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.

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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.

Hi my name is alison.,my partner and I,are going are different
ways, we have a son.I need 2 rehouse.I have debts, which are being pay off with help, debt recovery. Iv never miss the bills and rent.lived in private landlord,for 12 year's. Don't know what. 2 do.please could you advise thanku

A.

Get an appointment at the local council's housing options and/or housing advice service and explain your situation to them. They must advise about what  you can do. Check local CAB and/or advice services and/or law centre and/or Shelter.

Good luck 

Richard Paris

Q.

I am currently a private tenant and expecting twins I am also single. The tenancy agreement says I can only have 2 adults in the flat. I have applied for a council house but am having no joy. I suffer from depression and am also a carer for my mom and brother who are mentally and physically ill. I am stressing and cant move in with my mom or brother.  They said I can only have 40 points as am already in accomadation, I have not tlod the landlord I am pregnant as do not want to be homeless. Is there any one who can help me and give me advice on my rights and also on benefits as I have just started maternity leave.

A.

Your situation is very complicated! Go back to the council and explain all of your situation. I think you should get extra 'points/banding/priority? But each council runs a different 'reasonable preference' system? Make an appointment with local CAB and/or Law Centre and/or Shelter to get an advocate to 'press' your case.

Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

Hello there am a single dadd with 2 14 years old boys we are living in one studio flat and its been a nightmer with the kids geting older its a privet rented an dam receiving some housing benefit as i have been off work due to an accident that made me lose my memory any advise on how to t get any housog help for bigger house will be great espicially that finoding a cheap place in wesmnster is anightmer thank you for your help

A.

Go back to the council and ask them what you are supposed to do? They have to help - ask housing advice and housing options (different departments of council). If 'push come to shove' there is an argument that 'it is not reasonable' for you and your boys to 'continue to occupy'. BUT this means you might be 'statutorily homeless' and the council might suggest temporary accommodation outside the borough where you live!!

Check with local CAB and/or law centre and/or Shelter. Good luck

Richard Paris

 

 

Q.

hi im homeless i need a property that accept housing benifit but i dont have a guarentor and dont no what to do as noone accepts dss with out a guarentor anymore i have to children i need to find somewhere as soon as possible do you no what i could do or where to go. thanks for all your help.

A.

Go to the local council and ask them. They must provide a free housing advice service and should be able to point you towards letting agents and/or landlords who will accept people on benefit.

Councils have a legal duty to prevent homelessness so either housing advice or housing options (homelessness) must be able to help you. If they are less than helpful try the local CAB and/or voluntary housing advice and/or Shelter.

Richard Paris

 

Q.

Good morning I am being evicted from my property on 7 October with my 2 year old and 9 month old children as our landlord wants the property for a relative. Our council have said we will be placed in emergency accommodation until something becomes available although we have been assessed and accepted as homeless. I have looked emergency accommodation and asked around and am horrified at the stories I have heard; Hostels where young children and their mothers are placed with those recently released from prison or with addiction problems, bedrooms that do not have locks on the doors, hostels that do not allow you to stay

> in the room during the day, residents being left waiting in these places
> for months on end. I have lost a lot of sleep over this as the thoughts of

> taking my babies into such an environment fills me with dread. Can you
> please provide me with some advice/reassurance that we will not be placed
> somewhere like this? I would also like to know why we would be placed in
> emergency accommodation

A.

I am really sorry not to have replied earlier - been away BUT I think I recognise your email from previously. Yes there are 'horror stories' about temporary accommodation BUT you need to be strong and insist that it is 'suitable' for you and your children.

If you end up in sub-standard accommodation (for whatever reason) you need a good advocate (CAB and/or law centre and/or voluntary housing advisor) who can press your case. People who 'press' the local authority usually get moved to more suitable accommodation. Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

Hi hounslow housing in london have told me I do not apply for housing because I only have kids 3 d/n and to apply for housing u need to be primary carer and have them 4 d/n. I am sleeping at mums on these nights with me and kids on floor. please help.

A.

It sounds like the council are correct. There is more demand than supply for council housing and so they have to prioritise those with primary care. The lead case is Holmes-Moorhouse-v-LB RFichmond on Thames from the House of Lords (now Supreme Court) from 2009.

Unless you increase the amount of time your children spend per week with you I cannot see any easy solution. Sorry.

Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

Hi, I am a 23 year old single mum and i live with my 6 year old daughter and brother (who's just turned 18) in my dad's temporary accommodation house. We used to live in this house with my step mum and her kids as well but she and my dad have split up. They are in arrears with the rent and council tax and many other bills. Because of the split my step mum got offered a different house by the council and that is where she lives now with her kids. so she left all the arrears with this house and got a fresh start. The problem now is that my dad has left the country, abandoned me and my daughter and brother. He left when i was in my final year at university and said he was coming back but he didnt. I have been struggling since then trying to work and provide for my daughter and brother, with the pressure i failed my final year at university and i now have to repeat. I haven't informed the council yet as i thought he would be back but after trying to contact him through every way possible with no response

A.

Your case is very, very complicated. I suggest you need good face-to-face advice from the local CAB and/or law centre and/or Shelter.

After they have advised you, go to the council and explain what has happened. I don't think any of what has happened is your fault and with your own child and brother, the council either would let you stay or re-house you in other temporary accommodation in your own right

Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

If I have a mortgage with a partner but want to leave him could I be entitled to a council house/flat?

A.

I cannot answer your question without knowing more information. I suggest you get face-to-face advice from the local CAB and/or the council's free housing advice service.

A lot depends on how much equity you have / size of mortgage / whether you are a registered civil partner or matrimonial spouse etc. You might also want to see a solicitor.

 In most places the 'waiting list' for council housing is huge and demand outstrips supply.

Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

Hi. I hope you can help me. I am currently living at emergency accommodation (b&b) together with my 7 years old daughter. We have been in this bb since July 10th. I have not yet received any information about my entitlement to any further help. My housing officer is unavailable at all times..I leave msgs every other day for last two weeks unfortunately she never gets back.to me. I feel very hopeless..can u please help me to find out if there is someone I could complain directly to. And is it really ok for my Housing officer to not inform.me about any progress. I'm not biddingon locata as I haven't been given a number. My priority hand is b. Please advise me. Thank.u

A.

Councils are not supposed to place homeless families with children in B&B (it's been unlawful since 2002) and if they do use B&B they can only do so in an emergency and then for no more than 6 weeks maximum.

I suggest you phone the council and ask to speak to a senior if not their homelessness options manager. Ask them why you are still in B&B and why you have heard nothing since July 10th? Also try the local CAB and/or Shelter and/or the local law centre, if there is one. Find out who your local councillor is and MP and go to see them as well and explain your predicament.

Good luck

Richard Paris

Q.

I was bidding before for a couple of years and then got  kicked off because I wasn't priority I'm a working mum who works 18 hours a week and have a 4 year old son is there any chance I can get on the council list as I think it's unfair when u try your hardest and don't get no where but people on full benefit get everything Kind regards

A.

You could certainly ask for a written explanation as to why you are no longer able to bid.

If they don't give you that ask your local Councillor to enquire for you.

It maybe the case that the local authority housing allocation policy has recently changed and that may have disadvantaged you.

 Rusell Conway

Oliver Fisher