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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Batchelors has a first-rate social housing practice, which comprises of specialists in housing management, property and development. On the management side, the 'reliable, trustworthy and passionate' team specialises in high profile and complex anti-social behaviour and tenancy fraud cases. It also has a strong handle on matters concerning leaseholds and shared ownership, as well as tenancy review. Elsewhere, the firm is active in acquisitions and affordable housing development, among other matters. Key figures in the team include Thaine Wilson (who is praised for his expertise in 'complex legal cases'), the 'technically astute' Gavinder Ryait and Nick McKnight.

Practice head(s):Thaine Wilson; Andrew Harmer; Gavinder Ryait

Other key lawyers:Nick McKnight

Testimonials

'Reliable, trustworthy and passionate about what they do and deliver.'

'Approachable, friendly and always put you at ease'.

'Batchelors offer a fully rounded service and will always go that extra mile; the level of service is consistently good'.

'Batchelors have long been known in the social housing field for their high calibre of clients and customer care ethos; they provide first-class advice underpinned by strong knowledge of the sector'.

'Batchelors takes a no-nonsense approach to their work; it is always completed efficiently and to a high standard'.

'Thaine Wilson can make you feel comfortable with the uncomfortable'.

'Gavinder Ryait is a great asset; she offers invaluable advice and delivers legal surgeries'.

'Thaine Wilson offers valuable advice when dealing with complex legal cases'.

' Thaine Wilson is loved by his clients for his willingness to go the extra mile, approachability and innate sense of how the sector works'.

'Gavinder Ryait has long been a quality member of the team; she is informed, tactically astute and a definite 'go-to' solicitor for any social housing landlord'.

'Andrew Harmer is a real star; he is extremely capable and his attention to detail is faultless'.

Key Clients

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

The Hyde Group

East End Homes

Optivo

London Borough of Redbridge

Sutton Housing Partnership

Wandle Housing Association

Wellingborough Homes

MOAT Homes

PA Housing

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Paragon Asra Housing in a Court of Appeal  case which resulted in a judgment of significance to all social housing practitioners facing warrant suspension applications by tenants raising arguments of disability discrimination.
  • Successfully represented London & Quadrant Housing Trust in a claim for possession involving serious anti-social behaviour committed by the tenant and her guests including drug dealing and usage and prostitution.
  • Successfully represented London Borough of Redbridge in recovering substantial legal costs incurred in pursuing a leaseholder for non-payment of service charges.
  • Successfully represented a local authority in seeking possession of a property where the tenant was a registered sex offender.
  • Assisting a housing association with recovering possession of several properties within the same block where a former housing officer had fraudulently let them to ineligible tenants for cash.

Capsticks LLP has had a significant increase in the number of social housing clients turning to the firm for advice on bespoke private developments, as well as affordable housing ventures. In addition to regeneration projects, the housing team includes dedicated sub-divisions in areas such as housing management, housing regeneration, and corporate and securitisation. Also notable is that the firm also has a strong specialism in the healthcare sector. The 'approachable' Michael Owen leads the housing management section. Spencer Vella Sultana and Kevin Steele are among other key figures, as is associate Mike Regan, who exclusively assists registered providers (RPs).

Practice head(s):Michael Owen; Spencer Vella Sultana; Kevin Steele

Other key lawyers:Mike Regan; Jennifer Bennett

Testimonials

'The service provided by the team at Capsticks goes above and beyond expectation'.

'Capsticks consistently responds to requests for legal advice quickly and professionally'.

'The whole team talks to me in a language I can understand'.

'Michael Owen is very approachable and always makes the client feel valued and included'.

'Katrina Day has an excellent understanding of all aspects of social housing procurement'.

'Vella Sultana and Rita Saadeh are straight-forward communicators'.

Key Clients

Vectis Homes

Live West

Stonewater

Vivid Homes

Radian Group

Aster Communities

Advantage South West

Raven Housing Trust

Soha Housing

The Guinness Partnership

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Radian to acquire a block consisting of 104 residential units and ground floor commercial unit as part of a site-wide regeneration project in Staines.
  • Acted for Aster on an application to the First Tier Tribunal on the recoverability (through the service charge) of on-account demands for major works undertaken at an estate.
  • Advised the newly formed Live West (previously Knightstone and DCH Group) on its entire suite of tenancy and licence agreements.
  • Acted for Vectis Housing in possession proceedings against a tenant on the basis of the tenant causing the landlord nuisance and annoyance by serially complaining and taking up a disproportionate amount of the client’s administrative time.
  • Advised Stonewater on possession proceedings, injunction proceedings and committal proceedings against a defendant who was an adult within an elderly person’s scheme and who suffered with autism.

