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Who Represents Who

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Batchelors provides ‘an excellent service, allocating lawyers with appropriate experience to all cases and offering focused advice early in the game’. The practice specialises in housing management, property and development issues, and has notable expertise in dealing with complex antisocial behaviour matters and tenancy fraud, along with leasehold and shared ownership, acquisition work and affordable housing developments. In a recent highlight, the team successfully obtained an outright order of possession for West Kent Housing Association following a defendant’s conviction of ABH. Other work included advising Sutton Housing Partnership on securing a without-notice injunction against the carer of a vulnerable tenant, and representing London & Quadrant Housing Trust in a claim for possession following the death of one of its tenants. The ‘calm and organisedThaine Wilson heads the practice, while Andrew Harmerhas a wide perspective of the housing sector’ and ‘takes a holistic approach to issues raised by clients, understanding the risks of litigation and doing everything necessary to present a strong case’. Anne Nurse specialises in plot sales, and Mary Martil heads the leasehold management group.

Clients of Capsticks LLP’s ‘excellent’ team single out the ‘flawless quality of its work’; the team is ‘extremely knowledgeable, with a broad spectrum of knowledge’ and ‘is able to explain complex matters clearly and simply’. It handles all aspects of housing and asset management along with development, leasehold law, hew home sales and property litigation. The team also has substantial experience advising on large-scale projects. Recent work includes advising Tamar Housing Society on the Rentplus Project, which uses investor funding to acquire new-build properties for lease to registered providers, and assisting Sovereign Housing Association with a full review of policies and procedures, including succession policy. Practice head Michael Owenresponds very promptly’, ‘has a clear and concise way of answering queries’ and ‘is very receptive to feedback, taking the time to understand what the client needs’. Jennifer Bennett is the other name to note, and has a particular interest in leasehold schemes.

Highlights for Penningtons Manches LLP included acting for Southern Housing Association on a number of sales at its Bow River scheme, a project comprised of 86 apartments sold by way of shared ownership. The team also advised Viridian Housing on a number of sales at Riverlight Quay Battersea, a series of transactions totalling £25m, and assisted Sovereign Housing Association with its voluntary right to buy programme. Key practitioners include department head Linda Storey, who specialises in home ownership programmes; Andrew Casstles, who has significant expertise in property development and regeneration, commercial conveyancing and landlord and tenant work; and Peter Massey, who is recommended for construction and procurement matters. Employment disputes partner Eugene Wojciechowski is also a name to note. The firm secured a number of new clients over the last year, including Swan Housing, Ekaya and Richmond Housing Partnership.

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘impressive’ group ‘has a strong understanding of the housing sector’ and ‘is always keen to respond to queries as quickly as possible’. The group retains a strong client base of national housing associations and advises on governance, procurement matters, bank refinancing and social care issues alongside the full gamut of property, housing management and employment mandates. Highlights included advising Radian Group on the development of 500 new affordable homes; acting for Hyde Housing Association on various plot sales and asset management matters; and advising Network Homes on its £4m acquisition of 23 shared ownership and affordable rent units, a project done as part of a regeneration of a former football stadium. Key individuals include practice head John Russell, who specialises in property development and strategic planning, and Hugh James, who has notable expertise in development site assembly, regeneration work and section 106 agreements.

Judge & Priestley LLP has ‘a well-deserved reputation for quality of service and approachability’, and the team ‘always acts with foresight, incorporating a deep understanding of the law into its advice’. The practice covers all aspects of property, dispute resolution and debt recovery, and has a strong client base of social housing providers across the country. Practice head Nitika Singh represents local authorities, registered providers and private landlords and ‘exhibits an assurance in complex matters’. He is ably assisted by Mark Oakley, who is noted for his expertise in landlord-side work, especially in public sector leasehold disputes and service charges; and Lucy Rudd, who specialises in property development. Key clients include Barnet Homes, Wandle Housing Association, London Borough of Havering and Southward ASB Unit.

