LEGAL EAGLE: Legal Aid for housing issues

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It is a common misconception that when the government brought in cuts to legal aid in 2013, the cuts wiped out access to free legal advice about all housing issues.

Although there were dramatic cuts to housing law issues, a number of areas still remain in scope.

A report published by Amnesty International this week shows how deep the cuts to legal aid are, with many people being unable to access legal advice.

Specialist legal advice is key, particularly when it concerns the roof over your head.

Under the rules brought into force in 2013, tenants can still obtain free legal advice about the following housing issues:

* Homelessness.

* Threatened possession proceedings.

* Written notice of possession, including a S21 and S8 notice.

* Applications to Court for a Possession Order, including warrants of eviction.

* Applications to re-possess a mortgaged home.

* Unlawful eviction – where you have been forced to leave your home when the landlord has not followed the correct procedure.

* Antisocial behaviour orders.

* Disrepair (although this is limited).

To qualify for legal advice you must be financially eligible; this means that your income must not be over a limit set by the Legal Aid Agency.

You must also have capital (e.g. money in your bank account) below a set limit.

If you are in receipt of a state benefit, or work part-time, you are likely to be financially eligible.

Here at David Gray Solicitors we will always assess your financially eligibly for legal aid and let you know when we first speak to you whether you will be eligible for legal aid.

Getting advice early is key; housing is a complex area of law and a solicitor who is instructed early can often take steps to advise you on your legal rights, consider any defence you have and negotiate with the landlord for you.

Housing issues can be extremely daunting, particularly the prospect of losing your home.

In possession proceedings, the Courts often set strict timescales for you to act, so it is important that you access specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

* David Gray Solicitors have the only top tier team in the area recognised in the Legal 500, the “who’s who of the legal world”, for the work they do for tenants.

Their solicitors specialise in housing law and can offer same day and urgent appointments where necessary at all local courts.

Call now on 0191 243 8147 or visit the website, where you can chat live.