Perrin Myddleton acts for housing associations and local authorities based in London, the Thames Valley, the South East, and East Anglia. Its sector expertise is complemented by an ability to provide support in areas such as corporate and commercial, banking and finance, and employment. On the contentious side, the 'highly proactive' team has recently handled possession proceedings and antisocial behaviour injunction proceedings. Solicitor advocate and accredited CEDR mediator Simon Braun is recommended for his dispute resolution expertise. Name partner Fred Perrin, who has been active in the social housing sector since 1982, is experienced in handling commercial property and social housing development acquisitions, as well as commercial leasing. Sanjeev Shah is another key figure.

Practice head(s):Fred Perrin; Sanjeev Shah; Simon Braun

Testimonials

'A highly proactive practice'.

'The team has all the necessary expertise for sale and development contract negotiation; response times are excellent and they really drive the negotiations through'.

Key Clients

Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited

Spire Homes

Origin Housing

Watford Community Housing Trust

Bushmead Homes Limited

B3 Living

North Hertfordshire Homes (now Settle Group)

Aragon Housing Association (now Grand Union Housing Group)

Niveda Realty Limited

Welwyn Garden City Housing Association

J Dawkins Limited

Luton Community Housing Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Origin Housing on a multimillion pound, multi-phase landmark development scheme involving joint ventures and many stakeholders.
  • Successfully defended East Hertfordshire District Council an appeal on 'intentional homelessness', which has wide relevance to local authorities and also concerns the issue of legal professional privilege.
  • Successfully represented Grand Union Housing Group in a challenge to its established practice of gaining fair consideration for agreeing to release restricted covenants, thus protecting a useful revenue stream for the association that helps its overall purpose and ensuring higher certainty on future revenue.
  • Advised Longhurst Group on protecting its interests in a joint venture with four participating housing associations, and involving unusual issues related to an underlying development and the potential purchase of a target company.
  • Successfully represented London Borough of Havering at an appeal of the initial decision of a judge in respect of a mandatory possession order, which had wider significance as the initial decision could have created barriers to local authorities responding to anti-social and criminal behaviour on their properties.

Blake Morgan LLP acts for most of the main housing associations in southern England and it also has a notable housebuilder client base. Its team has experience of advising developers on building their own estates and the sale of both private and affordable units. Elsewhere, the group is knowledgeable about governance, commercial and procurement issues, construction (both contentious and non-contentious), refinancing and charging, and social care. Practice head Sean Palka acts for residential developers on matters ranging from initial acquisitions to final plot sales. Chris Dolan advises on all aspects of land acquisition and assembly.

Practice head(s):Sean Palka

Other key lawyers:Chris Dolan

Key Clients

Radian Group

Aster Group

Vivid Homes

Network Housing Association

Peabody

Greensquare Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for a large registered provider on the acquisition of further phases of a development project from two developers for a site near Salisbury.
  • Acting for a large South Coast and West Country-based client on further phases of the regeneration of a former golf course and construction of a new village on the M27 corridor to provide more affordable housing in an area generally associated with high house prices.
  • Assisting a South Coast-based client with the acquisition of 22 affordable units from two developers for £3.5m.
  • Acting for a large South Coat and Thames Valley-based client on the acquisition of 30 separate 'street properties'.

Manjinder Kaur Atwal leads the housing and property litigation group at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. The firm, which is the largest supplier of legal aid in England and Wales, primarily acts for vulnerable tenants. Its team handles the entire gamut of contentious social housing issues, with particular expertise in possession and unlawful eviction, judicial reviews challenging local authorities and Equality Act defence cases. Solicitor Adrian Smith  is recommended for homelessness issues and unlawful evictions.

Practice head(s):Manjinder Kaur Atwal

Other key lawyers:Adrian Smith

Testimonials

'The firm is able to deal with a wide range of cases in an efficient and comprehensive way'.

'They can handle time-sensitive or emergency cases'.

'The team members are highly professional and knowledgeable about even difficult areas of social housing law'.

'Partners and associates are always on hand to respond to the changing dynamics of a case'.

'Manjinder Kaur Atwal stands out; she has a keen eye for anticipating new challenges and a strong record for bringing complex judicial review challenges'.

'Manjinder Kaur Atwal is a knowledgeable and professional housing law solicitor who will work hard for her clients's housing law rights'.

'Manjinder Kaur Atwal is fearless and ready to get her hands dirty on behalf of clients'.

'Manjinder Kaur Atwal always goes the extra mile for her clients and responds calmly and efficiently to emergency situations'.

'Manjinder Kaur Atwal is a formidable opponent'.

