Housing Condition Conference 2024


The Legal Futures Housing Condition Conference returns to Manchester after last year’s sold-out event for a day packed with vital updates for practitioners.

£199.00 ex VAT

Early Bird Price until 23rd February 2024.
Full Price: £245.00  ex VAT.

Event Details

Date: 18th April 2024 ( 09:15 – 16:30 )

Venue: etc Venues, Manchester

Phone: 020 3567 1207

Email: conference@legalfutures.co.uk


For a snapshot on the state of housing conditions in the UK, look no further than the Housing Ombudsman’s Annual Complaints Review, which last October revealed a sharp increase of severe maladministration findings, as individual performance reports were published for 163 landlords where the ombudsman made most findings.

“Together, they paint a challenging picture of social housing complaints which has seen a huge spike due to poor property conditions, legislative changes, media attention and the inquest into the death of Awaab Ishak,” it said.

This is the backdrop against which the Legal Futures Housing Condition Conference returns to Manchester after last year’s sold-out event for a day packed with vital updates for practitioners.

We will take a deep dive into the Ombudsman’s findings before hearing about the launch of the Housing Condition Strategy Group and what the Court of Appeal’s landmark ruling in Churchill means for ADR in these cases.

Delegates will also learn about legislative reform – such as regulations implementing Awaab’s Law and the Renters (Reform) Bill – how to overcome disclosure problems, and how vulnerability affects costs claims in housing cases. We will finish with a defendant lawyer giving the view from the other side and how both can best work together for a satisfactory outcome.


**Mutiple Ticket Discount: Book two or more tickets and get 15% off. Enter “disc15” in the coupon code at checkout.**



Registration and refreshments from 9.15 until 10am


The Housing Ombudsman

The Housing Ombudsman’s annual review last year revealed that it received over 5,000 complaints for the first time, a 28% rise, and made a remarkable 323% more findings of severe maladministration. It said the data showed “a fundamental gap between some of the services landlords deliver and the reasonable expectations of their residents”. We will hear about the real pain points identified by the Ombudsman, other significant developments – such as its new powers to issue wider orders under the Social Housing Regulation Act – and where the Ombudsman sees lawyers having a role in the process of dealing with housing condition issues.

Speaker (remote):
Victoria King, Sector Learning and Development Lead, Housing Ombudsman Service


Lessons from the Housing Ombudsman’s decisions

The Housing Ombudsman’s decisions provide a rich resource for lawyers looking to understand trends and standards in social housing complaints, with last year seeing an increase in maladministration findings where service requests were not handled reasonably and a decrease in findings of no fault. Combined, this meant that more than half of complaints were upheld for the first time. Property condition was the biggest category of cases, with the failure rate increasing dramatically to 54%, and to 52% for health and safety complaints. Paul Lloyd will delve into the data to highlight the key lessons for practitioners.

Paul Lloyd, Partner, Capsticks


Refreshments Break


Housing claims and costs post 1 October 2023 and vulnerable claimants

Whilst the October 2023 fixed recoverable costs reforms directly excluded housing condition claims (and the intention is for those claims to remain excluded until at least early 2025), those reforms still seem to have created unintended consequences for legal practitioners operating in this area, including seemingly rendering the mechanisms provided for by Birmingham City Council v Lee [2008] EWCA Civ 891 – concerning claimant’s costs incurred while following the disrepair pre-action protocol – no longer effective. Vulnerability also continues to be a central feature of claimants bringing housing conditions claims, which directly impacts the reasonableness, proportionality and recoverability of legal costs. Nick McDonnell will explain all.

Nick McDonnell, Director and Costs Lawyer, Kain Knight


The Housing Condition Strategy Group

Chaired by Jonathan Milner, this new 12-person group is made up of experts, solicitors and barristers from both the defendant and claimant side, including representation from the Expert Witness Institute. The aim of the group is to tackle and consider issues and concern within this area of law from an expert witness perspective, in turn publishing best practice guidance arrived at by a collaborative non-partisan approach. In this session, Jon and Jamie will seek views on where its focus should be and how the sector can influence its work.

Jonathan Milner MRICS, RICS Governing Council Residential Global Strategy
Jamie Paterson FRICS, Managing Director, Paterson Associates


Networking Lunch


Legislative and other reform impacting housing condition cases

The law around housing condition cases continues to change. The editor of the Nearly Legal blog will discuss the outcome of the Churchill case – in which he represented the Housing Law Practitioners Association – and its impact on ADR, regulations implementing Awaab’s Law, and the latest state of play with the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Giles Peaker, Partner, Anthony Gold


Making the best use of mediation

In the wake of the Churchill ruling, practitioners need to ensure they fully understand the mediation process. This session will give practical advice on using mediation, such as how best to suggest the service to clients, the approach of local authorities and housing associations, and the benefits and pitfalls of mediation, referring to actual case studies.

Alice Holtom, Head of Housing, Abbotts Martin Solicitors; Partner, Mediate Property


Refreshments Break


Raffle Draw in support of Shelter


The importance of disclosure to all parties and the expert

This session will examine the issues around disclosure in the pre-action protocol, the Civil Justice Council guidelines, why they are there and what happens if they are not followed. The speakers will also discuss how to identify and deal with suspicious gaps in disclosure, and the best methods to record decisions at key stages during the preparation of the case.

Chris Lackner, Director, SBW Law
Julie Twist, Managing Director, Diversify Law


The view from the defence

It is vital that claimant representatives understand the defendant mindset when bringing claims. After setting out his position so effectively at last year’s conference, Matthew Wilson is back to outline a defendant’s view of the conduct of claims and how he sees the market evolving.

