Firms To Watch: Social housing: tenant

Led by Joanne Bennett, the housing practice at Lawstop has expanded to create a separate homelessness team in order to handle the complexities and quick turnarounds of homelessness cases.

Firms in the Spotlight Social housing: tenant

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Ronald Fletcher Baker attracts a diverse client base from financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals and substantial freehold corporate investors, as a result of which the firm has considerable expertise acting for corporate investors based in the BVI, Bahamas, Mauritius, Seychelles, Turkey and Isle of Man. This department also acts for sellers and buyers, and buy-to-let investors, …

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Social housing: tenant in London

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP

The social housing practice at Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP boasts a team of ‘excellent negotiators’ who are experts on the rights of social housing tenants and leaseholders. Practice head Andrew Brookes, a ‘leader in his field’, specialises in providing advice on leaseholder issues and disrepair matters, and his involvement in the Grenfell inquiry has strengthened the team’s experience in fire safety remediation. The firm has been involved in complex and unusual possession claims and acts for long leaseholders of social housing landlords regarding claims for breach of lease, service charge disputes, and leasehold enfranchisement; Timothy Waitt is an expert in social housing litigation. The group’s experience in housing spans across a range of issues, including tenancy deposits and licensing, and a variety of social housing occupiers, such as shared-ownership tenants and leaseholders. Giles Peaker is a specialist in multi-claimant matters, a growing area of expertise for the firm, and the team now has a successful track record in instructions from groups of tenants and leaseholders. Eleanor Solomon also plays a key role in managing and settling multi-party claims.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Brookes

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Waitt; Giles Peaker; Eleanor Solomon; Eleanor Kyle; Nikki Basin; Victory Thiru; Sara Stephens


‘Sara Stephens was a standout partner; always available and incredibly patient with a determined work ethic.’

‘Andrew Brookes has a tremendous depth of knowledge and is brilliant at handling clients.’

‘Eleanor Solomon and Giles Peaker stand out for their knowledge of the law and their commitment to vulnerable social tenants.’

‘Clients are in safe hands with Anthony Gold. They work very well as a team, are on top of the law, and are excellent negotiators.’

‘Timothy Waitt knows the law inside and out and is meticulously prepared, and Eleanor Solomon is a joy to work with and a real star; she is a well-respected practitioner in her field.’

‘This is the go-to place for tenants with complex and difficult disrepair claims. It has unrivalled expertise in complex multi-party disrepair claims.’

‘Eleanor Solomon has a very keen eye for detail and she fights for every penny, but also takes a pragmatic approach to litigation. She is also great with clients and understands their needs.’

‘Giles Peaker is unrivalled in this sector for his knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in all matters to do with social housing.’

Key clients

Safer Renting


Whitebeam Close Residents, SW9.

13 leaseholders of Bank Court, London E17

A tenant of Peabody

Three Tenants of The Arches, Childers Street

Work highlights

  • Advised Safer Renting CIC on intervention in the Supreme Court in Rakusen v Jepson, arguing the public policy point of Rent Repayment Orders under Housing and Planning Act 2016.
  • Acting for Crisis in the intervention in the Supreme Court in LB Croydon v Imam, arguing on the extent of a local authority’s duty under section 193 Housing Act 1996 to secure suitable accommodation for those owed a full homelessness duty.

Bindmans LLP

Bindmans LLP’s broad social housing practice covers the full spectrum of housing law. The team displays niche areas of expertise, with experience in cases involving mental capacity, civil liberties, and community care. Practice head Paul Ridge has a keen focus on public law, community care, and disability rights within housing law. Ridge continues to lead the team in its key role assisting the Grenfell victims, with the support of the firm’s bespoke Grenfell team, and has been advising an increasing number of victims of the cladding scandal. The social housing group has continued to develop its expertise in this area, with Christian Hansen handling a number of large group claims related to fire safety issues. The group also assists clients with possession claims, HRA damages, injunctions, and capacity issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ridge

Other key lawyers:

Will Whitaker; Christian Hansen; Jacob Howell Jones


‘The team is very good.’

