“The leading housing law chambers for tenants – the individuals here are always pushing the boundaries” – Chambers Bar Guide (Band 1)
The Work We Do
Garden Court housing law barristers are ranked in Band 1 for social housing law in the Chambers & Partners Bar Guide. We have one of the largest specialist teams of housing law barristers in the country (just over 20 barristers) and have a well-earned reputation for excellence in this area. We cover all aspects of housing law including possession claims, unlawful eviction, homelessness, allocation of social housing, disrepair and housing benefit. The Housing Team provides a full service, covering cases from the lowest to the highest courts, as well as undertaking advisory work.
Our housing law barristers also have specialist expertise in many of the ‘niche’ areas within housing law including Romani Gypsy and Traveller Rights, disability issues, welfare benefits, anti-social behaviour, community care, unfair terms in tenancy agreements, general planning matters, grants, licensing of houses in multiple occupation, housing standards, and the housing health and safety rating system. We are particularly committed to representing tenants, other occupiers and homeless people.
Housing law cases can and often do also raise aspects of immigration, family law, welfare benefits, disability, and criminal law. We pride ourselves on our cross-over expertise and as part of a multi-disciplinary set are extremely well placed to advise on these other issues related to housing. Our housing law barristers advise on the full range of accommodation and support issues concerning migrant welfare and asylum support. We are able to offer a complete service in social services, homelessness and connected Children Act matters. Thanks to our fluid and cross-disciplinary approach, we can draw on the wisdom and experience of our colleagues in Chambers who specialise in these areas.
What others say
“Widely recognised as one of the leading housing chambers in the country due to its impressive range of ‘talented and approachable’ barristers. The set is dedicated to acting for tenants, homeless applicants and vulnerable individuals across the full gamut of social housing cases. Individuals here appear before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, relying on innovative and novel arguments which often develop points of law, and most notably the law on homelessness. Members of the set are also deeply skilled in related specialisms such as community care, welfare benefits and public law, and can therefore provide highly vulnerable clients with a full service.”
Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018 (Band 1)
“The clerks are exceptionally great, they respond immediately and are unflappable. They clearly have a good relationship with the barristers and are good at juggling things around.” “Very good client care, they get back to you quickly and have a well-organised system.” Chambers UK Bar Guide (Band 1)
Recent Notable Housing Law Cases
Our housing law barristers have appeared in many of the leading cases of recent years, including:
- Croydon LBC v Lopes  EWHC 33 (QB): appeal against costs in homelessness appeal order pursuant to Court of Appeal decision in R (Lopes) v Croydon LBC  EWCA Civ 465.
- Islington LBC v Dyer  EWCA Civ 150: requirements of a valid notice under s128 Housing Act 1996.
- R (Lopes) v Croydon LBC  EWCA Civ 465,  1 WLR 3138: guidance from the Court of Appeal on the destination of appeals against costs order made in statutory homelessness appeal under s204 Housing Act 1996.
- R (H) v London Borough of Southwark  EWHC 1665 (Admin): duty to accept repeat homelessness application.
- Mohamoud v Kensington and RLBC; Saleem v Wandsworth LBC  EWCA Civ 780: homelessness appeal dealing with the relevance of the best interests of the child to decision making under Part VII Housing Act 1996.
- Alemi v Westminster CC  EWHC 1765 (Admin): successful judicial review challenge to the legality of an allocation scheme excluding homeless persons from bidding for social housing.
- Hotak v Southwark LBC, Kanu v Southwark LBC & Johnson v Solihull MBC  UKSC 30: the leading case on whether a homeless person is ’vulnerable’ for the purposes of s189(1)(c) Housing Act 1996.
- Nzolameso v Westminster CC 2015 UKSC 22: leading case on the circumstances in which a homeless person may be accommodated out of borough and the relevance of the best interests of the child in the context of an application for homelessness assistance.
- R (AM) v Havering LBC  EWHC 1004 9 (Admin): duty to accommodate intentionally homeless family, and assess needs under Children Act 1989, where local housing authority have placed family out of borough, and accommodation due to come to an end.
- Akerman-Livingston v Aster Communities Limited  UKSC 15: the threshold to apply in considering a disability discrimination defence under Equality Act 2010 in possession proceedings.
