Housing & Community Care

Everybody needs an adequate roof over their head. This is why One Pump Court’s Housing and Community Care team are committed to using our legal expertise to represent everyone for whom this is threatened, including some of the most vulnerable members of society. We are dedicated to providing an excellent service to all, underpinned by our dedication to human rights, equality and diversity.

In relation to housing, we specialise in homelessness, allocations, possession claims, disrepair, housing benefits, unlawful evictions and anti-social behaviour, as well as general property and landlord and tenant work in both the public and private sectors, including service charge disputes and leasehold enfranchisement.  In relation to community care, we cover all accommodation and support issues, including assessment of needs, age assessments, looked-after children, children leaving care, migrant welfare and asylum support, no recourse to public funds cases, and other matters arising from the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014.

We regularly undertake urgent work, including emergency out-of-hours applications for interim relief in the Administrative Court. A barrister is always made available to challenge problems on the same day they arise.

Our members also contribute articles to publications such as Legal Action, and are involved with the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association.  Similarly, we offer a series of CPD-registered seminars covering a host of topical issues and can provide bespoke lectures for individual firms or organisations on request.

We specialise in challenging decisions by social and children’s services affecting clients’ accommodation needs, including assessment of needs, age assessments, looked-after children, children leaving care, migrant welfare and asylum support, no recourse to public funds cases, threats to separate children from their parents and other matters arising from the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014.

Our members specialise in all aspects of homelessness law, including statutory appeals under the Housing Act 1996 and judicial review challenges. We are currently involved in challenges to decisions on priority need following the Supreme Court decision in Hotak v LB Southwark [2015] UKSC 30. Again, we have been involved in leading cases (e.g. Sharif v Camden LBC [2013] UKSC 10, Yemshaw v Hounslow LBC [2011] UKSC 3, Makisi v Birmingham CC [2011] EWCA Civ 355, Akhtar v Birmingham CC [2011] HLR 28, Holmes-Moorhouse v LB Richmond [2009] UKHL 7)

Housing may be limited but access should be fair. We are available to advise and represent in challenges both to individual allocation decisions, and wider challenges to allocation schemes, both in judicial review and alongside related challenges in possession proceedings. See Birmingham CC v Qasim [2009] EWCA Civ 1080.

Possession Proceedings

Our members specialise in possession proceedings in both the public and private sectors. In the absence of proper security of tenure for many tenants, we look for solutions both in the short term (tenancy deposit problems, counterclaims) and in the long term (alternative sources of accommodation through local authorities). Where there is security of tenure, we devise strategies to preserve our clients’ homes. We also specialise in public law and human rights defences. We have been involved in leading cases at all levels (e.g. Solihull MBC v Hickin [NN1] [2012] UKSC 39; FCHA v Begum [2011] EWCA Civ 1807; Lynch v Kirby [2010] EWHC 297; LB Islington v Uckac [2006] EWCA Civ 340).

Disrepair

Our members specialise in all aspects of tackling poor housing conditions, including civil claims (and counterclaims) for compensation and injunctions, the application of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and actions in the magistrates’ court. See LB Islington v Uddin [2015] EWCA Civ 369 and Muscat v Smith [2003] EWCA Civ 962.

Anti-social Behaviour

We are available to advise and represent in all matters relating to anti-social behaviour, including injunctions and other orders, possession proceedings, and committal proceedings. ASB cases often require careful strategizing (not how to defeat the claim as such but how to preserve the client’s home) and the bringing together of disparate strands (factual analysis, medical evidence, Equality Act considerations, application of landlord policies, social/children’s services input) which we have the experience and expertise to do.

Unlawful Eviction and Harassment

We are available to advise and represent in all cases of unlawful eviction and/ or harassment by landlords and their agents.

We are well equiped to advise, assist and represent on all elements of planning law from any application both in advance and retrospective, through to challenging and defending enforcement action  through challenges to the secretary of state, high court proceedings or in the magistrates and crown courts.

Members have a solid grasp of the principles in this field and are able to assist with the full range of cases that can arise. In addition they have a particular expertise in the more obscure and specialist fields where planning issues can arise such as Gypsy and Traveller cases, waterways matters and those relating religious institutions.

We provide expertise across a wide range of residential and commercial landlord and tenant matters, as well as other property law issues. We are committed to providing a prompt and cost-effective service to all our clients.

Members of the team specialise in leasehold issues such as service charges and leasehold enfranchisement. Two members of the team, Nicholas Nicol and Sylvester Carrott, are Tribunal Judges at the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.

Members are well aware of the impact that welfare benefit decisions can have on an individuals ability to maintain a roof over their head and avoid destitution. As a consequence we are well grounded in the principles and developments in this field and willing to advise and assist on challenging decisions in relation to benefits before the relevant authority, the social security tribunal and any higher courts if so required.

We are aware of the public funding limitations in relation to this field of law and in appropriate cases will consider providing such assistance on a pro bono basis.

Significant cases members have been involved in include Sanneh and R (HC) and others v SSWP and others [2015] EWCA Civ 49



Barristers specialising in this area


Key Contacts

Senior Clerk to Chambers
Ian Burrow

Practice Manager
Mycal Thomas

Assistant Practice Manager
James Rourke

Telephone 020 7842 7070, Out of hours emergency telephone 0777 423 8444 (solicitors only), Email clerks@onepumpcourt.co.uk