‘Christian Hansen and Paul Ridge are great solicitors.’

‘Devoted to their clients’ cause, they ceaselessly fight the clients corner and are creative in their approaches.’

‘Paul Ridge is an experienced housing lawyer – very capable and excellent client manner.’

Key clients

Grenfell Tower

Richmond House

Pavilions Action Group

Lancaster West Residents’ Association and all RBKC tenants

The Exchange

Hodge Jones & Allen

Hodge Jones & Allen has an established reputation regarding the public and administrative law elements of social housing matters. The ‘formidable‘ housing and property team, led by Jayesh Kunwardia, has developed a standalone discrimination practice, handling an increasing number of judicial reviews challenging the suitability of accommodation, as well as advising on possession, illegal eviction, and anti-social behaviour injunctions. The ‘brilliant’ and ‘fearless’ Sophie Bell acts for vulnerable tenants, handling homeless reviews and appeals, and possession and eviction matters. Farzana Chowdhury focuses on defending possession cases involving nuisance and anti-social behaviour, tenancy fraud, subletting, and succession, and led a successful Court of Appeal case concerning succession to a secure tenancy. Disrepair is a growing area for the group and a strong focus for Daniel Fitzpatrick, and he was also one of the lead housing solicitors on the Grenfell inquiry. A niche area of development for the team includes advising victims of violence and trafficking, with an increasing number of instructions from women’s charities. Bahareh Amani was promoted to partner in May 2022 and is taking an increasingly leading role within the team.

Practice head(s):

Jayesh Kunwardia

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Fitzpatrick; Sophie Bell, Bahareh Amani; Edward Sharp; Sioned Wyn Roberts; Suzanne Bird; Farzana Chowdhury; Aneela Samrai


‘The housing team at Hodge Jones & Allen has evolved into the leader in tenants rights and social housing. The team is highly diverse and dedicated to securing the very best outcome for people subject to possession proceedings, advancing enforcement of housing conditions and standards and the effective representation of homeless persons.’

‘Jayesh Kunwardia is the head of the team and a true giant in the field. He has appeared in may cases in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal and has created a body of transformative law for tenants of social housing.’

‘Suzanne Bird is the go-to person for homelessness cases in the High Court. She is one step ahead in litigation and completely on top of the law. She is a confident and strong lawyer and loved by clients and understands their needs.’

‘Daniel Fitzpatrick is an excellent solicitor who is hard-working and secures the best outcome for his clients. Daniel heads the firm’s work at the interface of housing and the equality act with a portfolio of successful claims.’

‘Farzana Chowdhury is a tenacious lawyer and highly effective in securing repairs to dwellings of tenants and fighting for tenants rights. She has an extraordinary ability to connect with clients, to see the legal issues from the outset of the case and to clearly direct litigation in a way that achieves the very best possible outcome. Her knowledge of the law is second-to-none and she is a trusted pair of hands for large, complex housing cases.’

‘Edward Sharp is renowned in the sector for being able to take on complex disputes that involve property law issues. He works tirelessly for his clients. Aneela Samrai is very sharp and pleasant to work with. Sioned Wyn Roberts is very capable and extremely pleasant.’

‘HJA are clear leaders in the field of real estate, social housing. The entire team know their housing law inside out, they are excellent to work with, and they leave no stone unturned. They are very much client focused and always keen to go the extra mile. They are an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Hodge Jones & Allen is one of the leading firms for social housing representing tenants. I have worked with them off and on over many years. They cover the whole range of social housing law areas. This is a formidable team with a depth of experience, commitment to the area and skill.’

