Russell Conway
Housing Expert

Russell is the senior partner at respected London law firm Oliver Fisher 

Russell's advanced expertise in Commercial and Residential Landlord and Tenant matters has led to his involvement in Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, Court of Appeal and House of Lords cases. Worthy of particular mention is the ground breaking case of Ghaidan v Godin-Mendoza in 2004 which radically changed the law not only in relation to succession to tenancy but with regard to Human Rights generally

Russell is also a member of the Law Society Housing Committee and the Law Society Access to Justice Committee and regularly writes for the Solicitor's Journal



Richard Paris
Housing Expert

Richard Paris has an MA from Queens' College, Cambridge & a post-graduate Diploma in Housing from LSE. From 1991-93 he was senior research officer at LSE Housing.

He has worked for both statutory & voluntary organisations with people experiencing drug & alcohol problems, mental health difficulties, with young offenders & with those leaving care. This work involved 'street' level prevention, networking & advocacy. He has also worked for short-life & supported housing agencies, mainstream housing associations & local authorities.

Since 1990 he has been a free-lance housing law specialist undertaking educational training, consultancy and policy and procedure health checks.

He is also an associate consultant for National Housing Federation, LJM, Michael Guest Associates, ISLE Ltd and JKA Associates.

Question
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The latest ten questions are displayed below. Use the drop-down menu below to search for other questions and answers.

Q.

My mother and I received a letter notifying us of eviction. She has lung disease, arthritis, a newly replaced knee and suffers from depression. I am 19 and am wondering what will happen to us? Will she be placed on emergency housing as she is in fact registered disabled? What will happen to me? Will we be separated? She keeps saying she's going to sort it out but I think its out of her hands and she won't tell me everything

A.

Your mother is likely to be rehoused by the Council as she sounds to be a person in priority need.
However I would like more information as to why she is being evicted. If it is down to rent arrears the local authority could say it is her own fault.
Whilst your mother is, as I have said, likely to be rehoused there is no guarantee that you will be rehoused unless you are her carer or there is a good argument for you to be living with her.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

I moved into my housing association 2 bed house 8 years ago with my 15 year old daughter. I am now thinking of moving in with my partner. Does my daughter have any rights to continue living in the property?

A.

Sadly no.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Hi. My husband left me about a year now. We have 2 boys, 11 and 8. We have a mortgage for almost 9 years now. I'm the one paying the mortgage since the start and my ex husband is paying for the car. My question is .. Can I change the mortgage only to my name with out going thru the mortgage process again? I spoke to my bank they say the only way I can change it is to have a transfer of property .. Which means I need to apply for a new mortgage on my own. I Have bad credit history and I won't be able to have a new mortgage. Is there any other way to change the mortgage name to mine with out getting a new mortgage?? Can my ex sign a letter saying that the mortgage is mine only. I need to go this to securemy boys future. Or can it be that while I'm still paying for the mortgage can I make a last will sign by me and my ex saying that whatever happen .. The house will go to my children?? I don't know what to do. I'm quite happy Paying mortgage on my own but wanted to secure everything first. Pls help

A.

You will not be able to transfer the mortgage into your sole name without the banks permission.
They like to have 2 peoples name on the mortgage as it adds to their security.
Do you have Divorce solicitors? If not you should instruct a firm specialising in divorce and they can advise you further.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

I have been very ill suffering with alcoholism and mental health problems uo until I year ago I held a responsible job as a pa to CEOs of a children's hospice my marriage broke down 2 years ago and through my illness I lost custody of my 4 year old daughter. I did not realise I was on the mortgage of a house we had started to buy before the marriage broke down it was a probate and went on for over a year I knew my husband had it but we had never lived there as it was dilapidated and my husband and his parents have been renovating the property. I claimed for housing and have been fighting to get some benefits after working all my life (16-42) and do not know the system I have now been called in under caution for housing fraud I am still signed off for mental and depression issues and am working hard to stay clean get my life and child back I am worried beyond measure I don't know what to do I have no money my husband and his parents are paying for everything for me until I can get well enough to go back work

A.

This is slightly complex. If you are on the mortgage deed you may in fact own part of the property. If so you may be entitled to a share of that property in the course of your divorce proceedings.
If you were totally unaware of the situation you should tell the Council that you were completely ignorant of the situation. However you are likely to have signed some documents and they may say you should have been aware of the situation.
If you are in any doubt about the position you should not attend the interview under caution but if you are completely (100%) sure that you were not told about the property perhaps it is best to simply go along and tell them the situation as you understand it to be.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Good morning, I need advise urgently, I live in medway and last year found out my abusive father is in the same area which I contacted the police about. I live in private rented accommodation and was given a police email to send to a different council area and am bidding on properties. In Dec my ex left myself and my 2 children and has been sending horrible text msgs, he was very controlling and cheated countless times & caused me a lot of emotional and mental abuse which I now know is domestic abuse. I suffer severely with depression & anxiety which I am medicated for and am struggling where I am with no support in this area, my ex lives 5 minutes down the road. I am so scared of bumping into my father and am really considering going into a refuge with my children as can't afford another private rented accomodation and can not stay here and keep bidding. Have been to mediation in regards to the kids contact with there father. I've contacted many councils & also contacted victim support, CAB, shelter, domes

A.

