The Housing and Social Welfare Team offers a comprehensive service on all housing related issues including homelessness, allocations, possession actions, anti-social behaviour, disrepair, unlawful eviction and housing benefit.

COVID-19 and homelessness

If you are facing street homelessness as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, our team of housing clerks are on hand to provide you with support, guidance and information on organisations that will be able to assist you. If you do require assistance please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated housing clerks who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Our legal experts in the Housing Team have been providing insightful webinars on the most relevant topics during COVID-19 to keep you informed during this difficult time.

If you do require assistance please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated housing clerks who will be able to point you in the right direction. The clerks can be contacted on +44(0)20 7400 9025, or at r.finch@doughtystreet.co.uk / e.norman@doughtystreet.co.uk.

Avoiding eviction at the warrant stage

The stay on possession proceedings is about to be lifted, and the first cases to be heard are likely to be warrant cases. The county courts are anticipating a deluge of cases and housing practitioners will be at the sharp end of trying to keep clients in, or return them to, their homes.

Sarah Steinhardt, Alice Irving and Jim Shepherd looked at potential strategies to avoid eviction or to reinstate those already evicted.

To access the slides, please click here.

To access the recording, please click here

Seeking damages under the Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act 1998

Zia Nabi and Sarah Steinhardt consider damages claims in a webinar chaired by our newest member of the Housing Team, Alice Irving.

When can homeless applicants seek damages against housing authorities under the Equality Act 2010 or the Human Rights Act 1998?

When can damages be recovered in possession proceedings under the Equality Act 2010 and what is the range of awards?

Following CN v Poole, can a claim ever be brought in negligence?

Full webinar recording can be found here.

COVID-19 and rough sleepers: where next?

On 27 March 2020, the Government instructed local authorities to provide temporary accommodation for anyone sleeping rough or at risk of rough sleeping, in order to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it is estimated that over 15,000 rough sleepers were accommodated. The Government has subsequently announced additional funding for longer term accommodation to prevent those accommodated from returning to the streets as the lockdown is lifted.

In this seminar, Dominic Preston and Daniel Clarke of Doughty Street’s Housing and Social Welfare Team are joined by Bex Pritchard, Director of Services at Crisis, to consider the options now available to those who have been accommodated, the breadth of the scheme and the legal issues that might arise for those wanting to take advantage of the scheme and for those who might be excluded from it.

Full webinar recording can be found here.

Slides can be found here.

Law in Lockdown

It would be easy to forget that, during lockdown, the higher courts continue to determine cases which are of significance importance to those with a need to access and maintain housing.

This seminar, chaired and moderated by Sarah Steinhardt, will look at the developments in housing law since lockdown began: Dave Cowan will look at developments in the law on possession, while Zia Nabi will take us through the developments in homelessness. We will also hear from Sue Baxter, a supported housing guru, on the challenges faced in that sector during lockdown.

Sue Baxter is a social housing advisor, consultant and trainer.  She is a leading housing professional with over 30 years’ experience including 16 years of senior management experience with Registered Providers and 15 years of training and policy development for national umbrella bodies. She has a proven track record of change management, service improvement and development across a range of service settings including homelessness services. She is currently the Facilitator for Supported Housing in Partnership a membership group for RPs providing supported housing.

Sue is also a well-respected expert in the area of improving quality in housing management and support. She has provided consultancy projects at a strategic, operational and frontline level for housing providers and also for national and local government.

Sue is also the co-author of LAG’s Supported Housing and the Law, which is currently being updated for publication in 2021.

Full webinar recording can be found here.

The Future of Possession II – A Debate

Speakers: Martin Westgate QCLindsay Johnson and Jamie Burton

We will be joined by a guest speaker Laurie Macfarlane.

Laurie is an economist and writer based in Edinburgh. He is currently economics editor at openDemocracy and a fellow at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, New Economics Foundation and Democracy Collaborative. He is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book 'Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing.

The suspension of possession claims during the Covid-19 outbreak provides an opportunity to reconsider how residential property is managed. A debate rages on social media on how the housing system emerges from this crisis. Doughty Street is pleased to host a live debate which we hope will lead to some novel discussion and practical conclusions to feed into the national debate. With speakers advocating positions from a return to the status quo all the way to a radical rethink on tenure, and a presentation on the research undertaken by the Institute for Public Policy Research this promises to be an event not to be missed. Join us. Join the debate.

Full webinar recording can be found here.

Urgent applications in homelessness cases in the time of Covid

Balancing the absolute requirement for Pt 7 accommodation to be suitable with the need to self isolate and shield is an almost impossible task.

Join us for our latest of Webinars, where Sarah Steinhardt and Lindsay Johnson will revisit the current state of the law and look at the effects of the current public health crisis on the question of suitability before Jim Shepherd leads a Q&A and discussion.

Full webinar recording can be found here.

Evictions in the time of Covid-19

Martin Westgate QC and John Hobson considered the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for tenants/occupiers and those representing them. In particular, the session considered the changes to possession claims introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020, the stay of possession proceedings under Practice Direction 51Z and further issues that might arise at the end of this period.

Full webinar recording can be found here.

Slides can be found here.