Key clients

Housing Law Practitioners Association

Core Participants of Grenfell Public Inquiry

Work highlights

  • Represented approximately 50 core participants who were victims of the Grenfell fire at the public inquiry, which covered a range of modules where their legal team made the bereaved and survivors’ view of the systemic failures, that lead to 72 deaths, plain to see.
  • Instructed by the Housing Law Practitioners Association on a pro bono basis to make an application to intervene in the Court of Appeal case Khan v Mehmood, successfully challenging the uplift in damages awarded to tenants in disrepair cases as per Simmons v Castle.
  • Advised clients in two cases concerning appeals under the Housing Act 1996 involving the refusal of housing assistants to survivors of domestic abuse with pre-settled status.


The social housing team at Osbornes is led by William Ford, a ‘standout‘ expert in all aspects of social housing who is ‘involved in cutting-edge cases in the higher courts as well as invaluable frontline work'. Ford is particularly notable in community care matters and its crossover with housing law, an area which is a growing specialism for the team. The team has demonstrable experience in advising clients on issues involving vulnerable clients who have claims against local authorities and housing associations. Senior associate Edward Taylor is dedicated to acting for disadvantaged individuals, particularly those who are homeless and individuals with mental health problems. The group has developed expertise in several specialist areas, such as advising EU nationals on their legal status and bringing challenges in asylum age assessment cases. Senior associate Alex McMahon has experience running Equality Act and human rights defences.

Practice head(s):

William Ford

Other key lawyers:

Edward Taylor; Alex McMahon; Muna Adam; Adele Pinkett


‘A large, experienced, and capable team with in-depth knowledge covering the entirety of housing and homelessness law, together with adjacent areas such as welfare benefits and community care.’

‘Will Ford is hands down one of the best housing lawyers out there. Clever, pragmatic, good with clients, reasonable with opponents, incredibly knowledgable and, as a result, extremely effective. His knowledge of welfare benefits and EU law, which is virtually unparalleled in the sector, as well as community care law, complements his housing and homelessness practice so as to make him truly unique.’

‘The social housing team at Osbornes is exceptional. The solicitors are highly competent, professional, and committed. It is pleasure to be instructed by them.’

‘Will Ford is a highly respected practitioner who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of housing law. He is extremely intelligent and very hard-working. He is involved in cutting-edge cases in the higher courts as well as invaluable frontline work and brings the same focus and dedication to both. Edward Taylor is also a brilliant and committed solicitor who is well-respected in this field.’

‘There are some incredibly committed and knowledgable lawyers, such as Will Ford. Their mix of private client work and legal aid means that legally aided clients are (unusually) able to access a professional and top-flight law firm and get treated with real respect.’

‘Will Ford is a stand-out expert and is incredibly dedicated to the field.’

‘Modern practice headed by Will Ford who has developed an excellent team. Able to take on the most difficult cases at short notice and prepare excellent electronic paperwork for the courts. Noted for a number of high-profile appellant cases in the last couple of years.’

‘Will Ford is a great lawyer who effortlessly takes on the most complex of cases and get excellent results for his clients. Adele Pinkett is excellent in dealing with vulnerable clients and equality act cases.’

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors offers representation across the full range of social housing matters, and the team is co-led by Bernadette Chikwe, who specialises in housing litigation and landlord and tenant housing matters, alongside Manjinder Kaur Atwal and Dianne Cowie. The social housing team handles cases related to possession and homelessness, disrepair, succession, unlawful evictions, and neighbourhood disputes. Associate Zuhal Saglam Bas is taking a lead role on neighbourhood disputes and litigation cases. The practice has developed an expertise in handling Equality Act defence cases, and a public law specialism representing both landlords and tenants in disputes, appeals, and judicial reviews. Chikwe regularly appears at the Central London County Court, along with Cowie, who also has experience at the High Court and the Supreme Court. Daljit Singh also handles a range of both contentious and non-contentious matters, from homelessness appeals in the County Court to claims for judicial review. The team has experience working with vulnerable clients, such as those with mental health conditions, terminal illnesses, or learning difficulties, and receives referrals from community organisations, domestic violence units, prisons, and detention centres.

