During the UK’s Spring lockdown, Hertfordshire Law Clinic offered free advice to tenants, both members of the public and students, on housing issues. Although the Government had introduced emergency measures intended to protect tenants from eviction at a time when people should be staying at home as much as possible, there was confusion as to rights. Many people have lost their jobs in retail, catering and other sectors impacted by social distancing and lockdown and were facing difficulty paying for rent. Many students in rented accommodation had also returned home to assist in caring for their family, or to obtain support for themselves during self-isolation.
- The University teamed up with leading housing solicitors, including Cheryl Gaunt from Just for Kids Law and Ruth Camp from Shelter.
- The Law Clinic has been giving free legal advice to members of the public since October 2019 in several areas of law including family and employment law.
- When the University moved to online tuition in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hertfordshire Law Clinic also moved online to ensure continuous support for the local community at this difficult time.
- Hertfordshire Law Clinic students shadow the solicitor giving verbal advice to the tenant via video conferencing. This allows the students to gain valuable experience of how to quickly ascertain the needs of a new client and clearly explain their options.
Diana Kirsch, Director of Hertfordshire Law Clinic, commented: “We are really pleased to be able to provide free housing advice during this difficult time when many people will be struggling financially. Since we launched two weeks ago, we have been overwhelmed with enquiries. We are very grateful to Cheryl Gaunt and Ruth Camp for helping us set up this desperately needed new service.”
Cheryl Gaunt, Housing Solicitor at Just for Kids Law commented: “This is a vital service for residents of Hertfordshire, where legal aid is scarce and it is almost impossible to get free housing advice. For people confused about their rights, struggling to pay their rent or worried about eviction, this service will offer essential advice and support.”
For further information about Hertfordshire Law Clinic visit their website.