James has an extensive and well-established practice in landlord & tenant law, covering both residential and commercial leases including disrepair and dilapidations, nuisance, anti-social behaviour, unlawful sub-letting, lease renewals and claims for new leases under the Leasehold Reform, Housing & Urban Development Act 1993, rent reviews, service charge disputes (including declaratory relief), forfeiture and all claims for possession of land. He represents private individuals, commercial organisations, registered providers of housing and local authorities.
Throughout his career he has dealt with all aspects of litigation arising out of the Housing Acts of 1985 and 1988, claims to succession to tenancies and the grounds for possession under both acts. This includes claims based on alleged breaches of the tenancy agreement and also “no-fault” grounds for possession such as the termination of assured shorthold tenancies under the section 21 procedure. He has also successfully pursued public sector tenants under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2014, securing significant financial compensation.
James has particular expertise in all disputes arising out of the 2004 tenancy deposit protection legislation both as originally enacted and after amendment under the Localism Act 2011 and the Deregulation Act 2015, having appeared in a number of leading cases in this area.
An experienced commercial property advocate, James regularly represents clients in claims and applications under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. In particular, James has a wide experience of lease renewal claims (acting both for landlords and tenants), rent reviews and dilapidations disputes.
James is a regular speaker at conferences and frequently gives in-house seminars to solicitors and housing professionals. He is an advisory editor to RICS Isurv Residential, and edits the Service Charges material on the Isurv web site.
James has recently been dealing with a number of cases arising out of the redevelopment under the Decent Homes initiative of various south London social housing estates. He has dealt with various disputes in which tenants have sought to rely on the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 either to defeat possession claims or to obtain damages against landlords and property owners. He has a continuing flow of cases relating to tenancy deposit protection legislation.
Section 21 notices
Spencer v Taylor  UKSC 0068
James represented the landlord in drafting a response to the tenant’s application for permission to bring a second appeal. The Supreme Court refused permission for the reasons James had advanced.
Johnson v Old  EWCA Civ 415  HLR 27
James satisfied the Court of Appeal that rent paid in advance was not equivalent to a security deposit
Potts v Densley & Pays  EWHC 1144 (QB),  1 WLR 1204,  L&TR 31
Whether the court had any discretion as to whether or not to apply the statutory penalty und ers.214(4) Housing Act 2004.
Draycott v Hannells  EWHC 217 (QB)  1 WLR 1606,  3 All ER 411,  HLR 27,  L&TR 12
The first case testing the tenancy deposit provisions are originally enacted. James successfully established that a landlord who complied with the deposit protection requirements before a tenant’s claim was brought could escape the statutory penalties in s.214.
See: A tenant’s money made safer? 2010 EG 1024 p.108-110
Niazi v van der Loo  EWCA Civ 53,  1 WLR 1254  HLR 34
Liability of landlord where he himself is a leaseholder and the defect occurs outside the demised premises
Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 s.30(1)(a) and 30(1)(c)
Youssefi v Mussellwhite  EWCA Civ 885,  2 P&CR 14,  3 EGLR 22
Whether a tenant’s breach of a “keep open” covenant and refusal to grant access to the landlord could justify a refusal of a new tenancy under the 1954 Act even where the landlord could show no financial losses
See “Clarifying the “ought not to be” test: Sol Jo 30.9.14 p.5