Practice head(s):

Manjinder Kaur Atwal; Dianne Cowie; Bernadette Chikwe; David Head

Other key lawyers:

Zuhal Saglam Bas; Daljit Singh; Vincent Davis


‘Duncan Lewis has a dynamic social housing team with members from diverse backgrounds. It often represents migrants and other people whose first language is not English and go the extra mile for them.’

The structure allows good client care and casework using intelligent, committed paralegals in conjunction with expert solicitors. The firm is also willing to take on difficult cases and pursue new legal arguments to advance their client’s interests.’

‘I work regularly with several different solicitors and paralegals across Duncan Lewis’ social housing team and see a generally high standard.’

‘Instructions to counsel are clear and considered and they take a collaborative approach when instructing counsel to build a case and decide on the next steps.’

‘They stand out for commitment to client outcomes, seeking to find alternative solutions when difficulties arise with a case or clients present complex problems.’

‘Good knowledge and experience.’

‘Bernadette Chikwe is a personable and switched on instructing solicitor.’

‘The team has an excellent capacity, which is important given the constraints on legal aid. There also appears to be relatively good internal communication between paralegals, solicitors, and partners, which means cases can be handed over fairly seamlessly.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a widely reported Court of Appeal case regarding damages for repairing covenant breaches subject to the Simmons v Castle [2012] 10% uplift.
  • Acted for the claimant in Sharaky v Clearspring Ready Homes, an unlawful eviction matter transferred to the High Court.
  • Acted for the defendant in a possession claim sought on Ground 17 of the Housing Act 1998.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors

The team at Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors provides an ‘outstanding service’ to its clients across a wide range of social housing matters. The ‘quality of the members is uniformly extremely high'; Lesley Curtis is a ‘dedicated and tenacious litigator’ and Ann Bevington is ‘knowledgeable, intelligent, dedicated and thorough.’ The practice also has a strong team of juniors, including Rosie Gibbs and Beatrice Patrick. Rebekah Carrier joined Miles & Partners LLP in May 2023.


‘Hopkin Murray Beskine’s social housing team is among the best in the business. The team is relatively small, but the quality of the members is uniformly extremely high and, as well as providing an outstanding service to individual clients, they have long punched above their weight in terms of ground-breaking cases in the higher courts.’

‘Ann Bevington is one of the best solicitors I have worked with. She is knowledgeable, intelligent, dedicated and thorough, as well as being a pleasure to work with.

‘Lesley Curtis is a similarly dedicated and tenacious litigator and achieves fantastic results for her clients.’

Work highlights

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates

The social housing practice at Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, which sees the team specialise in a wide range of areas, including community care, mental health, and mental capacity law, which are particular areas of expertise for practice co-head and senior associate Michael Barrett. The team regularly advises clients with mobility impairments, disabilities, or mental illnesses, and also assists clients in custody. The firm has seen an increase in disrepair cases, as well as mandates in the higher courts; ‘highly experienced litigator' and practice co-head Keith Clarke boasts experience in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Keith Clarke; Michael Barrett

Other key lawyers:

William Ako


‘Burke Niazi are professional, polite, and always happy to deal with any queries and do so swiftly.’

‘I have dealt with Keith Clarke for some time. He is professional and has always given fantastic advice – 10/10.’

‘I felt that those with whom I engaged showed a very high level of empathy, understanding, and patience in handling the case.’

GT Stewart Limited

The social housing team at GT Stewart Limited provides clients with advice on possession proceedings, anti-social behaviour injunction proceedings, disrepair claims, unlawful evictions, and homeless duties. James Garvey leads the team alongside ‘excellent solicitor’ Claire Wiles, who represents a range of clients, including those with medical, social, or mental health issues, in appeals to the House of Lords and in Court of Appeal cases. Susan Gronbach has ‘a huge breadth and depth of experience’ across the full spectrum of social housing matters, such as possessions, homelessness, judicial review, and appeals. Sarah Mossop is a ‘pre-eminent disrepair practitioner’ and focuses on bringing disrepair claims for tenants and leaseholders against their social housing landlords.

