Housing Law

"An outstanding set known for its superb representation of tenants, Garden Court maintains its position at the forefront of social housing issues."

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Band 1

"Members of the set routinely act for vulnerable clients in possession proceedings, disrepair claims and homelessness appeals, and appear at all levels challenging local authorities' decisions on welfare and benefits."

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Band 1

"Garden Court’s formidable reputation in housing is complemented by its extensive expertise in community care, human rights and public law cases. Its barristers are particularly adept at utilising Equality Act defences."

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Band 1

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Garden Court Chambers is ranked in Band 1 for social housing law in the Chambers UK Bar Guide. We are dedicated to acting for tenants, homeless applicants and vulnerable individuals across the full gamut of social housing cases.

Areas of Expertise

  • Possession claims
  • Unlawful eviction
  • Homelessness
  • Allocation of social housing
  • Disrepair
  • Housing benefit
  • 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
  • Housing health and safety rating system

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.

Notable Cases

 

Equality and Human Rights Commission v Fergus Wilson 
Successfully claimed an injunction restraining a large private landlord from maintaining a policy of not taking “coloured” tenants. See coverage in The Guardian.

Panayiotou v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2017] EWCA Civ 1624
One of the most significant homelessness cases of recent years. The Court of Appeal handed down important guidance on when a homeless person is “vulnerable”. See coverage in Nearly Legal.

London Borough of Islington v Dyer [2017] EWCA Civ 150
Court of Appeal rules on the requirements of a valid notice to end an introductory tenancy.

Grenfell Inquiry (2018)
Instructed to represent approximately 280 Bereaved, Survivors and Residents (BSR) Core Participants. As part of the ‘G4’ team, this work entails detailed scrutiny of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), Tenant Management Organisation, police and fire brigade. Garden Court members chair and sit on the Housing Law Practitioners Association (HLPA) Grenfell sub-committee and have been instructed by residents in multiple disputes in the wake of the tragedy on issues such as rehousing allocation.  

Benefit Cap Challenge
Instructed in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on behalf of the intervener Shelter in an ongoing challenge to the revised benefit cap. Shelter’s intervention relates to the lack of affordable housing and risk of homelessness. The High Court found that the cap resulted in unlawful discrimination to single-parent families with children under two and that ‘real misery is being caused to no good purpose’. See coverage of the pending Supreme Court judgment.

Strawberry Vale Residents v Peabody (2018)
Instructed to represent 57 residents in novel class action litigation which settled in 2018 following a two-year legal battle. Residents’ gas supply was cut off for four months during winter, leaving vulnerable occupants in dire conditions due to lack of heat, hot water and cooking facilities. See coverage in in Inside Housing.

Paragon Asra Housing Limited v James Neville [2018] EWCA Civ 1712
Test case on disability discrimination which is likely to proceed to the Supreme Court. At issue is the extent to which the Equality Act 2010 can be raised at the eviction stage of a possession claim where there was a previous suspended possession order. See Nearly Legal coverage.

The Mayor & Burgesses of the London Borough of Southwark v Ibidun
High Court dismisses local authority’s appeal in respect of allegations of unlawful subletting and parting with possession of a property. 

Doka v London Borough of Southwark [2017] EWCA Civ 1532
Instructed in a Court of Appeal challenge on the definition of ‘settled accommodation’ and when someone is ‘intentionally homeless’. The Supreme Court controversially refused permission to appeal. See Nearly Legal coverage.

Green v Southern Pacific Mortgage Ltd and another [2018] EWCA Civ 854
Instructed in a Court of Appeal challenge concerning mortgages and the Equality Act 2010 which is likely to proceed to the Supreme Court.

Contact team

URGENT WORK

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 this number is for the legal profession only. Enquiries from members of the public or enquiries relating to non-urgent work cannot be dealt with on this number. 

General enquiries from the legal profession can be dealt with by contacting the clerks on housingandpropertycl@gclaw.co.uk or call us on 020 7993 7600.

Enquiries from members of the public can be dealt with by emailing pa@gclaw.co.uk or calling 020 7993 7777.

 

Social Welfare Case Law Updates

A full list of Social Welfare Case Law Updates can be viewed here.

 

Publications, Advice & 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:

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.

 

Useful Links & Materials

Legislation and procedural rules (in reverse chronological order)

Useful Links

Books

  • Housing Allocation and Homeslessness Law and Practice (5th edition, 2018) by Garden Court Chambers door tenant, His Honour Judge Luba QC, Liz Davies, Connor Johnston and Tessa Buchanan.
  • Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice (4th edition, 2016) by Garden Court Chambers door tenant, His Honour Judge Luba QC, Liz Davies and Connor Johnston
  • Repairs: Tenants’ Rights (2016) 5th edition by door tenants His Honour Judge Luba QC and District Judge Beatrice Prevatt and Deirdre Foster
  • Defending Possession Proceedings (7th ed. 2010) by His Honour Judge Luba QC (and others)
  • Housing Law Handbook (2009) by Stephen Cottle and other members of the Garden Court Chambers Housing Team. Order from the Law Society.

 

The Team

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