I started off as a teenager working in a 1,200 bed direct access night shelter for the old DHSS at what was officially called “Consort Road Reception Centre” but which had been known by everyone for 50 years, including George Orwell who wrote about staying there in ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ as the infamous ‘Camberwell Spike’.
Distinctly unimpressed with housing as a career I jumped ship and spent 3 years as a professional musician in the heavy metal business as the Bass Guitarist for Thunderstick. Despite quite a bit of press about the image our record sales were dreadful and do you know what? It was actually quite boring to do.
So I came back to the only thing I knew and started running a hostel for homeless families for a year after which time I blagged a job as a homelessness investigations officer, which is what brought me into contact with housing law for the first time.
18 months later, in 1990 I became Lewisham Council’s Tenancy Relations Officer, prosecuting landlords for harassment and illegal eviction and that’s where my education really started.
By 1998 I was training others in housing law for Shelter and later on the Chartered Institute of Housing and many other organisations and continue to do so to this day, as well as tutoring and marking course essay’s for students taking the CIH’s housing diplomas.
In the past few years I have also started writing about housing law which is how I met Tessa Shepperson. We formed a bond of mutual respect and a passionate belief that most of the problems in housing land were down to a lack of knowledge, which resulted in us starting Easy Training Ltd.
Since 1998 I have trained literally thousands of housing staff from Cornwall to Motherwell. They are a group of people I understand thoroughly and I talk their language.
I have written distance learning courses, run workshops, designed and hosted staff AGMs, ran team-building days, presented at conferences, designed training packages for entire organisations and worked as a housing consultant on numerous projects.
I worked with Homelesslink and the University of the West of England helping develop NVQ training for homelessness staff and worked for several years with HACT and the CIH on the Reach In project, a scheme combining job placements and training to get refugees into housing work whilst studying for a level 3 diploma in housing.
I am PTLLS qualified and am also both a Master Practitioner and qualified trainer of NLP and a published author in that field, writing ‘Influential Communication Made Easy” with Neil Connolly.
Writing and Broadcasting
I write regularly for leading housing blogs Landlord Law Blog and Property 118 and have been a regular freelance journalist for the Guardian, writing on housing issues.
I am author of Tenants Rights Sussed and Landlord Laws Sussed, as well as co-authoring Renting HMOs Sussed with HMO Landlady.
I have appeared regularly on Channel 4 and the BBC on various programs about housing and housing rights.
In my time I have been a home-owner, a landlord, a tenant and even, for a brief stint, a letting agent. There isn’t really much left in housing that I haven’t been involved in