Social housing in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP is widely recognised nationally for its full-service offering in the social housing sector, where its ability to draw upon strengths across multiple disciplines comes to the fore. It has a  longstanding track record in development and property work, but its wider practice also covers social housing funding (including private placement funding transactions), housing management, antisocial behaviour, insurance litigation and regulatory work. Illustrative of the firm's outstanding reputation, it counts two of Homes England’s strategic housing association partners as among its clients (out of a total of 15 partners nationally). Barry Sully heads up the practice, which has had an uptick in work from grant-funded development clients in relation to major development programmes, and has also had a strong flow of securitisation mandates. The firm also has a standout reputation in plot sales. In addition to Sully, Gabor Taller and Ben Standing are among the other recommended individuals at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Barry Sully

Other key lawyers:

Gabor Taller; Ben Standing


‘Brown Jacobson offers a complete service of the highest order. Excellent advice, stripped of intelligible jargon and delivered with in a very personable way. We have used them for several years and cannot fault the quality of service and the guidance given.’

‘The team are knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘The main strength is that the service is always consistent and does not depend on which member of the team is acting on a particular project. The advice given is always explained in understandable terminology and staff always ensures that advice given is fully understood. The practices adherence to meeting deadlines is second to none.;

‘Gabor Taller is a standout solicitor – he is extremely responsive, always happy to take a call and quick to answer emails and deal with the “other side”. He always has sensible and logical ways of dealing with problems, is tactically savvy, and is well connected and respected within the social housing sector.’

‘ Barry Sully and Gabor Taller are excellent and highly recommended.’

‘Gabor Taller is excellent. He provides pragmatic advice and looks for solutions rather than just flagging up potential issues.’

‘Nickie Clarke makes selling shared ownership properties look much easier than it is.’

‘Barry Sully ensures his team fully implements his ideals of achieving deadlines whilst ensuring clients are fully aware and in control of actions being taken.’

‘Gabor Taller’s quiet efficiency and grasp of issues generates great confidence for clients.’

Key clients

Waterloo Housing Group Ltd (now part of Platform Housing)

East Midland Housing

Metropolitan Housing Trust (now part of Metropolitan Thames Valley)

London Borough of Croydon

EM Lawshare

Homes England

Crown Commercial Service wider public sector framework

Westleigh Partnerships Ltd (now part of Countryside Properties Plc)

Work highlights

  • Advising London Borough of Croydon – a new client – on a major programme of property acquisitions to address the borough’s homelessness issue.
  • Advising Sanctuary Affordable Housing Limited on the development and acquisition of 118 affordable housing units to be constructed at Bretch Hill, Banbury (including up to 51 sheltered accommodation flats).
  • Acted for Local Space on a private placement raising £75m in a 40-year deal with a single UK investor
  • Acting for the London Borough of Ealing on the proposed development of a site in Southall to deliver a mixed use scheme with circa 500 homes plus commercial and retail space (involving Peabody, a registered provider as developer).
  • Acting for Elmbridge Council on the set up and implementation of its housing company, which will help the Council meet its ambitious housing delivery targets by carrying out and promoting housing projects (including affordable).

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP operates at the top end of the social housing market, and its breadth and depth of expertise ensures that it wins premium work from arms-length management organisations (ALMOs), registered housing providers and developers, among other clients. Matthew Grocock and consultant Gary Reynolds co-head the practice in Nottingham, which provides a comprehensive range of services to clients, including property development, securitisation, planning, construction and procurement. One area of growth has seen the team increasingly being sought-out to assist with negotiating portfolio transactions. Stephen Pearson is another notable partner in the team. Principal property manager Sarah Rowe, and senior associates Rachel Clarke and Claire Bennett, collectively have over 38 years of experience of the social housing sector.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Grocock; Gary Reynolds


‘The Freeths team are my go-to team – there is a huge breadth of knowledge and positive attitude towards getting things done.’

‘They give measured and knowledgeable advice which enables things to progress quickly and productively.’

‘Senior associate Dilys Taylor is a huge asset to the Nottingham team. She is highly reliable and you are reassured any work will get done to a high standard when Dilys is involved. You can let Dilys run with any work without the need to chase or oversee any elements as she has already taken care of them.’

Key clients

Nottingham Community Housing Association Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Bellway Homes Limited

Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited

Greensquare Group Limited

Arches Housing Limited

Derwent Community Housing Association Limited

Kirklees Borough Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich, London

Cambridge City Council

Aldwyck Housing Group Limited

Lea Valley Developments Limited

Metropolitan Housing Trust

Lets Select Limited

Partner Construction Limited

Robert Woodhead Limited

Westleigh Partnerships Limited


Helena Partnerships Limited (now Torus)

Dragonfly Development Limited

Starfish Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kirklees Council in the Right to Buy and Right process for 200 properties following the initial tenant notice (RTB1), and upon issuing the reply notice (RTB2) and serving the s125 offer notice.
  • Acted for Cambridge City Council on a joint venture with a developer partner for the redevelopment of an old council depot.
  • Acted for NCHA on its acquisition of 142 units from Miller Homes for circa £10.6m.
  • Advising Torus 62 Limited on the disposal of 40 shared ownership units at a development in St Helens.
  • Advising Bromford Housing Association on the disposal of 35 shared ownership units at a development in Burntwood.

Wilkin Chapman LLP

Housing and development is an area of focus at Wilkin Chapman LLP, which is highly regarded by registered providers, developers and landowners. The firm has an outstanding reputation in the East Midlands, and its client base is primarily concentrated in the region, but it also undertakes work on a national basis as well; it acts for Linden Limited (Galliford Try's housebuilding arm),  serving six of its national housebuilding divisions. The firm also works with Galliford Try's affordable housing team. Reflective of the credentials of the team, Rachael Perry's background in private practice is complemented by her previous experience of working in-house at a national registered provider, where she focused on strategic development work, securitisation and property management and rationalisation. Peter Hanson and Ruth Brewin are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Perry

Other key lawyers:

Peter Hanson; Ruth Brewin

Key clients

Linden Homes/Galliford Try Group

Cyden Homes Limited

LACE Housing Association

Lincolnshire Housing Partnership Limited

Acis Group Limited

Salix Homes Limited

Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Acis Group limited on its acquisition of 60 shared ownership, rented and open market units from a regional housebuilder to develop specialist over 55s housing.
  • Acting for Linden Limited on the sale and development of twenty-eight affordable homes to a regional registered provider.
  • Acting for Linden Limited on the sale of twenty four affordable homes to a registered provider simultaneously with the exchange of a construction contract for the development of the units in return for stage payments.

Wilson Browne

Wilson Browne offers in-depth coverage  of the social housing sector, with practice head Tom Warrender and Jennifer Laskey the main names to note. It provides specialist advice to social housing providers on land acquisitions and affordable housing sales, as well as assistance with planning documents and option agreements. The team is also attuned to the requirements of private and professional landlords (such as local authorities and private housing associations), and advises on antisocial behaviour, possession and arrears-related issues, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Tom Warrender

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Laskey

Key clients

Abbeyfield Dorcas Society Limited

EMH Housing & Regeneration Limited

Park Lodge Project

Work highlights

  • Acted for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited in its acquisition of land linked to a JCT contract.
  • Acted for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited in its acquisition of 64 units at Beeby Road, Scraptoft
  • Acting for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited on the purchase of land for proposed residential development of 15 units.
  • Acted for Abbeyfield Dorcas Society Limited on its proposed transfer of a property portfolio to a new company within the group.