Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

We have a limited number of staff working in the office, with most working at home. You can contact us by phone on: 0208 863 4355 weekdays from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm or email us at: info@harrowlawcentre.org.uk

We will only meet clients in the offices of Harrow Law Centre in exceptional circumstancesWe are constantly reviewing our policies as health and safety advice changes. 

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New research exposes court failings during pandemic

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has published a detailed article looking at how tenants who have suffered financially during the pandemic are losing their homes in a matter of minutes, with judges often powerless to prevent evictions being ordered.

If you are worried about an eviction notice, contact us. We will do our best to advise you or tell you where you can get help if we cannot take on your case.

Possession case studies

Harrow Law Centre has been continuing to assist tenants through the pandemic. Here are two summaries of recent cases where our solicitors were able to help people stay in their homes.

Case 1: SF

SF was an Uber driver who lived with his wife and three children in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Harrow. SF initially instructed Harrow Law Centre in February 2020 after his landlord had issued a possession claim at Watford County Court because of rent arrears. SF had initial advice from a Duty Solicitor from Shelter at a first hearing and required a Legal Aid Solicitor to defend the claim. He had fallen into rent arrears due to the six weeks it takes to receive your first Universal Credit payment. In addition, he had incurred over £800 on replacing a boiler after the landlord had failed to repair it. SF’s finances had also suffered due to the absence of nightlife during the pandemic, which significantly reduced his income.

HLC instructed a surveyor to inspect SF’s property and the defended the possession claim based on the surveyor’s report, which indicated that there had been issues relating to the boiler, defective windows and a water tank in the loft (which was not covered properly posing a health risk). SF also applied to Harrow Council for a discretionary housing payment, which cleared several thousand pounds of the arrears. After this payment, the landlord agreed to end court proceedings, enabling SF and his family to remain at the property.

Case 2: SS

SS was a waiter and father of two who had lived with his wife and children in the same property in Brent since 2009. In 2019 SS’s landlord started a claim to recover possession of the property under section 21, which is a form of no-fault eviction. (The Government has pledged to scrap this but so far have delayed in doing so.) Section 21 is a no-fault procedure because it permits the landlord to recover possession where the tenant has not breached the tenancy agreement. A landlord is, however, required to comply with numerous legal requirements (which most clients are unaware of), including the provision of a valid gas safety certificate, the government ‘How to Rent’ booklet and protection of the tenancy deposit (including specific information about the deposit). As a waiter, SS was furloughed during the pandemic but managed to maintain rent payments so there were no arrears.

When SS instructed HLC it transpired that SS’s tenancy deposit was not protected and that the gas safety certificate had expired. HLC filed a defence with Willesden County Court on this bases following which the landlord did not pursue his claim further. SS was delighted with the outcome.

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Afghanistan

Harrow Law Centre has been assisting Afghan nationals to secure asylum in the UK since we opened our doors eleven years ago. We are very concerned about the current situation and will continue doing all we can to assist those fleeing persecution.

If you are a non-British national in Afghanistan, or are the family member of a non-British national in Afghanistan, consult the Government website: Support for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

See also Home Office Guidance on the Afghan Citizen resettlement scheme: Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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Harrow Law Centre’s Menu of Services

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Recognising exploitation and understanding your rights: online workshop for young people

Sign up here

Sign up here or scan the QR code.

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New Online Drop in Service for young people under 25

Click here to acess the online drop in

Click here to access the drop in form, or scan the QR code

What is this?
This is a free online service for children and young people.
You can ask us questions about your rights (for example during a protest or if you are stopped and searched) or if you’re going through something and you want to know if we can help.
If we can’t answer your questions ourselves we’ll be sure to put you in touch with an organisation that can help.

This is a completely new service so if there is something we can do better please let us know!

Who is it for?
This is for children and young people under 25. If you are over 25 please use our contact form on our website.

When will we respond to you?
This service is monitored every weekday and we try to respond to requests within 72 hours.

Who are we?
We are a team of lawyers and legal advisors who are really passionate about helping people to stand up for their rights. We work mostly with people living in Harrow and the surrounding areas.
We help clients to understand their rights (advising) and stand up for our clients in negotiations or in court to protect their rights (legal representation).

How will we respond?
You can chose. If you want us to email or call you, put your contact details in the form. If you don’t want us to contact you and you prefer to be anonymous, we will respond to your question in a blog post here.

We assume that you consent to us holding your personal data when you contact us, you have the right to request to withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us. Check out our Data Privacy Notice on our website.

Thanks to the Legal Education Foundation for their support.

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Worried about eviction, find out more about illegal evictions here:

Thanks to the Legal Education Foundation for making this blog possible.

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Recognising Exploitation

Recognising the signs of exploitation.

Poster download

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Police Powers: Online workshop 28 July 2020

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Universal Credit: how to challenge a decision

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Landlord trying to kick you out? We might be able to help.

Download available here.

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