Housing Rights and Women – online legal education course

As part of the Fighting Precarious Housing programme, funded by Trust for London and the Bar Standards Board, we are currently running an online public legal education course on Housing Rights and Women. The course was originally due to take place at the wonderful Crossroads Women’s Centre. However Covid-19 restrictions now mean that we have adapted the  course to run online instead. 

The course consists of six, weekly videos on different aspects of housing law, with a particular focus on the needs of women. The videos are released every Tuesday. The videos are in a Q&A format with a housing legal specialist. They are accompanied by a weekly Zoom webinar for the participants who originally signed up to the in-person course. The webinars focus on practice exercises and skills and confidence building, as well as providing an opportunity to ask questions of one of the brilliant trainers who are working with us on this course.

This page will be updated weekly to keep a record of all of our videos and webinars in one place. You can also find all the videoson the Housing Rights and Women playlist on our YouTube channel

Here we will also share some of the feedback we receive as the course goes along and track the development of our skills in delivering online training – a new and exciting challenge for the team!

Week one: Tenancies and other housing arrangements

On Saturday 2nd May we held our first webinar on Tenancies and other housing arrangements, following the release of the video (above). We received excellent feedback and had 22 participants (no small feat for a Saturday morning!) Our trainer, Deirdre Forster, was particularly praised by participants for her excellent input, manner, and information sharing.

Some feedback from participants:

“Thanks for the session yesterday – was excellent!” 

“It was a very interesting and educational session, Thank You. Many thanks to Deirdre as well.”

“Thanks, that was a really helpful session!”

Week two: Dealing with Section 21 Evictions

We slightly altered the structure of the course so that week two looked at Section 21 Evictions and week three will look at Dealing with poor housing conditions. This was due to the availability of our trainers. Our trainer for Section 21 evictions, David Thomas, had an excellent suggestion for making the videos as engaging as possible by shifting between the presentation content and our discussion throughout the video, as well as using a virtual “pen” to annotate the slides. This also meant we quickly had to improve our video editing skills, which was an exciting challenge!

The webinar was extremely well attended again, with 21 participants and several apologies due to the bank holiday weekend so we are so far experiencing a great retention rate! People asked engaging and interesting questions and the exercises were dynamic and thoughtful. We received generally excellent feedback once again.

One particular piece of feedback that deserves to be quoted in full comes from a member of London Renters Union. We have three members of the union participating in the course. This is what she said:

The Law for Life course has been absolutely wonderful. we have shared the info videos and resources widely across our union teams and branches and we are ensuring to pass the knowledge on.

We have been learning such a huge amount – the facilitation and presentation is extremely well managed and we all feel welcome and informed. All my questions have been answered! This is such a fantastic way of learning – law is so complicated it doesn’t always work to find information on google searches – you have to hear about experience form someone who has made legal challenges themselves.

This course has made me feel much more confident going forwards . Sometimes knowing a key piece of information can be the difference between someone keeping their home or becoming homeless. 
Thank you so much!

Week three: How to deal with poor quality housing and repairs

Session three: how to deal with poor housing conditions and repairs was originally meant to be the second session but we changed the order. It was recorded second, before we changed our recording style to be more dynamic. It covers a lot of important issues around how to deal with a repair issue in your rented home. It was filmed with Deirdre Forster, who also recorded session one with us and who worked with us on the webinar the following Saturday.

The webinar went extremely well, we had 21 participants and one apology, which is excellent! The exercises and activities ran smoothly and participants were encouraged to ask their own questions relating to the topic and any cases they personally came across.

Some feedback from participants:

It was good seeing everyone again. Thank you to Rowan, Francesca and Deirdre. SO helpful as always.

Thanks all for another great session! Look forward to seeing you all and learning more next week.

Thanks again Deirdre et al, amazing insight! Keep up the good work everyone!

Week four: Benefits to cover your rent and other expenses during Covid-19

We had another great turn out for session four of the course, with 19 participants (not bad for a bank holiday weekend!). We had lively and in-depth discussion on what is arguably one of the hardest topics we cover – especially since benefits keep changing so fast at the moment.

This session we worked with our excellent expert benefits trainer, Michael Chambers, who we had previously worked with in our course on housing rights for people with complex needs.

A quick note on this session: although the video was accurate at the time it was published, due to the fast changing rules and regulations around benefits we do encourage you to always double check with official sources for the most recent rules.

Some feedback from participants:

Thank you for another amazing session and lovely having you here Michael

Thank you Michael and everyone! Have a great bank holiday

Thanks all see you next week great session!!!

Huge thanks for another great session! Look forward to seeing you all next week x

Week five: Dealing with local authorities in the context of homelessness

The workshop on dealing with local authorities was particularly engaging and touching as we dealt with some heavy issues such as seeking housing help from the council as a survivor of domestic abuse. Participants shared their own experiences of council gatekeeping practices and how to overcome them. We learned a lot from our participants as well as from our excellent legal trainer, David Thomas. Confidence and knowing how to assert your rights is almost as important as knowing the law! This session really demonstrated that. Thanks to the Bar Standards Board for funding this session.

Some feedback from participants:

Thank you David and everyone – I’ve learnt so much!

Thanks everyone!! see you next week, great work all

Thank you David, LfL, for another interesting session.

Thank you everyone been really interesting

Thanks for another great session!

Week six: Living in temporary accommodation

Our final session had 22 participants – the same amount as our very first, which was remarkable. A complicated subject was handled brilliantly by our participants. Some personal stories were shared alongside the case studies and examples we produced for the training. David Thomas, our trainer, answered questions and offered useful advice at every stage. By the end of the session there was a real sense of solidarity between everyone.

Seeing the same faces every Saturday for six weeks, learning their stories, and building trust has been a wonderful experience. Several participants wish to stay in contact and continue to work together and build strength into the fight for decent housing. This is reflected in some of the feedback we received for this session and the whole course:

Thank you for such fantastic and well thought out sessions. So useful and helpful on a personal and social level

Thank you so much .It has been so good and very well organised.

Thank you so much guys its been an absolute pleasure

Thanks, brilliant course and so valuable!! Lovely to ‘meet’ you all too

Thank you so much, this has been invaluable! Lovely to meet everyone

Thank you very much, it has been really enjoyable.

huge thanks to all. Its been great! and very keen for some follow up sessions together.

Published: 7 May 2020

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