Perrin Myddleton’s ‘excellent’ group is ‘always fully aware of its clients’ requirements and the parameters under which they operate’, and is ‘able to deal swiftly with all types of situations’. The practice acts for a wide range of clients across London, the Thames Valley and East Anglia, and is best known for its work for housing association registered providers, advising on development site acquisition, shared ownership sites and employment law issues. Recent work includes advising Aragon Housing Association on the preparation, negotiation and finalisation of an agency agreement with Central Bedfordshire Council; acting for Apna Ghar Housing Association on the expansion of housing stock available for disabled individuals; and advising Catalyst Housing Association on the purchase and construction of a new building comprising of 42 self-contained flats, to be sold as a mix of shared ownership schemes and affordable rent units. Frederick Perrin heads the practice.

Cripps LLP’s wide-ranging practice advises registered providers, housebuilders and affordable housing divisions on the full range of social housing matters, with key areas of expertise including site acquisitions, development and funding, regeneration schemes and shared ownership leases. Recent examples include advising Southern Housing Group on its £6.7m purchase of land for the construction of 36 affordable housing units, and acting for Golding Homes on its acquisition of 45 properties in Kent from The Riverside Group. The team also advises Family Mosaic Housing on various contentious and non-contentious property portfolio matters, including property management, leases and licenses. Andrew Harbourne heads the practice and advises on governance, public procurement and construction law issues. Sarah Ferguson is the other name to note.

Niche social housing firm Housing Law Services acts exclusively for registered providers, and has a strong track record in all types of housing-related disputes. Highlights included advising Paragon CHG on injunctions issued against three youths on the grounds of serious damage to communal areas; assisting AmicusHorizon with an injunction issued against a non-tenant for harassment of elderly residents; and representing Lewes District Council in proceedings against a tenant who was not living at the relevant property as their only and principal home. Managing partner Julie Allen is the main practitioner, and has strong expertise in housing management disputes involving antisocial behaviour and disrepair. Consultant solicitor Lawrence Talbot is the other name to note.

The ‘excellent and knowledgeable’ team at Clarke Willmott LLP regularly represents clients in complex housing claims involving antisocial behaviour, breach of tenancy, failed succession and trespassing. It also advises on non-contentious matters involving policy and procedures, disrepair, leases and tenancy agreements. Recent work includes acting for Radian Group as tenant of a commercial property in Portsmouth in a matter involving dilapidations, lease issues and insolvency, and representing the same client in injunction proceedings against an elderly tenant following complaints of hoarding and annoyance. The team also assisted United Communities with obtaining a without-notice injunction against a former tenant suspected of drug dealing. Key figures include Kary Withers, who advises on the full range of property disputes, and Lindsay Felstead, who heads the housing management team. Oliver Smedley is also a name to note.

DMH Stallard LLP provides ‘a good and prompt service at competitive rates’, and ‘is able to steer clients through complicated processes quickly and efficiently’. The team’s housing management expertise includes possession claims, advice on antisocial behaviour orders, succession claims and public law and policy. The firm also handles the full range of site development, construction and corporate and commercial matters. Highlights included successfully representing London Borough of Enfield in a claim for unlawful subletting and profit, and advising Livin Housing on a sale and purchase agreement with Broadacres Housing Association for 39 newly-built dwellings. Miles Eckersley specialises in non-contentious property development and construction, and Roger Yates has ‘impeccable attention to detail’, advising on transactional matters in the social housing sector.

EMW Law LLP’s ‘responsive’ team has notable expertise in property development and acquisitions, shared ownership sales and right-to-buy matters, and regularly advises on the planning aspects of property acquisitions. Key individuals include Caroline Hayward, who acts for developers and landowners on property development matters; Joe Soul, who has strong healthcare sector expertise; and Michael Chilton, who is the name to note for construction matters. Highlights included advising Aragon Housing Association on the £7.5m acquisition of 70 affordable housing units, and acting for another housing association on the £20m redevelopment of a supported living accommodation in Milton Keynes.

Marsons Solicitors has ‘a strong level of expertise in this area of law’, advising a range of social housing providers, local authorities and social landlords on the full gamut of issues including housing disrepair, tenancy fraud, antisocial behaviour and debt recovery. The group also increasingly advises on business leases, adverse possession claims and compulsory purchase orders. The ‘conscientious, knowledgeable, practical and intelligent’ Bernadette Reid heads the practice, advising on land acquisitions, right-to-buy and shared ownership schemes. It also represents clients in contentious housing issues.

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Legal Developments in South East for Social housing

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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