We have specialised in providing housing management and property litigation advice to the housing sector since we established our dedicated team in 1990. Councils, Registered Providers of social housing (RPs) and private landlords of all sizes rely on our expert housing lawyers (now numbering 20 in the team) to advise on all aspects of their housing management and property litigation needs. Every case we tackle and every piece of advice we give strengthens the foundation upon which our expertise is built, and it is this know-how that our clients benefit from and the reason we maintain such long running relationships with them.
Our Specific Expertise
We work with over 200 RPs, regularly advising members of the G15 as well as acting for a number of Local Authorities in England and Wales, Arms-Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs), Housing Co-operatives and Estate Management Boards. We also handle an increasing amount of work in the leasehold field for both commercial and residential properties. Examples of the type of work our legal expertise covers include:
- Possession claims for breach of tenancy, suitable alternative accommodation, loss of security of tenure.
- Anti-social behaviour enforcement and nuisance problems.
- Disrepair and dilapidations claims.
- Tenancy fraud including unlawful subletting and succession.
- Breach of lease and forfeiture (residential and commercial).
- Squatter proceedings.
- Business tenancy renewals.
- Boundary and right of way disputes.
- Accelerated possession proceedings.
- Gas safety and general access injunctions.
- Statutory nuisance.
- Leasehold disputes.
- Rent and service charge recovery (residential and commercial).
- Disputed enfranchisement claims.
- Judicial Review.
Having listed our extensive litigation experience it is important to note that we also understand that taking legal action is a last resort due to the cost and time involved. As such, we recognise the benefit of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and we actively promote mediation as a flexible and speedy means of reaching agreement where appropriate. We work with leading mediators in the property and housing fields who have a track record of successfully resolving disputes.
Our free Advice Line means that one of our expert team is only a call away for virtually any housing or property litigation query our clients can throw at them.
In addition to our contentious practice we also provide non-contentious advice on a day to day basis. This work includes high level strategic advice including drafting of tenancies, management agreements, policies and procedures as well as one-off advices on topics as diverse as fire safety and data protection (GDPR and the DPA 2018).
Our Information Team
Our cross-departmental Information Team consists of specialists from our housing management & property litigation, employment, litigation & dispute resolution and corporate teams, advising a large array of clients on data protection and freedom of information issues.
In the light of recent high profile data breaches and the resulting demand for ever improved standards of security and confidentiality, it’s vital that companies are well versed in matters of data protection. We have data protection expertise across our business, in sectors such as public services, social housing, employment, housing management, and dispute resolution, meaning that no matter what field you operate in, our experts will be able to tailor specific data protection advice which is relevant to your needs. Our knowledge of the way in which regulations are set up and implemented means that the service we provide is flexible and responsive to this rapidly changing environment.
Our main areas of practice are;
- GDPR compliance – reviewing and revising existing policies, procedures and data protection associated documentation (or where necessary creating new documents) to ensure they comply with the latest regulations.
- Data Protection Impact Assessment and Data Audits – reviewing DPIAs to identify and advise on risks on upcoming projects.
- Data Sharing- advising on data sharing arrangements and drafting and negotiating data sharing agreements.
- Personal data breaches and notification- advising on containing data breaches together with making notifications to the Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”) and handling investigations.
- Data subject rights including Subject Access Requests- advising on complying with data subject requests, including the use of exemptions and assisting clients to review and redact information before disclosure.
- Drafting data protection contract clauses.
Freedom of Information Act
Our Information Team has extensive experience advising on Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests and the Environmental Information Regulations. We advise public authority clients on applying exemptions to resist disclosing information as well as advising businesses on making FOIA requests. We have successfully challenged a decision of the ICO of the applicability of FOIA to a client business.
We advise clients on the impact of FOIA clauses in public sector contracts and help businesses contracting with public sector bodies to protect their commercially sensitive data from the FOIA.
We keep our clients up to date with the law by providing regular training sessions and seminars covering all aspects of housing, leasehold management & property litigation, as well as regular update sessions on the ever-changing laws in the housing and property field. We also hold general advice surgeries for our clients to address any queries they have about particular matters they are dealing with internally.
In addition to providing regular training for our clients in the social housing sector, we also cater for those landlords providing privately rented tenancies. Our bespoke LandlordPLUS service provides comprehensive support to landlords in the private rented sector as well as to managing and letting agents. Our property litigation experience means we are also able to service the needs of commercial property owners.
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Nick Billingham heads our team of 20 specialist housing lawyers, and has been recognised in both the Chambers UK Legal Directory and Legal 500 for the past twelve years. Described as “knowledgeable, engaging and reassuring to work with,” Nick ensures our team are always on hand to deliver straightforward and pragmatic advice.
The rest of the team are all highly trained in the field and well regarded by clients and peers alike. We have fee earners of various levels of qualification and this allows us to cater for every type of instruction we receive as well as appropriately manage the costs by effective delegation.
Our clients use us as they would their own in-house lawyers and to accommodate this we ensure we are on always hand to provide responsive advice as and when our clients need it. We have a large team which means that we are able to act quickly and take on an urgent matter at the drop of a hat.