Last updated: Tuesday 12 October, 2021
Housing Solicitor (or experienced Housing Advisor) - advice for renters
About the Job
Working Hours: Full-Time (35 hrs pw)
Salary: £36k - £42k depending on experience
We're after an enthusiastic housing lawyer (experienced Housing Adviser also considered - salary commensurate with experience) to join a dedicated team who are all passionate about housing justice.
Advice for Renters is a very special place to work. We are dedicated to giving clients a superlative, wholistic service, where we employ our in-depth knowledge, creativity and dogged persistence to get them the best results. We have a real expertise in, and dedication to helping private tenants, but also assist clients in all tenures, as well as the homeless.
We take the working environment just as seriously. In joining A4R you will be joining a friendly, team, with a collegiate atmosphere, where knowledge and ideas are shared. We are results oriented rather than targets driven. The year we have just lived through has changed the game and we are happy to embrace the change. We are happy to offer working from home or the office or a mixture of both. We are also willing to consider job sharing or someone looking for a part-time role.
If you believe in our values and vision, come on board and help create a more equal housing system, join our loyal and hardworking team with a low staff turnover. Our staff work for us because they believe in the core values and mission of the organisation and our commitment to housing equality. We’re a small organisation with a big voice. This is not just a job; it is a vocation.
You must be a qualified Solicitor with solid experience and an in-depth knowledge of housing law. You will have, a commitment to superlative client care and have great organisational skills and be able to work with minimal supervision, meeting tight deadlines and maintaining high levels of accuracy. You will be IT literate, self-servicing and have a good working knowledge of Legal Aid processes (although you will receive great admin support). You will be able to contribute to the growth and development of Advice for Renters` services.
If you’d like to talk to our CEO Jacky Peacock or Ronald Daley, the Head of our Housing Advice Centre, please call 020 3841 6930 to book a telephone appointment.
Closing date: Monday, 8 November 2021 (12 noon)
Interviews: Week commencing 15 November 2021
Advice for Renters (A4R, formerly known as Advice4Renters) was established over 30 years ago as a campaigning organisation, to campaign for better rights for those living in private rented accommodation. Over the years, we have achieved some major successes. Our advice service grew up alongside our campaigning work, to help private tenants understand and secure their rights.
We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency (“LAA”), to provide specialist housing advice and have had a housing franchise since May 2005. We have a specialist quality mark. Although our main focus is on providing advice and assistance to those in the private rented sector, we provide legal services to tenants in all tenures as well as to the homeless.
We believe that safe, secure housing is a fundamental right. This means that the life outcomes and wellbeing of people living in the Private Rented Sector should not be disadvantaged by housing tenure.
We are driven by our belief that a fairer, well housed society will flourish, and by achieving this we would take a fundamental step towards empowering people to successfully tackle life's challenges as they arise.
To achieve our vision we are tackling housing inequality from many angles, ranging from legal support for vulnerable tenants facing eviction, to lobbying government for the policy change needed to protect tenants in the first place.
We see the person and their potential first and tackle the problems they bring us in that context. To assist us to reach our aim to improve the health, wellbeing and resilience of clients, we continue to develop a range of complementary services including financial inclusion, work to tackle fuel poverty and our mentoring and befriending service.
Our new community-led housing programme aims to change the way we talk about, develop and manage housing, by putting the occupiers back in the driving seat. We are in the process of developing a genuinely scalable, sustainable community led housing model - the first of its kind - by addressing the all too common scalability and funding issues which often affect small scale affordable housing developments.
Over the last 30 years we have supported thousands of tenants in acute housing need, and our influence is seen in housing policy changes since the early 90’s. In turn our high standards are driven by on-going review and improvement based on listening and learning from our beneficiaries, and the direct experience of our clients in the private rented sector and our staff who manage their cases.
Advice for Renters aims to be an organisation where people come before profits. This means that targets are a means to an end, the continuation of our ability to provide a high quality, holistic advice service, and not an end in themselves. We are an organisation where a good work/life balance is positively encouraged.
You will be joining a team of three Housing Lawyers with associated support staff. Advice for Renters provides a supportive, friendly and collaborative working environment.
MAIN PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE JOB
We are seeking a full-time Senior Housing Solicitor to join our small, friendly team.
Applicants should have a minimum of five years’ experience as a practising solicitor and significant experience of the LAA Contract Category in housing.
The role is to provide legal advice and legal services to A4R’s clients under the legal help and legal aid schemes. You will also act for privately paying clients, and clients of other A4R projects. It is not essential, but will be advantageous if you have experience of/are qualified as a category supervisor in Welfare Benefits.
You will be required to advise on all aspects of housing/landlord and tenant law. You may also be required to advise on other areas of law (e.g. welfare benefits), after training, if necessary.
The post holder will have a valid practising certificate (or be entitled to apply to the SRA for one) and should able to meet the Legal Aid Agency’s Housing and Debt supervisor standard after meeting the required hours. You will be required to comply with the LAA Specialist Quality Mark casework standards.
We are seeking a candidate who can offer 35 hours per week. Job share will be considered.
The post holder will be based at our office in Kilburn (Brent) – with some hybrid office/home working if preferred.
The full-time salary is £36,000 to £42,000 depending on experience and qualifications.
The position is permanent.
DUTIES AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
Will include but are not limited to:
▪ Initial assessment of client’s eligibility for legal aid or suitability for other A4R projects;
▪ Interviewing clients to take instructions and carrying out all follow-up case work
▪ advising clients on the law and legal issues relating to their case;
▪ drafting documents, letters and agreements tailored to the client's individual needs;
▪ researching and analysing documents and case law to ensure the accuracy of advice and procedure;
▪ negotiating on the client’s behalf;
▪ acting on behalf of clients in disputes and representing them in court, if necessary;
▪ instructing barristers or specialist advocates to appear in court for the client in complex disputes;
▪ instructing experts;
▪ preparing papers for court;
▪ team working;
▪ supervising and delegating work to support staff and volunteers as appropriate;
▪ checking all documentation prior to signing and implementing;
▪ administrative duties, e.g. updating case management records so that charges for work can be calculated and billing completed and statistical information collated;
▪ taking referrals from other firms of solicitors and advice agencies;
▪ billing files promptly at the conclusion of each case
▪ contributing to the development of A4R and the promotion of A4R to potential clients, external partners and existing and potential funders
▪ Be flexible within the broad remit of the post and carry out other duties that may arise, develop or be assigned
The post is self-supporting
Occasional attendance at evening meetings and training sessions may be required.
You may also be required to contribute to A4R’s Public Legal Education training in renters’ rights.
You will be proactive in keeping up to date with developments in the law and practice and complying with the SRA CPD requirements.
A4R is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion. We encourage qualified candidates from a wide array of backgrounds to apply because we know that it’s the differences in our people that make the difference to our performance.
This job description does not form part of your contract of employment and can be amended from time to time as the needs of the organisation require.