Work highlights

  • Assisting a client with defending a possession claim and bringing a counterclaim against a developer and the director.
  • Assisting a client with defending a possession claim in relation to a shared ownership property under article 8 and article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Representing a blind tenant, as a defendant and appellant, at the Court of Appeal in a possession claim under Article 8.
  • Assisting a client with bringing a judicial review application in relation to a local authority’s continued failure to make a reasonable offer of rental accommodation pursuant to its duty under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
  • Defending a client against a possession claim, which involved a five year fixed tenancy agreement.

Boutique firm Housing Law Services acts exclusively for social landlords and housing management is the crux of its practice, which is co- led by senior partner Tim Crook and managing partner Julie Allen. In addition to providing day-to-day advice, the team regularly handles contentious matters involving issues such as disrepair, rent arrears, service charges and anti-social behaviour.

Practice head(s):Tim Crook

Other key lawyers:Julie Allen

Key Clients

Brighton and Hove Council

Dartford Borough Council

Eastbourne Borough Council

Eastbourne Homes

Hastings Borough Council

Housing and Care 21

Lewes District Council

London and Quadrant Housing Association

Moat Homes

Oak Housing

Optivo

Orbit

Work highlights

  • Assisted Eastbourne Borough Council with issuing expedited possession proceedings arising from a tenant's antisocial behavior issues.
  • Assisted Croydon Churches Housing Association with seeking a without notice youth injunction to control the antisocial and violent behaviour of a tenant's son.
  • Defended Optivo at the First Tier Tribunal against a claim made by two leaseholders  over works carried out by a client on the outside of the property in excess of £20k per household.
  • Assisted Housing and Care 21 with applying for and obtaining a without notice injunction and subsequently issued possession proceedings against an antisocial tenant.
  • Instructed by Porchlight to ensure that its policies were current and fit for purpose.

Judge & Priestley LLP's practice has undergone significant expansion, with it adding two new solicitors to the team in March 2019. The firm has a strong track record in contentious housing management matters, including possession claims, and cases concerning anti-social behavior and nuisance. In a notable development, following a competitive tender process, the firm was appointed to act for the London Borough of Southwark on disrepair cases. The firm also advises the same client on housing management and property litigation (including leasehold matters). Social housing head Nitika Singh is recommended for complex housing management litigation, including cases concerning homelessness, allocations and succession. Mark Oakley leads the property litigation practice.

Practice head(s):Nitika Singh

Other key lawyers:Mark Oakley

Testimonials

'Team is especially knowledgeable about the processes involved in recovering leasehold service charges'.

 

Key Clients

London Borough of Southwark

Barnet Homes

London Borough of Havering

London Borough of Southwark

London Borough of Camden

London Borough of Lambeth

Wandle Homes

Birmingham City Council

Phoenix Community Housing Association

Private Housing Solutions

Let 2 Barnet

Open Door Homes

Work highlights

  • Assisted Barnet Homes with recovering possession on grounds of Notice To Quit and Notice Of Seeking Possession, and successfully struck out a defence and counterclaim for disrepair.
  • Assisted London Borough of Lambeth with recovering unpaid service charges and negotiated a substantial reduction in disrepair counterclaim sought by leaseholder.
  • Assisted Barnet Homes with enforcing a breach of lease by obtaining an injunction order and an order for costs.
  • Advice to London Borough of Southwark on the merits of an environmental protection claim by occupants of a travellers site.
  • Assisted Barnet Homes with securing the successful withdrawal of an unmeritorious Environmental Protection Act claim by a persistent and uncooperative tenant.

Linda Storey heads up Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's 'knowledgeable' social housing team, whose work covers securitisation. portfolio and asset management, commercial property, housing management and development/acquisitions, among other areas. In addition to Storey, employment expert Eugene Wojciechowski, Andrew Casstles and Peter Massey are other recommended partners. Associate Charlotte D’Avola is another notable individual.

Practice head(s):Linda Storey

Other key lawyers:Eugene Wojciechowski; Andrew Casstles; Peter Massey; Charlotte D’Avola

Testimonials

'The team are approachable and always clear in explaining the subject of discussion'.

'Knowledgeable, provide comprehensible advice and always respond promptly'.

 

Key Clients

London & Quadrant

VIVID

BPHA

Hightown Housing Association

Radian

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Peabody

Bromford Housing Group

Sovereign

Heylo

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hightown Housing Association on the variation of its facility agreement with Lloyds.
  • Advised Aldwyck Housing Group on the forward-funding purchase, development and sale of 11 shared ownership houses on a new housing estate.
  • Advised Metropolitan Thames Valley on the forward-funding acquisition and development of 58 affordable residential units by way of phased freehold block transfers and individual flat leases from a national developer.
  • The firm was one of three firms dealing with the significant security requirements for Peabody’s recently listed own name bond.

