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Catch up on the latest on pro bono with a LawWorks podcast.

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Universal Credit

Lawworks' Richard Pitkethly talks to Roni Marsh about Universal Credit.

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Information and resources

Roni Marsh, a welfare rights advisor, talks to LawWorks' Richard Pitkethly about Universal Credit. Covering an overview of overview of claiming process; common issues affecting Universal Credit clients; solutions to mitigate against the harsher aspects of Universal Credit e.g. advance payments; and, where to source help for clients.

Fitness for human habitation

In this podcast Tony Martin of BPP looks at the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. Contrary, perhaps, to popular perception, until recently there was no specific legal requirement that all residential dwellings let to occupants should be fit for human occupation.  Tony considers how the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 has amended the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, by statutorily implying new covenants into tenancies, thereby creating new and enforceable rights for tenants.

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Information and resources

  1. Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as amended
  2. Guidance for tenants, landlords and local authorities:
  3. How to rent guide (updated)
  4. The 29 Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Hazards
  5. Cases referred to:
  • ‘ordinary reasonable man’:  Hall v Manchester Corporation [1915] L.J. Ch. 732, HL.
  • ‘decently fit for human beings to live in’: Jones v Green [1925] 1 K.B. 659.
  • The unfitness of one room: Summers v Salford Corp [1943] AC 283, [1943] 1 All ER 68.
  • Totality of the defects: Wyse v Secretary of State for the Environment [1984] J.P.L. 256.
  • Inconvenience and discomfort alone: Rendlesham Estates Plc v Barr Ltd [2014] EWHC 3968 (TCC).
  1. Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases

Pro bono cost orders

LawWorks' Richard Pitkethly talks to Greg Hodder, Access to Justice Foundation about pro bono cost orders, which provide vital funding for free legal help.

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Information and resources

Pro bono costs are just like ordinary legal costs, but applicable where a party received free legal representation. If a civil case is won with pro bono help, pro bono costs can be ordered by the court, or included in settlements. The free legal help may be provided by any lawyer in the proceedings. The costs cover any period when free representation was provided and the amount is based on what a paying client would recover. The costs must be paid to the prescribed charity, the Access to Justice Foundation, which distributes the money to agencies and projects that give free legal help to those in need. Front line agencies responsible for obtaining pro bono costs can expect to receive up to 50% of the costs recovered.

For additional information on pro bono cost orders visit the Access to Justice Foundation website

 

Introducing the Tenants Fees Act 2019

The Tenants Fees Act 2019 governs what payments a landlord or letting agent may require “in connection with a tenancy of housing in England” and contains significant new rights and protections for tenants. In this podcast Tony Martin of BPP looks at the Tenants Fees Act 2019 which came into force on 1 June 2019.

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Information and resources

The Government states: “The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy, and is part of a wider package of measures aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector.”

The Act bans letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and caps tenancy deposits, but some payments are still permitted payments.  The law applies in England. Given that the sums involved are relatively small (although important to tenants) it is likely that people will seek pro bono help where a prohibited payment has been demanded or taken.  It is therefore an area in which pro bono advice can make a real difference.

Tony Martin is supervising solicitor of the housing clinic at BPP University and a freelance trainer.

More information is available at www.gov.uk.

 

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