Social housing training

We have been working in partnership with the social housing sector as it has grown and developed and we have an unrivalled level of expertise in the law and insight into the sector.

Our specialist housing management and property teams have developed a range of training sessions covering issues which we know present regular challenges for clients. Our courses provide you with the up to date law, sound practical and pragmatic advice and solutions and the knowledge you need to try and avoid disputes arising. The sessions combine an element of teaching together with interactive tasks which are carried out in a workshop style.

Each session is designed to take around 2 ½ hours to present, and two sessions can be combined to make a full day training.

Our training can be offered at a location of your choosing, or at our offices. We are also very happy to put you in touch with other organisations who might be interested in receiving training sessions jointly and sharing the cost and using the session as a networking opportunity too. If you want to discuss costs, are interested in arranging for one of these sessions to be delivered or want to see how we can assist in meeting your training needs, please get in touch.

Property Law for Developers
 

This course is designed for staff responsible for site acquisition and development. Delegates will be introduced to the “development from hell”! They will learn about what problems might arise during a development and how to spot these at an early stage so that issues can be anticipated and managed. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to identify issues which might later cause problems with development and how early identification and action can help to avoid later disputes.

The session will cover:

  • Easements – it is vital to know what rights exist both for the benefit of the land and to which the land is subject. Rights of way or an easement to provide support to neighbouring land will impact upon the way in which your development works proceed. You need to know how water will be delivered to site, how it will be drained away and whether your development may impede the rights to light which may be enjoyed by neighbours
  • Other third party Rights – have members of the public acquired public rights to cross your development site or could there even be a Village Green which limits development? We look at the rules which apply.
    Boundaries – All too often the development of a site will trigger boundary disputes with neighbours. We look at how to resolve disputes at an early stage to avoid costly delays and poor neighbourly relations. In this session delegates will look both at boundary rules, the construction of conveyances and the rules surrounding adverse possession.
  • Tenancies – Dare we ignore the horse tethered in the corner of the field or will it come back to bite us?! Can horses bite? This and other knotty tenancy issues will be explored. Delegates will look at forms of security of tenure which may impact upon their development plans including the Communications Code (Telecoms) and Electricity Wayleaves.
  • Restrictive Covenants – Can a covenant given to an eighteenth century lord of the manor really stop my development plans? At a time of increasing pressure to deliver more homes this session looks at the legislative framework available to assist developers in removing problem covenants

 

Leaseholders and other forms of home ownership
 

This course is designed for staff dealing with leaseholders and will look at specific problems and issues which can arise. Attendees will gain an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of a leasehold owner, as well as an insight into different forms of home ownership including shared ownership leases. We will look at the remedies available against a leaseholder and how to avoid disputes arising.

The session will cover:

  • What a leasehold interest is and how it operates, an overview of leasehold covenants and how they operate
  • Shared ownership
  • Forfeiture and other means of termination
  • Enforcing leasehold covenants
  • Debt recovery against a leaseholder
  • Remedies for other breaches of lease
  • Repairing disputes
  • Service charge issues
  • Enfranchisement – an overview

 

Service Charges – Avoiding Challenges
 

This session is aimed at housing professionals who deal with charges for maintenance work and services, primarily for long leaseholders although the rules are also relevant to assured tenancies. The session looks at the reasonableness requirements of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and highlights where consultation is required. It will provide attendees with an understanding of the pitfalls for the unwary and how to avoid potential disputes arising.

The session will cover:

  • Different types of lease and tenancy and how the service charge rules apply
  • The difference between fixed and variable service charges
  • What sort of services can you charge for?
  • Variation of service charges
  • Structure of a service charge and how is it calculated
  • Service Charge demands
  • Statutory regulation of service charges
  • The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
  • Reasonableness requirements
  • Proposed discretionary cap legislation
  • When might consultation be required
    A review of recent cases

 

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
 

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, when it comes into force, will affect almost every occupier of a rented or licensed property in Wales. A number of consultations have been published and we expect the Act to come into force in late 2018/early 2019. At the present time, we await model tenancy agreements and a raft of regulations which will give us more information about what housing law in Wales will look like.