Matthew Wilson, Partner, Clarke Willmott


Conference closes


Victoria King, Sector Learning and Development Lead, Housing Ombudsman Servic

Andy Cullwick

Victoria is part of the team which delivers the Housing Ombudsman Service’s Centre for Learning, which shares learning from complaints and drives positive complaint handling across the sector. The function also provides insight into service provision from themes and trends in complaints to facilitate sector learning and a positive complaints culture for landlords and governance

Paul Lloyd, Partner, Capsticks

Andy Cullwick

Paul has over 20 years’ experience advising social housing providers on the full remit of their interactions with residents, the regulator and stakeholders. He is regularly called upon to advise on complex and high visibility cases. Paul employs a direct approach with housing management teams, advising on anti-social behaviours, tenancy fraud, human rights issues and land and service charge cases. He regularly advises commercial heavyweights, regional front-runners, and north-east based associations

Julie Twist, Managing Director, Diversify Law

Andy Cullwick

Julie Twist retired from partnership with Coyne Learmonth in 2013 where she had been responsible for business growth and development in their RTA and credit hire departments. Over the following six years she built up her consulting network to help law firms grow and diversify into other areas. Julie runs a training business called Diversify Law which helps law firms set up new departments and provides training in all aspects of Housing Condition work.

Jonathan Milner MRICS, RICS Governing Council Residential Global Strategy

Andy Cullwick

Jonathan is a chartered surveyor and RICS registered valuer with over 20 year’s experience in residential survey and valuation. Formerly employed as area and regional surveyor with e.surv, Valunation and Broadbent and Co, he is the Technical Director for Syderek Survey Solutions and its parent company The Moving Portal, as well as non-executive director of Paisley Surveyors consultancy and Paterson Associates. His main area of responsibility is within survey and valuation risk and compliance.

Jamie Paterson FCInstCES FRICS, Managing Director, Paterson Associates

Andy Cullwick

Jamie is one of the foremost experts in the country in the field of housing disrepair, housing condition, and construction quantum disputes. A qualified quantity surveyor, he is a Fellow of both the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors as well as being a Member of the Expert Witness Institute. Jamie is a major advocate on the adoption and adherence of chartered surveyors to the expectations set out in the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act of 2018. Jamie set up Paterson Associates in 2019 and has overseen its growth to become one of the leading providers in expert witness services to the legal sector in housing condition cases.

Giles Peaker, Partner, Anthony Gold

Andy Cullwick

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the housing team at Anthony Gold Solicitors. He has practiced in housing law since 2006 and was housing lawyer of 2018 in the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. Giles has acted in cases at all levels of the English Courts, up to the Supreme Court and is co-author of ‘Housing Conditions: Tenants Rights’ (LAG 2019). Giles was part of the team for Karen Buck MP’s private member’s bill that became the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

Alice Holtom, Head of Housing, Abbotts Martin Solicitors; Partner, Mediate Property

Andy Cullwick

Alice Holtom is a non-practicing barrister and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, boasting over two decades of experience in the housing sector. Alice has contributed her expertise to various sectors, including local government, private law firms, housing associations and third sector organisations. Her experience spans all aspects of housing law including property management, landlord and tenant disputes (including but not exclusively possession and disrepair), homelessness and housing support, acting on behalf of both claimants and defendants. Currently, Alice divides her time between leading the housing department at the legal aid firm Abbotts Martin Solicitors, overseeing a small property portfolio, and facilitating mediation at Mediate Property.

Nick McDonnell, Director, Kain Knight

Andy Cullwick

Nick graduated from Cambridge University in 1998 and subsequently went into the law practising civil litigation. He qualified as a costs lawyer in 2010, and has become a well-respected expert in his field, conducting high-value and complex costs matters, managing a costs business, and delivering technical and practical training to solicitors. His notable Court of Appeal cases include Belsner v CAM Legal Services Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 1387 and West & Demouilpied v Stockport NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWCA Civ 1220.

Matthew Wilson, Partner, Clarke Willmott

Andy Cullwick

Mathew advises social landlords on contentious and non-contentious housing and asset management matters with a particular focus on housing conditions claims. He has worked within the social housing sector for 16 years and leads Clarke Willmott’s asset management team. He has extensive experience of handling claims relating to the condition of properties including standalone disrepair claims, disrepair counterclaims, claims surrounding the fitness of a property for habitation and prosecutions raised on grounds of prejudice to health. He has unrivalled experience of housing conditions claims and has successfully defended countless cases at trial. Matthew has developed an in-depth understanding of building pathology which provides a unique ability to formulate defences to claims.


etc Venues
11 Portland Street – use the dedicated entrance on Minshull Street
Manchester M1 3HU

How to get to the conference

Travelling by train

The nearest station is Manchester Piccadilly station (5 minute walk)
Manchester Victoria station (15 minute walk)

Travelling by bus and tram

Piccadilly Gardens (2 minute walk)

Travelling by car

The nearest car parks are:

Manchester Minshull Street (operated by SIP) – Minshull Street, M1 3ED
Manchester Piccadilly Gardens (operated by Manchester City Council) – Chatham Street, M1 3AY
Manchester Chorlton Street (operated by NCP) – Chorlton Street, M1 3FY


Headline Sponsor


Ticket Pricing

Early Bird Rate (until 23 February): £199 + vat

Standard Rate (from 24 February): £245 + vat

Mutiple Ticket Discount: Book two or more tickets and get 15% off. Enter “disc15” in the coupon code at checkout.

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