Social housing in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP in Norwich has a strong practice that frequently advises national and regional RPs and local authorities on a broad range of property and regulatory matters. ‘Highly efficient and effective‘ senior associate Emily Groom and associate Sarah Fish also play key roles in the practice. Clients value the firm’s ‘flexible approach, tailoring the service to meet individual project needs‘. Former practice head Peter Goddard retired in May 2021 following the firm's hire of Jonathan Hulley from Capsticks LLP the previous year.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley

Other key lawyers:

Emily Groom; Sarah Fish

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Birketts primarily on affordable housing development. The work involves contract negotiations with landowners and developers. Birketts have demonstrated high standards in all dealings. They have strong experience in this field, which results in appropriate advice and solutions. I value Birketts’ flexible approach, tailoring the service to meet individual project needs.’

‘Emily Groom has demonstrated highly efficient and effective working. As a recent example, Emily negotiated complex contract documents, ensuring that we were able to exchange contracts on a high-profile project to our required timescales. This was achieved despite a number of last minute changes from the vendor. Emily delivered optimal outcomes for our business, in a very tight timescale.’

‘A dedicated team which specialises in matters related to social housing. One of the key strength of Birketts is their excellent customer care on legal matters and legal surgeries they provide to update our team on the latest legislative tools.’

Key clients

Broadland Housing Association

Flagship Housing Group

CHP

Orbit Group Limited

Longhurst Group

Iceni Homes

Eastlight (previously Greenfields)

London and Quadrant (L&Q)

B3 Living

Cambridge Housing Society

Swan Housing

Westway Housing Association

Harlow Council

Basildon Borough Council

South Holland District Council

Work highlights

  • Advised B3 on its largest deal to date, the acquisition of a scheme for c.200 units at a cost of over £50m which was part of a larger strategic development site in Cheshunt comprising 1,500 units.
  • Advised Harlow Council on the purchase of 50 street properties.
  • Acting forLondon and Quadrant in connection with its Build London Partnerships project, which allows smaller RPs to access enhanced levels of grant from the Greater London Authority in addition to L&Q’s development expertise.

Spire Solicitors LLP

At Spire Solicitors LLP in Norwich, social housing is a core practice area and the firm frequently acts for prominent housing associations and numerous local authorities on a diverse range of issues, among them land sales, right to buy matters, shared ownership, development agreements and planning matters. Estelle Corner is the lead partner and has extensive experience commercial real estate, investment property and funds. In 2020, her team advised on property transactions that will deliver more than 400 affordable and market homes in the East of England.

Practice head(s):

Estelle Corner

Work highlights

  • Advised a housing association on acquisition of land and funding and nomination agreement for development of a 58-home extra care facility.
  • Handeled multiple instructions from one housing association for 140+ shared ownership first trance disposals.
  • Advised a housing association and its development arm in relation to three complex land-led multi-party contracts which will ultimately deliver over 170 affordable homes.

Buckles Solicitors LLP

The social housing practice at Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough is 'quick to reply to questions and helpfully avoids too much jargon', remarks one client. The firm handles significant acquisitions and development projects, acting for more than 65 social housing providers, and also handles contentious matters. Gail Sykes is widely acknowledged to be a leader in her field and clients praise her 'responsive and knowledgeable' approach to both advisory work and litigation. She frequently acts for Registered Providers, local authorities, Government departments, property managers and private landlords.

Practice head(s):

Gail Sykes

Other key lawyers:

Julie Isaac

Testimonials

‘Buckles understand our business well in terms of the types of legal agreements we have with tenants and leaseholders. We also find they are quick to reply to our questions and helpfully avoid too much jargon.’

‘Gail Sykes is our go-to partner, ably assisted by Julie Isaac; both are responsive, knowledgeable and understand our financial constraints when it comes to litigation.’

Key clients

Cross Keys Homes

The Grand Union Housing Group

The Platform Group

CHS Group

Hundred Houses Society

Settle

Papworth Trust

Longhurst Group Ltd

Hope into Action

Freebridge Community Housing

Work highlights

  • Advised a housing provider operating in East Anglia and the East Midlands on the acquisition of approximately 9.5 acres of land for the construction of 150 homes.
  • Advised a Midlands-based housing provider on a number of closure orders allowing for the service of mandatory possession notices.
  • Defending a Peterborough-based housing provider against a claim brought against it by one of its tenants under the Equality Act and in particular indirect and direct discrimination.

Howes Percival LLP

The Norwich and Cambridge offices of Howes Percival LLP offer in-depth knowledge of property transactions, development projects, regulatory matters and property litigation. Lead partner Simon Murphy in Cambridge handles contentious property issues encompassing residential, commercial and agricultural land. He works closely with property development partner Michaela Henson, who has long experience in acting for RPs, and senior associate Scott Smith, who has expertise in leasehold, transfer of engagements and shared ownership matters.

Practice head(s):

Simon Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Michaela Henson

Key clients

Hundred Houses Society Limited

The Papworth Trust

Flagship Housing Group Limited / Flagship Housing Developments Limited

East Cambs Trading Company Limited

Chorus Homes Limited

Accent Housing Limited and Accent Homemade Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Flagship on housing management and housing disrepair claims.
  • Advised Accent Housing Limited/Accent Homemade on the acquisition of multiple sites across East Anglia, the Midlands and South.
  • Dealing with site acquisitions, property issues arising from transfer of undertakings and plot sales in and around Cambridge for Hundred Houses Society Limited.