This is a very sad situation.
Have you been to see a local solicitor?
It seems to me that your very real and self evident problems should be addressed by the local authority and you must be moved to another area just as soon as possible.
Quite how they can justify allowing you to live in such circumstances is beyond me.
If you cannot instruct a solicitor you should contact both your local MP & your local Councillor who should both have regular surgeries close to where you live.
I do wish you luck.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Hi I've been given a section 21 and that expires in Febuary I have to my local council and have a case worker but doesn't get back to me when I call or email him! I'm finding it really hard to find any agents or landlords who will accept people on housing benifit and I'm now scared I'm Not going to find any where to live and don't want the agency to go to court to court to get me out. Please can you tell me my best options as I'm so stressed that I will become homeless

A.

Just because you have been given a s.21 Notice does not mean that you have to move out.
The landlord has to take you to Court first and he can only do that once the s.21 notice has expired. The process can take several months.
Even when the landlord has obtained an order for possession he must then apply for a bailiffs warrant which in turn can take several weeks more.
The reason people are taking a slightly relaxed approach to your predicament is that your situation has not yet become urgent. When you have obtained the Order for possession suspect the Local Authority Homeless Persons Unit may wish to offer you some help.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

hi i moved to leicester from london through domestic violence with my 2 children when i arrived in leicester was told by housing options that they can not put me in a refuge in leicester because my husband knows the area so put me and my children in a refuge in birmimgham due to my deep depression at the time i was moved in a leicester rouge after 2 weeks. my depression became worse in the leicester refuge as the support was very bad and it affected me and my kids so with the help of my dad with the deposit i moved in to a private house and started to claim for housing benefit. now after being at this house for a year my land lord has sent me a notice of possession because he has family coming from abroad and need to property. i have tried looking for other private rented houses but i am finding that they are above my budget and also been told by a few agencies that most land lords have stopped taking housing benefit tenants.

A.

Get an advocate via CAB and/or Shelter and/or a law centre and/or women's aid. Make an appointment with the local council's housing options team and explain to them why you are losing your current accommodation. They may be able to help with a bond/deposit and/or put you in touch with a private landlord that will accept housing benefit.

The council may have an accredited private landlord forum.

If not you will be homeless again and with children with automatic priority need. The council should be trying to prevent your homelessness.

Good luck
Richard Paris

Q.

I am 16 weeks pregnant and my partner is leaving me for another woman. I live in manchester and got no relatives or friends to support me. I am planning to move to somerset to my sister once I'm on maternity leave as I will not cope on my own. I already suffer from anxiety. My sister owns a two bedroom flat where she lives with her husband and 2 young children. If I will move there I will end up living in a living room with my baby. What chances do I have to get a council or housing property to have my own space if I will move from manchester? Also when should I start applying if I stand a chance? I know it's usually impossible to apply for housing in a different are than where I currently live. Please advise as I can't sleep because I am so worried about my future. thank you in advance.

A.

The sooner you make the application to the Homeless Persons Unit in Somerset the better.
They will require proof of ID, proof of your pregnancy and they will require a full explanation as to why you cannot stay in Manchester.
They will also need to know why you have returned to Somerset.
Hopefully they will find you temporary accommodation.
I do wish you luck.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Is it possible for me to get help with rent? I'm a single parent i have 3 kids that live with there mum and i see them 3 times a week, after work twice during the week for an hour and i have them all
day on either Saturday or Sunday, I'm in a low income job and I'm living back with my parents but unfortunately, they don't have the space for the kids to come and stay over night and its causing issues with there mum about me not having the kids over night, all i want is a two bed place just so they can come over and stay a night or two during the week.

A.

If you move out and rent in the private sector you may be able to make a claim for Housing benefits.
This will depend very much on your income and the amount paid will also depend on the nature of your accommodation. They would not pay you in full for a 2 bedroom property but may do in the case of a 1 bedroom flat.

Rusell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Hi, my husband left the family home 8 months ago, the house is solely in his name as I am a registered bankrupt and he is now saying he can no longer afford the mortgage payments and has to sell. He has said I can have whatever equity is in the house (will be less
than 10k) and he will be maintenance via the csa but my concern is that me and my children will be left homeless as I work part time and would not be able to privately rent or get another mortgage based on my wage and my credit history. Would our local council be able to help us and would I be eligible for rehousing. We have 3 children under the age of 14 so living with family members is not an option for us.

A.

Obviously someone has to meet the mortgage payments otherwise the house will be repossessed and sold by the Building society/bank.
Probably best if you see a solicitor to protect your interests. You do NOT want your ex selling the property and pocketing all the equity.
You should under no circumstances move out unless a solicitor has given you an undertaking that you will receive all the equity.

Once the property has been sold and you are,effectively homeless the local authority has a statutory duty to assist you with temporary accommodation and then permanent accommodation.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fsiher