Nearly Legal Profile picture
Solicitor. Done housing law since 2006. The Guardian says top 5 for squalor. Legal Aid Housing Lawyer of 2018. mastodon - @nearlylegal@mas.to
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Aug 24, 2022 25 tweets 6 min read
I’ll take this eg from Prof @RichardJMurphy rant of yesterday about ‘right wing’ lawyers to try to explain why he doesn’t understand (in dangerous ways) what lawyers do & why his handwaving today about ‘relationships of power’ is not an excuse for his failure to grasp rule of law I’ve taken this example because it is an area of law I know very well.

Can a tenant be evicted by a court order without consideration of their circumstances? Yes, in England, for private sector tenants. That is the current law. A section 21 notice & accelerated possession claim
Jun 16, 2022 7 tweets 1 min read
Initial view of renters reform white paper. This is serious, substantive reform if carried through, which won't just scrap section 21 (and indeed fixed term ASTs), but completely re-write Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988 grounds It will also effectively introduce a national landlord register (in England), and - it appears - re-write private housing standards requirements and tenant enforcement of them.
Jun 15, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Fergus Wilson saga continues. After losing in claim by Ashford Council for an injunction to stop Wilson's harassment, he failed to pay costs ordered. Ashford got an ex parte freezing injunction on 5 properties, as Wilson selling.  At the return hearing ashford.gov.uk/news/latest-ne… Fergus Wilson, apparently now in receipt of a debt breathing space moratorium via Superior Insolvency Solutions (how?!), argued variously:

All properties and assets are owned by his wife, he had never been a landlord at all.
May 1, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
Following on from a rather frustrating conversation last night and today, I think it needs to be made clear what the situation is with tenant acting housing solicitors. (At least the competent ones who don’t rip off tenants). The simple fact is we are all -> - > (Law Centre or private practice) ridiculously busy. We run at capacity most of the time. We take on new cases as and when other cases are finished. While I understand people’s frustrations, my team get 30 or so new inquiries a day. - >
Mar 23, 2022 15 tweets 3 min read
Govt amends to the Building Safety Bill added today. Read all! i) Scrapping Building Safety Manager, ii) scrapping building safety charge as separate charge to service charge, iii) providing that RMCs/RTMs will have a ‘building safety director’ who can be remunerated for it. 1/13 iv) excluding penalty charges, legal costs from special measures orders etc from service charge to leaseholders and allowing SoS to prescribe by regulations other unrecoverable costs, 2/13
Mar 3, 2022 21 tweets 8 min read
Dear @RiversideCarol I read your article here insidehousing.co.uk/home/home/time… I will be writing a full response, but as someone who knows a bit about housing conditions claims and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, I’ve got some questions. 1/19 First - I don’t like claims farmers (see here from 2019 - nearlylegal.co.uk/2019/08/we-nee… ) But you mention ‘underhand tactics’ like these below. If true, these are awful and indeed unlawful. Have you reported these CMCs to the FCA? If not, why not? 2/19 Image
Feb 19, 2022 16 tweets 3 min read
After a discussion last night, for leaseholders disputing service charges: A list of things NOT to do. (Do circulate.)

First - the big one - Do not withhold service charge payments. This instantly exposes you to the risk of a money claim against you in the County Court.

1/15 Defending a claim is not a good place to be. Nearly every lease will give the landlord/management company the contractual right to legal costs on a failure to pay (yes, even if the actual claim is a small claim).

