Housing & Asset Management
Practice Area Specialist:
Steven joined Stillwells in 2015 as a partner, bringing with him 18 years’ experience in the areas of civil and commercial litigation, dispute resolution and a niche specialism in housing and asset management work. Steven’s extensive experience has seen him litigate in County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and various tribunals such as the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) - acting for clients in a number of significant high profile cases.
At Stillwells we provide cost-effective, proactive and plain English advice and representation to property owners and occupiers, including registered providers of social housing, on housing management and asset management issues.
Our specialist experience is wide-ranging and includes the following:
- termination of tenancies, leases and licences, including assured, secure and assured shorthold tenancies
- anti-social behaviour, including applications for injunctive relief and other emergency remedies
- complex possession cases, often involving substance abuse or mental health issues
- leasehold enfranchisement (lease extensions and freehold acquisitions), right of first refusal and right to manage
- service charges and leasehold management including s.20 consultation and dispensation
- boundaries, covenants, easements and rights of way
- development disputes
- arrears of rent and service charge
- squatters and trespassers
- unlawful eviction
- Equality Act, Human Rights Act and public law challenges including Judicial Review
- succession and under-occupation
- drafting and reviews of tenancy agreements
- homelessness and allocations
- governance and regulation including policy, procedure and complaints
We also deal with stock rationalisation, commercial leases and related advice including dilapidations and break clauses. We understand that disputes relating to property can often be very distressing, particularly when they involve parties who live or work within close proximity.
We are skilled in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, and firmly believe that often the best solution is to avoid litigation. Sometimes though, court proceedings are inevitable and when they are you will find that our credentials are second to none, with experience of litigating property matters in the County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and various tribunals including the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
We thrive on partnering with our clients and offer added value in the form of training, surgeries and legal updates. Friendly, approachable and commercially minded, we respond immediately to matters which require urgent attention and where necessary will work with other teams in the firm in order to provide a truly one-stop service for our clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
What is a tenancy deposit?
What does the law require regarding tenancy deposits?
- Protect in a government-backed scheme any tenancy deposit paid by an assured shorthold tenant;
- Provide the tenant with information (known as ‘prescribed information’) about the scheme used; and
- Give the tenant a copy of the deposit protection certificate, signed by the landlord.
This must be done within 30 days of the landlord receiving the deposit.
What happens if the deposit is not protected?
- The landlord can be ordered to pay compensation to the tenant of up to three times the amount of the deposit; and
The landlord’s ability to terminate the tenancy using a section 21 notice (see below) is restricted until the law has been complied with or the deposit has been returned to the tenant.
What else must a landlord do at the start of the tenancy?
How is an assured shorthold tenancy terminated?
Is there a set form of section 21 notice?
What is the end date for a section 21 notice?
Are there time limits in relation to section 21 notices and proceedings?
- A section 21 notice cannot be served in the first four months of a tenancy or, in the case of a replacement tenancy, within four months beginning with the date on which the original tenancy began;
- Proceedings for possession cannot be commenced after the end of the period of six months beginning with the date on which the section 21 notice was given;
- Where a section 21 notice has been served and the date in the notice is more than two months after the date the notice was given, proceedings for possession cannot be commenced after the end of the period of four months beginning with the end date specified in the notice.
Put simply, a landlord can no longer serve a section 21 notice at the commencement of the tenancy and leave it in place for the duration of the tenancy.
Does the landlord have to repay rent where the tenancy ends before the end of a period?
What is retaliatory eviction?
What does the law do to prevent retaliatory eviction?
- the tenant is in breach of their duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner or an express term of the tenancy agreement to the same effect;
- the premises are genuinely on the market for sale;
- the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing; or
- the premises were mortgaged before the grant of the tenancy and the mortgage lender wishes to exercise its power of sale and requires vacant possession.