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.

This won't be your usual question. I am a single parent. I have a grown daughter of 44 who is dying of cancer. She lives in a 3 bedroom flat under a Housing Association. She lives with her 18 year old daughter who has hypermobility and POTS and is in a wheelchair and her 16 year old son. Obviously the tenancy can be handed down to her daughter. My granddaughter  is saying she wants to go and live in a disabled flat on her own so where does this leave my 16 year old grandson? Obviously he must live with his father, they get on fine, but where will they live if this tenancy is taken off them because my granddaughter wants to live somewhere else? Please help because I'm on my own and don't know what to do.

A.

I am assuming that your daughter is separated from her husband or partner. As such if anything happened to her it will be the 18 year old daughter who will have the right to succeed to the tenancy and it will be up to her what she does with it.

She may well choose to serve a Notice to Quit and swap that tenancy with a sheltered flat. At that point the 16 year old can either go to live with his father or, as a last resort, social services may become involved.

This all sounds a particularly sad situation and I do feel for you all. There are so many unpleasant things going on here. I sincerely hope you all manage to get through this very difficult time in your life.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

hi, my name is Renata. I'm leaving in Devon for 4 years and now London nearly 2years, i never before didn't use any kind of benefits. my situation now is changed, im 5 months pregnant, father of the babe left me and my landlord told me to move out (but she doesn't want to give me a letter that i have to move). I'm trying to find something to rent, but because I'm single and pregnant private landlords saying no to me, agencies saying no because i don't have enough income to rent a place by myself. I spoke to people in waltham forest council but they told me im not leaving long enough in their area so they can't help me. i spoke to CBA but they said i have to look on my own because they don't help with houses. can you please help me, i really don't know what to do, where to look for advice or help. can you please help ?

A.

No-one will help you unless the Landlord 1st serves you with a Notice to Quit and 2nd issues Court proceedings for possession in the locval County Court.

Unless you are homeless the local authority are very unlikely to assist you.

Accordingly do NOT move out unless the Landlord can show you an Order for Possession.

If, and when, he obtains this you will be a person in priority need (because of your child) and the local authority will have to provide you with some form of temporary accommodation.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

I just had final divorce but during the Court involve, I was badly suffer of Bell's palsy attack and depression cause me is not myself I had raise the sickness I have but not taken serious by my solicitor(they did not send letter request my GP for their report of my health) so the Judge did not take in account. Turn out my ex had 20% of the sale of the our home when our son reach 19 (as I had trust deed when we bought the house in 1991 and I had 100% of the house and we marriage in 1993 my ex move in after marriage). My ex had an affair before walk out I had prove but my solicitor did not put all my evident in the bundle. Therefore the Judge do not take in my evident despite the Judge know they are the truth. BUT our son wish to study University and do not wish to leave his only home. As I must support our son in everyday life and emotion, I do not wish to disturb our son study, as moving is effect his study . Both me and our son want to stay put so our son only has one thing to worry about is study.

A.

This all sounds very sad but it would appear that the Court proceedings happened quite a while ago I very much doubt we can appeal the Order made by the Judge. There are very strict time-limits for appeals. Worse still I doubt that your case would these days qualify for Legal Aid as most such cases are no longer within scope of Legal Aid following Gov't cuts in April 2013.

Whilst of course you could apply to the Court to vary the terms of the Order you would have to justify such an application and I doubt you would be able to deal with such a complex application yourself.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

Hi I've actually fled domestic violence from ely East Cambridgeshire to lewisham living with friends my son has starte school their in lewisham but they've refused to rehouse me despite having prove I'm fleeing dv

A.

You need to get a decision letter from the Local Authority and then get legal advice to challenge it.

There can be no reason why the Local authority should not rehouse you and your son.

As long as you have proof of domestic violence they should be finding you temporary accommodation in their area.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

 HI I need some advice I was off work sick for roughly 4 months and got behind with the rent. I live with my mum who is 62. We set up a payment agreement with the council but because I got paid less than expected from work I paid as much as I could and the council then sent a eviction notice. the people in the council are very rude and bully my mother and she has been told she needs to throw me out now or she will lose her home. is this legal does she have to throw me and my son out? or if it went to court would we be rehoused. since this has happened the council have been to the door complaining about numorous things that they've apparently been told. Me and my son have nowhere to go and if I was to go homeless I would be rehoused in east London meaning having to give up my job and his school as of the hours. please help

A.

If your mother evicts you from the flat It is highly likely that you would be rehoused by the local authority along with your son, assuming that your son is under 18 and still in full time education.

Should you mother insist you leave you should obtain from her a letter saying you must leave the accommodation and present with that letter to the Local Authority Homeless Persons unit. They will ask you for proof of ID for you and your son, birth certificates etc etc.

It is well worth pursuing that course.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

I live in a 2 bed flat with my son and his father, I don't want to be with his father but he won't leave, I also have nowhere else to live he's on the tenancy and pays the rent, do I have anyway of getting him of the tenancy and get him out?? I can't live like this anymore

A.

There are quite a few "if" & "buts" here.

I assume you are not married. If you were married you could apply to transfer the tenancy into your name.

I do not know why you do not wish to carry on living with your partner. Has he been violent towards you? Violence can be emotional as well as physical. Certainly if there has been violence you could present at the Local Authority Homeless families unit and, as a family in Priority need the local authority would have a duty to rehouse you into temporary accommodation.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

Q.

My wife and I have been separated for 5 Months(Divorce Proceedings) She is still living with me & my daughter,in a two bed Council flat which I am sole Secure tenancy holder only. and have been with the council for 15 years(It was given to me through a points process due to an assault on me 3 years ago) It was my wifes decision only to end our marriage, She said she would find other rented accommodation, which now she says after 5 months she cannot afford, She now is challenging me to my home. Is this legal or lawful? Many thanks if you could shed some light on this. regards

A.

Sadly in the course of the Divorce proceedings your wife could make an application to the Court to transfer the tenancy into her name. You would have the opportunity to resist this.

The Court would make its decision on the basis of who would be worst effected by being homeless. It maybe the case that if your wife left you and presented as homeless with your daughter the local authority may house them. Certainly if your wife did make an application to the Court to transfer the tenancy into her sole name you should contest such proceedings.

You should not under any circumstances move away from the matrimonial home as that would seriously prejudice your position.

I do wish you luck.

Russell Conway

Oliver Fisher

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