2/15
Feb 18, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
All proposed Lords amends to Building Safety Bill to date here. bills.parliament.uk/publications/4… (Including 4, count ‘em, 4 amends on developers, manufacturers and freeholders paying for remediation, including the Govt’s. Hugely variable in effect, substantive content, and viability). This is ridiculous, where timing allows no serious scrutiny or consideration, and where even the Govt’s amends are apparently subject to discussion and review. And the Commons will have no real input apart from yes or no.
Jan 21, 2022 16 tweets 5 min read
Those behind the Polluter Pays proposed amendment keep making this assertion. I explained why it wasn’t the case based on the (finally) released draft amendment in a comment on their site before Xmas. It has been held in moderation and not published. 1/16 #PolluterPaysAmendment I was told it would be published with a reply by the middle of last week. It wasn’t. And these assertions are still being made. So, here is why they are wrong. It means some detail, I’m afraid.
2/16
Jan 21, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
There’s been a lot of confusions about section 20 notices, what they are for and what they mean over the last few days. So, a thumbnail primer. There are basically two kinds of section 20 consultation (actual more like four or five, but two main types).
1/9
i) Where works are to be carried out to a building and the cost per leaseholder will exceed £250 per leaseholder; and
ii) Where a ‘long term qualifying agreement’ (ie a contract for longer than 12 months) is to be entered into with a contractor, or, say, a managing agent.
2/9
Jan 10, 2022 11 tweets 2 min read
Digested Gove:
£4Bn for 11-18m cladding - good but relies on developers, manufacturers etc to cough up.
‘Want Developers, manufacturers etc to fund remediation of non-cladding issues’. Well. we all want that. Question is what Govt will do about it. Will add (cross party?) amend to Building Safety Bill to ‘protect leaseholders’ from paying safety costs. This is a big one, with a lot of questions. Which costs? Arising when? (retrospective?). Seems clear will not extend to recovering payments already made by leaseholders. And
Mar 17, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
On the Lords passing the McPartland/Smith/Bishop of St Albans amendment to the Fire Safety Bill. 1) Hurrah! 2) What happens now? The Bill goes back to the commons. But this time, unlike the govt stitch up last time, there will have to be a vote on the amendment. > 3) What does the amendment do? It is a short, neat, and quite brutal amend which would simply stop the costs of works under an order or notice under the 2005 fire safety order (amended by the Fire Safety Bill) from being passed on to leaseholders if in respect of build defects >
Mar 15, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
Waiting for the House of Lords to vote on amendment 87C to the #DABill - to make it easier for a perpetrator to be removed from a joint tenancy without ending the tenancy. But earlier, saw the minister promise consultation and possible regulation in response to amend 66B. Image The amend was to prevent a council from taking into account local connection for a victim of domestic abuse fleeing from council accommodation in another area in the council’s allocation eligibility decisions. bills.parliament.uk/Publications/4…
Jan 31, 2021 9 tweets 2 min read
A couple of meta comments on the weekend’s legal related issues. 1) If I said something here in my private capacity which profoundly went against my firm’s stated values, I would expect there to be serious consequences for me. This is not about freedom of speech. 2) As a solicitor, I can choose what cases and clients I take on. Barristers can’t - if I instruct a barrister, they must do their best for the client whether or not they agree with the client’s position or like the client. This is very important. >
Jan 29, 2021 24 tweets 4 min read
Some thoughts ahead of the debate on building safety and the costs of remediation that Labour intend to force on Monday, and on the cladding/fire safety fiasco in general. This may be a lengthy thread (oh hell it is)… 1/23 It surely cannot be questioned that the absolute priority is that these buildings are fixed. Maybe hundreds of thousands of leaseholders (or their tenants) are living in unsafe, unmortgageable, unsellable properties. It is destroying lives and the property market.. 2/23
Oct 20, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
Watched the @CommonsHCLG evidence of @team_greenhalgh Some thoughts on the minister’s position on the draft Building Safety Bill, with a particular view on the position of leaseholders. First, they are continuing to explore ‘buildings with multiple owners’ - I’m not surprised as multiple accountable persons would be a nightmare. Second ‘we need to hear the voice of residents’ - well yes, but apparently have not done so so far, which is, you know, a bit late.
Sep 20, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
Via @Lees_Martina (and @PeteApps ) we now have a sense of how bad the cladding crisis is. The Govt’s (non-ACM) fund for remedial works had 2,957 blocks registered. (The fund would cover about 600 blocks.) That is a quarter of all high rise blocks in England. Add to that the 300 or so blocks with ACM cladding remaining. These 3257 are the blocks with identified issues, and that met the initial requirements of the Govt’s scheme. There will be more where issues not yet identified.
Sep 17, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
Possession claims, there is more - defendants in cases started before 3 August 2020 will apparently be getting this letter assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… Claimants will be getting this letter assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… and presumably this information pack assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… (helpfully starting ‘Avoid Court’).
Aug 21, 2020 16 tweets 3 min read
Round up of today in possession proceedings - what we know, what we don’t, and things to look out for. Civil Procedure Rule 55.29 is amended to extend the general stay on possession claims (including evictions) from 23 August to 20 September 2020 The text of amendments is not available yet. Also unclear is what happens to Practice Direction 55C - the reactivation notice and ‘information on impact of coronavirus on the Defendant’s household’ direction. All the dates in it are now wrong. Will see if amended or withdrawn.
Jul 26, 2020 39 tweets 6 min read
Working on Draft Building Safety Bill. The Regulator can ask the Minister to make regulations on a matter if it would potentially cause a ‘major incident’. Major Incident is defined as (a) a significant number of deaths, or
(b) serious injury to a significant number of people. (S.17(6)). But there is no definition of ‘significant number' of deaths/injuries. Are we going to end up with arguments over how many deaths are a ’significant number’? Personally, I'd go with one, but there would appear to be room for argument.
Jul 17, 2020 10 tweets 2 min read
Why is ‘permitted development’ (ie without planning permission) of an extra two storeys on a block of flats a bad idea? Lots of reasons, but allow me a true story about one reason. 1/9 I’ve just finished a trial in joined nuisance claims. My clients were leaseholders of flats on what was the top floor of the building. The freeholder had, some 10 years ago, stuck an extra floor of flats on top of the old roof (with planning permission). 2/9