- Nicholas v Secretary of State for Defence  EWCA Civ 53: whether the exclusion of Crown licences from the statutory security of tenure regimes was discriminatory under Art.8 and Art.14 ECHR.
- Sanneh v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWCA Civ 49: challenge to the legality of regulations excluding “Zambrano carers” from mainstream welfare benefits and accommodation under the Housing Act 1996.
- R (Hillsden) v Epping Forest DC  EWHC 98 (Admin): whether a local authority is required under Part VI, Housing Act 1996 to include a residual discretion within its allocation scheme to cater for exceptional cases.
- Hussain v Waltham Forest LBC  EWCA Civ 14: in deciding whether an individual is homeless within the meaning of s175 Housing Act 1996 the phrase ‘other violence’ in s177(1) should be construed as covering not only physical violence but other threatening or intimidating behaviour or abuse of sufficient gravity to give rise to psychological harm.
- Lambeth LBC v Harry Loveridge  UKSC 65: the leading case on the approach to damages under ss27-28 Housing Act 1988 in unlawful eviction cases.
- Lawal v Circle 33 Housing Trust  EWCA Civ 1514: whether an occupier may rely on Article 8 to resist the enforcement of a warrant of eviction
- Cutler v Barnet LBC (QBD) 31 October 2014: a refusal by a judge to consider an oral application for relief from sanctions in possession proceedings, leaving the Defendant unable to defend proceedings, amounted to a breach of Article 6.
- R (Yekini) v Southwark LBC  EWHC 2096 (Admin): in an appropriate case a local housing authority may charge a homeless applicant a nominal or ‘peppercorn’ rent.
- Birmingham City Council v Janet Beech  EWCA Civ 830: whether the relationship of tenant and landlord’s agent give rises to a presumption of undue influence, rendering a Notice to Quit served by the tenant void.
- Hines v Lambeth  EWCA Civ 660: consideration of the best interests of the child in assessing the eligibility of a ‘Zambrano carer’ for Part VII accommodation.
- R (Alansi) v Newham LBC  EWCA Civ 786: whether an assurance given by a local housing authority that the Claimant’s priority on the authority’s allocation scheme would not be affected were she to accept accommodation in the private sector, gave rise to a legitimate expectation from which it would be unlawful to resile.
- Southend on Sea BC v Armour  EWCA Civ 231: the first Court of Appeal case to uphold the refusal to make a possession order on Article 8 grounds.
- Flynn v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 390 (Admin): failure by a council to consider whether a mobile home occupier had a implied licence to occupy certain land.
Publications, Advice and Training
Our work extends beyond the courtroom. Our housing law barristers also spend time training, advising and writing on housing issues. Our members have written or co-authored some of the most important works currently available in housing law:
- Defending Possession Proceedings (LAG)
- Housing Allocation and Homelessness (Jordans)
- Using the Housing Act 2004 (Jordans)
- Housing Law Handbook (Law Society)
- Support for Asylum Seekers (LAG)
- Remedies for Disrepair and Other Building Defects (Sweet & Maxwell)
- Repairs: Tenants’ Rights (LAG)
We have also written two of the Jordans Special Bulletins (on The Homelessness Act 2002 and Housing and the Human Rights Act).
We regularly contribute articles and case reports to professional publications such as Legal Action, Journal of Housing Law, Solicitors Journal, Landlord and Tenant Review and the New Law Journal.
Over many years, we have supported the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association (HLPA) as both ordinary and executive members, and by giving talks and attending meetings. We have also taken part in numerous training courses provided by or in association with the Legal Action Group, the Law Society, Liberty and others.
Get in touch
We are proud of the professional, approachable and up-to-date housing law service that we provide.
If you would like more information about the housing team, please email the clerks or call us on 020 7993 7600.
Chambers’ housing team operates an urgent work and out of hours rota. The housing clerks can be contacted on 07920 497 962 and will be pleased to arrange for members of the team to assist with urgent work.
Please note that this number is for the legal profession only. Calls that are not related to urgent housing work cannot be dealt with on this number. Enquiries from members of the public cannot be dealt with on this number. They may find the DirectGov website helpful.