However, preparations for the transition should start now, so we’ve developed a range of training courses to meet the needs of your entire organisation.

RSL board members: outline session
This brief one hour session has been created to give an outline on the changes and transitions coming into force.

Senior managers: half day session
In this half day session, we will cover everything senior managers need to know in order to plan and prepare for the changes.

Housing officers and frontline staff: full day session
This full day in-depth course is targeted at all frontline staff and will provide an overview of what the Act will alter, so attendees
can start becoming familiar with key concepts and start to plan for the change. The session will cover:

  • What secure and standard contracts are
  • Which occupiers will have which type of contracts
  • The fundamental, supplementary and additional terms of the contract
  • What will change in terms of dealing with; joint and sole tenancies, death and succession, abandonment, anti-social behaviour and disrepair
  • The specific provisions relating to; introductory and demoted tenancies, supported housing, homelessness, housing minors
  • Gearing up for when the Act comes into force

General awareness: half day session
This session is ideal for non-frontline staff but those that need to be aware of the changes and key concepts. It will focus on
the same topics as the above full day session.

 

If you’re interested in any of these courses and would like to find out more, please contact our housing management team.

Housing the Homeless
 

Homelessness is governed by its own statutory code, the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The homelessness duties in the Act are specific to Wales.

The course is intended to provide housing professionals with an overview of what the Local Authority duties under the Act and surrounding guidance are, together with an understanding of the role which RSLs play in helping the local authority discharge that function. Attendees will gain an understanding of the type of agreements which are used to house the homeless and procedures for eviction – with or without a court order.

The session will cover:

  • Homelessness Law – the Housing (Wales) Act 2014
  • Allocations Policy and Procedure
  • R (ZH and CN) v Lewisham – is a court order required?
  • Licences
  • Tenancies
  • Eviction – with and without a court order

 

Disrepair
 

We have seen an increase in the rate of disrepair claims being referred to us recently. We know that tenants are targeted by social media campaigns which seek to recruit new claimants. It is essential that social landlords know what their responsibilities are.

The course is intended to provide housing and maintenance staff with an understanding of what a landlord’s repairing obligations cover and at what point a requirement to repair arises. Attendees will also gain an insight into how to respond appropriately if a disrepair claim is threatened or even issued and an understanding of how early steps can affect the prospects of a claim succeeding.

The session will cover:

  • The Repairing Obligation
  • Interpreting the s11 Covenant:
  • The requirement for notice
  • What other responsibilities might arise
  • Common problems
  • Tenant responsibilities for repair and tenant damage
  • Access to repair
  • Tenant remedies for disrepair
  • Practical hints and tips
  • What to do if faced/threatened with a claim

 

Income Recovery and Court Proceedings
 

This course is designed for housing professionals who deal with income recovery. It will cover what steps can be taken as soon as arrears arise, the protocol and pre-action behaviour, court proceedings and advocacy, applying for the warrant and dealing with applications to suspend. It will provide attendees with a full understanding of the process from start to finish and the confidence to deal with cases in court.

The session will cover:

  • Grounds for Possession
  • Pre-action protocols
  • Effect of tenant insolvency
  • Serving notice
  • Issuing at court and the hearing
  • The Court Hearing: Procedure and Etiquette
  • Post-Hearing Management
  • Warrants of Possession
  • Leave to issue a warrant

 

Preparing the Witness Statement and Presenting an injunction case at court
 

This course is aimed at housing professionals with some experience in housing who want to be able to confidently prepare and present a case at court for an injunction on a breach of tenancy. This very interactive session uses worked examples and case studies to look at what evidence needs to be placed before the court, the issues which you will need to address the judge on and how the court will proceed.

