As we look forward to our Annual Housing Day on 2 October we thought this would be a good time to produce a newsletter and reflect on the year just gone, both in terms of the Housing Team at Cornerstone Barristers and, more generally, the national picture.
Nationally, of course, we have another housing minister, Esther McVey, the 9th in nine years. Early indications are that the promotion of home ownership and routes into it will continue, the Minister having said at the recent RESI 2019 Conference:
"Government is backing the industry with investment and interventions, and that is to make home ownership a reality, because it is a dream the majority of the general public still has...Why it's about having a stake in society, it's about security, it's about aspiration. It is actually about freedom, financial security and it's about safety for your family."
This included a potential development of the shared ownership programme to allow more people to take part in it:
"This is not about helping someone make a profit – it is taking shared ownership and making it more accessible for working families... We're going to want to expand shared ownership and support it in different ways and take out what has been the difficulties of that."
We also have seen plans to remove section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, and the continued and increasing impact of two pieces of legislation in particular - the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
As for the Team, it has been an extremely busy year as always, and for Ranjit Bhose QC, Kelvin Rutledge QC, Kuljit Bhogal, Dean Underwood, Riccardo Calzavara and both of us there is a visual record of this! You can watch us in Court of Appeal in Dulgheriu & Ortova v LB Ealing; Adesotu v LB Lewisham, TW & Ors v LB Hillingdon and Salix Homes v Mantato.
It has also been a year of great achievements for our members: in July Ben Du Feu was appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel, and in May three members of the Housing Team were appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission panel of counsel: Matt Lewin, Riccardo Calzavara and Tara O'Leary, together with our talented colleague Estelle Dehon.
We are also very pleased to announce that two additional members will join the Team shortly as tenants: Isabella Buono and Rowan Clapp. Very well done and a warm welcome to them both.
We have run a very full seminar programme in 2019 and have additionally often provided bespoke training sessions both in-house and at clients' offices or other venues. To give three examples of the former we ran at chambers:
This is a good opportunity to put on record our thanks to our amazing staff without whom we simply could not manage - from an incredible clerking team led by Elliot to a wonderful new Chief Executive in Clare Bello; from an always impressive reception team led by Jake to the financial set-up led by Premila; and that's not forgetting the inspirational communications and marketing work led by Carolina. People often say we couldn't do it without you but repetition does not make it any less true. Thank you.
Finally, thank you to all our clients. It really is a team effort and we are always ready to learn and improve a service which we hope is already first-class.