may be possible to persuade your local council to accept a homeless application and rehouse you. Our Housing Department will be willing to assist you on this issue.

Legal Aid Funding
Your case may be covered by legal aid if you can show that the disrepair is sufficiently serious to pose a serious risk of harm to you. Our Housing Department will be able to advise you on whether or not you would qualify for Legal Aid.

Homelessness
You do not have to be “street homeless” in order to be considered to be homeless by your local Council.  You may be considered to be homeless for a number of reasons such as that you do not feel safe to remain at your property or that you are staying with family or friends but have been asked to leave.  This is a complicated area of law and sometimes it may be possible to argue that you are homeless even where your local Council says that it does not think that you are homeless.

Other circumstances where you may be homeless:
You would also be considered to be homeless if you were “street homeless” or sleeping rough or if you had received a notice of eviction or bailiff’s warrant from the Court, but you may also be considered to be homeless if you have received a notice seeking possession from your landlord.  Sometimes the housing officers in your local Council may not be aware of the law and of their obligations to you.  If you think that you may be homeless please speak to our Housing Department would be happy to assist you in this area of law and to advise you on approaching your local Council.

Legal Aid may be available in these matters.

Protection from Harassment Act Proceedings
You may be living a property where you are having disputes with your neighbours.  Legal Aid may be available if you qualify financially.

Noise
One of the most common problems people have with their neighbours is noise. If your neighbours cause persistent loud noise between the hours of 11pm and 7am and you are worried about contacting your neighbour to complain you should contact your local environmental health officer for help.  In some circumstances you may also be entitled to apply for an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Harassment
Being the victim of harassment can be very distressing and you may be entitled to legal assistance in these circumstances.  Harassment is very widely defined but there would have to be a course of conduct (which is to say that the behaviour that you are complaining about would have had to have happened more than once).  It is possible to argue that you are being harassed through contact via postal or electronic mail, by telephone or by text messages, or by the physical presence of the person harassing you.  If you are threatened with violence or assaulted you should contact the Police immediately.  If you would like assistance in applying for an injunction (which is a court order to prevent the person from harassing you from continuing to do so) please contact our Housing Department.

Harassment by your landlord

Your landlord may believe that he have the right to visit the property you are renting from him without warning and look around your living quarters. This is not the case and if he persistently does this, and in doing so behave in a threatening or alarming way, you may be the victim of harassment. It can be difficult to stand up to your landlord but this is not only harassment but also a breach of your tenancy agreement and in some circumstances it may also be possible for criminal proceedings to be brought against your landlord.  Our Housing Department will be in a position to advise you on the best course of action.

Possession

Your landlord may decide to evict you from your home for a number of reasons ranging from that the landlord simply wants to get the property back because he wants to sell it or live there himself to that you are in rent arrears or behaving antisocially.  Just because your landlord says that he wants the property back does not mean that the Court will agree that he is entitled to an order for possession.  In many cases our clients have retained their homes, through our intervention, and our Housing Department will know how, if you are unable to retain possession, to best ensure that you are rehoused by your local Council.  It is best to contact our Housing Department as soon as you are aware that your landlord intends to seek an order for possession against you but we have in some circumstances even been able to prevent the loss of a client’s home after an order for possession has been obtained.

Legal Aid may be available if you qualify financially for this and if you have a valid defence.

Unlawful eviction
If your landlord has not taken appropriate legal action to evict you it is likely that you have been unlawfully evicted.  Our Housing Department will be able to identify whether your landlord has taken appropriate steps or whether you have been unlawfully evicted.  If you have been unlawfully evicted you will be entitled to claim damages (financial compensation) from your landlord and in some circumstances it may even be possible to get you back into the property that you have been evicted from.  You should contact our Housing Department immediately if you have been unlawfully evicted.

Legal Aid may be available.

Mortgage Possession
If you have defaulted on your mortgage your mortgage lender may decide to seek possession of your home.  Our Housing Department would be able to advise you on how to prevent your mortgage lender from taking possession of your home.  Legal Aid may be available.