The session will cover:

  • What an injunction is and when you can seek one
  • An overview of court procedure and case management
  • Interviewing a witness
  • Drafting a statement ready for use in court
  • Presenting that evidence in a case
  • In the context of an ex parte injunction application

 

Possession, Demotion and getting the Notice Right
 

This course is aimed at housing professionals with some experience in housing who want to be able to confidently draft and serve different types of notice, for possession, demotion and to end a starter tenancy. Attendees will spend time reviewing the grounds upon which notices can be served and will gain an insight into how properly investigating a case at the outset and drafting the notice carefully can improve the outcome of the case

The session will cover:

  • Grounds for Possession
  • Grounds for Demotion, and the nature and effect of a Demotion order
  • Gathering evidence and decision making
  • The New Pre-Action Protocol
  • Preparing and serving a Notice Seeking Possession
  • Notices seeking demotion
  • Section 21 notices

 

Starter and Demoted Tenancies
 

Over the past ten to fifteen years, starter and demoted tenancies have become a crucial tool in dealing with anti-social behaviour. This course is designed for housing staff who deal with demotions and evictions of starter or demoted tenants, and will deal with how to seek a demotion, what to do when a starter or demoted tenant has breached the tenancy, carrying out the statutory review procedure and securing a court order.

The session will cover:

  • Terminology – different types of tenancy, when a review must or might be offered
  • Starter tenancies – what they are, issues to be aware of
  • Applying for a demotion
  • Seeking eviction of a starter or demoted tenant – the procedure
    • The Pre-Action Protocol
    • Notice
    • Review
    • Court
  • Vulnerable tenants
  • Potential Human Rights and Equality Act arguments
  • Case Studies

 

Court Preparation and Advocacy
 

This session is aimed at housing professionals who want to be able to deal with non-complex court proceedings for injunctions and possession on anti-social behaviour and other tenancy breach grounds. It will cover how to approach evidence gathering, choose which remedy to seek and then to prepare and present the case at court right through to dealing with warrants for possession.

This course complements our “housing law and practice” course which covers the range of different remedies available.

The session will cover:

  • Evidence gathering and analysis
  • Preparation and service of notices
  • Preparation of witness statements
  • Preparing a case for court
  • How to deal with capacity and vulnerability
  • Issuing at court
  • Court procedure and advocacy
  • What to do after the hearing
  • Warrants for possession
  • Committal
  • A review of recent cases

 

Housing Law and Practice – Remedies for anti social behaviour and other tenancy breaches
 

The course is intended to provide housing professionals with a secure understanding of the different types of tenure and what type of security a tenant or licensee has. It goes on to consider different types of breach of tenancy and the range of options which are available for dealing with and preventing them. Attendees will also gain an insight into potential defences which can be raised and an understanding of how appropriate early action can maximise the chances of success.

This course complements our “court preparation and advocacy” course which looks in more detail at gathering evidence to support an application and making an application to the court.

The session will cover:

  • Background – different types of tenancy/licence and introduction to the way they work
  • The options which arise if there is a breach of tenancy
  • Grounds for possession
  • Starter and demoted tenancies – an overview
  • Injunctions
  • Other remedies under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014
  • Notices – preparation and service
  • Public Law Defences and the new Pre-Action Protocol
  • Equality Act 2010

 

Leasehold Service Charges and s20 Consultations
 

This session is aimed at housing professionals who deal with long residential leasehold titles and particularly with maintenance work and service charges. The session concentrates on cases where the consultation requirements in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 arise, and will provide attendees with an understanding of the process involved and how to avoid potential disputes arising.

The session will cover:

  • The triggers for consultation
  • What “qualifying works” are
  • What is a “qualifying long term agreement”
  • Intervening leasehold interests (sub-tenants and other potential parties)
  • The process of consultation itself and how it varies depending on the work and charges proposed.
  • The relevance of public procurement exercises
  • Dispensation
  • Sanctions for non compliance
  • A review of recent cases