Local Government and Social Housing
Brynmor is recognised as a leading barrister in the fields of local government and social housing law. Chambers and Partners describes him as “a well-regarded junior experienced in the handling of local authorities powers, education, social housing and licensing matters. He acts for local authorities both in the North and across the UK. Chambers and Partners has also said that Brynmor has “a superb analytical brain and superb judgement”, “a huge, in-depth knowledge of social housing” and “a fantastic understanding of housing law and social landlords”. The Legal 500 similarly describes him as having a “highly analytical mind” and say he is “popular with clients due to his unflappable and common sense approach”.
Brynmor is part of Exchange’s local government and social housing team that represents social landlords and local authorities in the most challenging cases. He achieves successful outcomes in difficult litigation. Brynmor has a busy advisory practice and is adept at identifying practical and legal solutions to the most difficult problems facing local authorities.
Brynmor is regularly instructed by local authorities, housing associations and other providers of social housing. He is also a member of the Attorney General’s B Panel of Counsel, which enables him to represent and advise central government departments.
Brynmor’s is able to advise on the broad range of issues facing local authorities and social landlords and has particular expertise in relation to:
- Property law disputes including residential and commercial landlord and tenant and real property issues.
- Housing management, landlord and tenant law and possession proceedings.
- Social housing fraud, subletting and non-occupation.
- Housing standards, disrepair and environmental protection proceedings.
- Anti-social behaviour (including injunctions and committals)
- Homelessness, s. 204 appeals and related issues of immigration and EU law.
- Judicial review, public law and human rights challenges including challenges to contracting out arrangements and delegated decision-making.
- Equalities and discrimination law and cases involving litigants lacking mental capacity.
Brynmor has helped to develop the Social Housing Law Association in the North. He is also available to offer bespoke training and seminars to clients in all of his specialist areas.
Local Government and Social Housing Cases
Brynmor has recently appeared in a number of high profile cases involving social landlords, including:
- Scarborough BC v Westwood (MAN/36UG/HSE/2019/0007, February 2020): Brynmor represented the local authority in securing a rent repayment order against the landlord under the Housing and Planing Act 2016 due to the landlord’s failure to obtain a licence in accordance with the council’s selective licensing regime.
- Lynn v Leeds City Council (MAN/00DA/HNA/2019/0034, July 2019): Brynmor represented the local authority in an appeal against its decision to impose a civil penalty in relation to a landlord’s breach of an improvement notice under the Housing Act 2004.
- St Albans City and District Council v Dell (Milton Keynes County Court): Brynmor acted for the local authority in this claim for possession on the basis of a failure to occupy a property as an only or principal home. The trial of the claim was spread over 2 weeks due to the defendant’s cognitive impairment. Notwithstanding restrictions on how cross examination could take place, Brynmor was able to satisfy the Court that the defendant was not telling the truth.
- Joy Smith v Mohammed Riaz Khan  EWCA Civ 1137: established the correct approach to general damages for trespass in unlawful eviction cases. The Court emphasised that damages run until the evicted tenant’s right to possession was actually terminated (not to the date when it could lawfully have been terminated). The Court also considered the appropriate rate of damages and the relevance of the rent and comparator cases. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/1137.html
- Smith v London Borough of Haringey  EWCA Civ 1624: Brynmor acted for the London Borough of Haringey in this appeal concerning the assessment of vulnerability for the purposes of local authorities’ duties to the homeless. The authority successfully resisted a wide-ranging challenge to the contracting out of homeless decision-making functions. The Court of Appeal expressed strong doubts as to whether such challenges could be made in the context of a s. 204 appeal. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/1624.html
- Esposito v London Borough of Camden QBD (Admin) (May J) 31/07/2017: Brynmor was junior counsel for Camden LBC and successfully resisted a grant of urgent injunctive relief by residents of a group of tower blocks. This case addressed some of the issues facing social landlords following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. https://www.lawtel.com/UK/FullText/PT8481955QBD(Admin).pdf
- Aslamie v London & Quadrant Housing Trust  EWHC (Admin) 2396: Brynmor successfully defended the housing trust in this judicial review relating to the withholding of consent to an assignment.
- Southward Housing Co-operative v Walker & Hay, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Intervening  EWHC 1615 (Ch): Brynmor successfully acted for the co-operative landlord in obtaining a possession order. The judgment of Hildyard J addressed the implications of the Supreme Court decision in Mexfield v Berrisford and the application of public law and human rights principles to fully mutual landlords. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2015/1615.html
- Deptford Housing Co-operative v Goze (Central London County Court): successfully obtained for possession for a housing co-operative at trial where the Defendant tenant sought to rely on Mexfield and claim a tenancy of an uncertain term.
- Ndomba v Estuary Housing: obtained the dismissal of a private prosecution under s. 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and obtained a rare order for costs in favour of the defendant landlord.
- London Borough of Southwark v Ofogba (Court of Appeal) (unreported): junior counsel for the local authority in an appeal relating to a possession claim and a defence based on the regulation of water re-sale.