Social landlords frequently face issues, both in relation to the construction and maintenance of their housing stock and in respect of its management, on which they need legal advice or representation. nplaw can help on all such issues.
Construction, maintenance and sale of housing stock
nplaw regularly acts for our clients in relation to the construction of new social housing – we have particular expertise in the use of housing development companies for this purpose. We also advise on the Decent Homes Standard and social landlords’ repairing obligations, and have considerable experience of acting on the sale of individual properties under “right-to-buy” legislation.
We advise on allocations – both on our clients’ allocation policies and on the determination of priority in individual cases, for example, on whether an applicant is legally homeless and should therefore be given preference. We also advise and represent our clients on appeals against determinations.
We prepare and review tenancy agreements and advise on the interpretation of tenancy conditions.
Problems arising during tenancies
Many different problems can arise during the life of a tenancy. nplaw assists our clients with the resolution of such problems and advises on the courses of action available to them. Our clients appreciate the collaborative style of working that we offer. Early discussions will often identify the most effective approach to a case and clarify the best next steps.
Our social housing lawyers have represented our clients before the courts on numerous anti-social behaviour claims and have sought and obtained: possession orders; suspended possession orders; demotion orders (under which the tenancy is downgraded giving less protection against eviction); and anti-social behaviour injunctions under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014. Tenants’ advisers often raise defences under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a private and family life, incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998) and the Equality Act 2010. We have considerable experience of advising on and countering such claims.
Other problems arising include:
- reclusive tenants who, for example, fail to give access, hoard personal belongings or otherwise compromise the fabric of a property – we will help to identify and implement the best approach to enforcing the tenant’s obligations;
- groundless disrepair claims – we defend our clients against all such claims;
- unauthorised tenant alterations placing the property in a dangerous condition – in a recent such case, we applied for and were granted a possession order.
Problems arising outside tenancies
Problems can also arise where social housing is unlet. Our social housing lawyers advise and represent our clients on claims for trespass and on claims brought against them asserting squatters rights.
Termination of tenancies
We advise on all issues arising out of the termination of tenancies, however termination occurs.