EMW Law LLP's social housing practice is managed by the broader real estate team, which advises housing associations on planning, construction, plot sales, property development and property litigation, among other matters. Caroline Hayward and senior associate Lucy Jones are joint practice heads. Construction expert Michael Chilton departed for Thrings LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):Caroline Hayward; Lucy Jones

Key Clients

Grand Union Housing Group Limited

Grand Union Homes Limited

Howard Cottage Housing Association

Cottsway Housing Association Limited

Milton Keynes YMCA Limited

Stonewater

Bovis Homes Limited

Brampton Valley Homes Limited

Watford Community Housing Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Milton Keynes YMCA on the redevelopment of an existing YMCA supported living accommodation in Central Milton Keynes.
  • Advised Grand Union Homes on the delivery (by acquisition and development agreement) of its first market sale scheme, with associated affordable transfers to the client’s affordable arm, Grand Union Housing Group Limited.
  • Acted for Stonewater on the acquisition of 33 affordable units pursuant to a section 106 agreement on a much larger site, being developed by a national housebuilder.
  • Acted for Grand Union Housing Group on the acquisition of 66 affordable dwellings pursuant to a section 106 agreement on a larger site being developed by a national housebuilder.
  • Acted for Howard Cottage Housing Association on the acquisition of nine affordable units, pursuant to a section 106 agreement, from a developer on a larger site.

On the housing management front, Clarke Willmott LLP handles the full range of tenancy management issues, such as enforcement proceedings, PRS tenancies, as well as exemptions, policies and procedures, and income recovery. The firm also has a dedicated home sales team, which guides social housing clients at all stages from site acquisition to plot sales. Property litigation is another cornerstone of the work, with the firm acting for clients in cases involving contentious leasehold and development issues. Hannah Langford divides time between London and Southampton. Associate Anne Jones, who specialises in planning and highways work, is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Hannah Langford; Lindsay Felstead

Other key lawyers:Anne Jones

Testimonials

'The team met my request in a very timely manner and went the extra mile to do so'.

'Charlotte Westwood has advised me and guided me in various land sales and selling our garage sites at auction; Charlotte's advice on each auction was invaluable'.

Key Clients

Radian Group

Sovereign Housing Association Limited

Merlin Housing Society – part of Bromford

GreenSquare Group

Yarlington Housing Group

Saxon Weald

Westward Housing Group

Ocean Housing Group

United Communities

LiveWest Homes Limited

Moat Homes Limited

Aster Group

Raven Housing Trust

Clarion Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Radian Group with successfully obtaining a trespass order against a food van operator leaving his van and other property on Radian’s land overnight.
  • Represented a large registered provider in a dispute, which involved obtaining a mandatory possession order against a tenant convicted of grievous bodily harm, as well as other tenancy breaches.
  • Assisted Sovereign Housing Assocation with obtaining an urgent injunction against a tenant who had made threats of violence, including threats to kill, towards neighbours and staff members.
  • Successfully defended United Communities against an unmeritorious disrepair claim from a tenant of a property acting as a litigant in person.
  • Assisted GreenSquare with preparing a number of garage sites for sale by auction. Provided advice on adverse possession, termination of leases and licenses, as well as rights of way.

Cripps Pemberton Greenish leverages strengths in multiple disciplines to handle a full range of issues connected with the affordable housing sector. It demonstrates strong capabilities in areas such as employment, commercial contracts and dispute resolution. In the property development sphere, the team advises on funding, site acquisition, planning and construction procurement. The firm acts for large national registered providers, as well as smaller local operators. Andrew Harbourne and Sarah Ferguson are key contacts.

Practice head(s):Andrew Harbourne; Sarah Ferguson

Foot Anstey's practice is primarily focused on advising registered providers of affordable housing who are developing new homes, and the firm is particularly strong in development transactions. Team head Martin Hirst has specialist expertise in open market, mixed-use and regeneration schemes.

Practice head(s):Martin Hirst

Key Clients

VIVID Housing Limited

Radian Group Limited

LiveWest Homes

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Merlin Housing Society

Coastline Housing Limited

Magna Housing Limited

Trent & Dove Housing Limited

PHA Homes Limited

Yarlington Housing Group

Ocean Housing Limited

Stonewater Limited

In the social housing space, Marsons Solicitors assists clients with the acquisition of new leases and with supplemental agreements, such as the provision and release of covenants. The firm also undertakes development mandates, and guides clients through auction sales and development agreements. Conveyancing work is another pillar of the practice. Legal executive Kelly O’Rourke is a key contact.

Practice head(s):Kelly O’Rourke

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