Practice head(s):

Claire Wiles; James Garvey

Other key lawyers:

Susan Gronbach; Luke Sheldon; Sarah Mossop; Sarah Waller


‘Sarah Mossop is the pre-eminent disrepair practitioner in London. She has many decades of experience, exceptional judgment and excellent client care.’

‘Good commitment to representing vulnerable persons in need of legal assistance with their housing issues. Care and understanding demonstrated for each case so that the person receives appropriate representation.’

‘Sarah Waller is extraordinarily intelligent and careful in her consideration of each case. Sarah is prepared to go the extra mile to make sure that the client feels supported and listened to. This is crucial when dealing with vulnerable clients who may not easily trust lawyers or understand the legal system.’

‘Claire Wiles shows exceptional ability and commitment to clients.’

‘The housing team at GT Stewart go above and beyond for their clients. They handle cases with sensitivity and work tirelessly to help clients remain in their home. They understand the needs and vulnerabilities of some of their clients and tailor their approach to meet those needs.’

‘Luke Sheldon is an exceptional solicitor. His attention to detail is extremely impressive. He is sensitive to the needs of his clients and works with them to achieve a good result. He is a pleasure to work with and works in partnership with counsel. Claire Wiles is an excellent solicitor. Her knowledge of housing law is excellent.’

‘I have recently worked with Luke Sheldon and have been very impressed. Case preparation is of a high standard with care and attention to detail.’

‘Susanne Gronbach is an outstanding practitioner in the area of social housing with a huge breadth and depth of experience. She is committed to doing the best for her clients.’

Key clients

Princess Bell


Work highlights

  • Represented the Princess Bell in the High Court and obtained an injunction regarding the local authority’s failure to provide suitable temporary accommodation owed to homeless applicants.
  • Assisted a client with successfully challenging Southwark Council over their attempts to commit the client to prison for breach of an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction.
  • Assisted a client with securing £10,000 in damages for discrimination regarding Equality Act 2010 breaches.

Miles & Partners LLP

With over 30 years’ experience in social welfare law, Lou Crisfield leads the housing and community care team at Miles & Partners LLP and advises on disrepair, succession, and judicial review cases. Crisfield brings specialist knowledge of immigration law to advise on its intersection with housing. The team is expanding its public law work and Rajea Sultana is growing her advocacy practice to represent clients throughout possession and homelessness cases.

Practice head(s):

Lou Crisfield

Other key lawyers:

Rajea Sultana


‘Miles & Partners are at the top of their field in terms of representing tenants in housing law cases, particularly where they involve matters of public law. In particular, the quality of their written work and representation in s.204 appeals and pre-action letters is very high.’

‘Their knowledgeability, particularly in suitability challenges and judicial review challenges to allocation decisions shines through in the quality of their work. Their collaboration, both in terms of within the firm and in how they engage with counsel, is also worth highlighting. Their great reputation is well-earned.’

‘Rajea Sultana is a practitioner with a fantastic mix of experience and passion. She is able to spot issues at an early stage and can make a huge difference before a claim is even filed.’

‘Lou Crisfield is a very highly regarded practitioner in social housing law. She is experienced, knowledgeable, and is able to grapple with any difficult or unusual case that come her way. Her preparation for cases is impressively thorough and she leaves no stone unturned in seeking to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients.’

‘Miles & Partners has an exceptional housing department. There are few practitioners more experienced than Lou Crisfield, and she has trained the solicitors and paralegals to an extremely high standard. Miles & Partners is a go-to firm for tenants, drawing on the wide knowledge base and pragmatism of the team to achieve first-class outcomes for often profoundly vulnerable clients.’

‘Lou Crisfield is as safe a pair of hands as you are likely to find in the sector. She is tenacious, but at the same time remarkably calm and sensible. Similarly, Rajea Sultana does not shy away from difficult cases and often achieves more than seems possible.’

‘Lou Crisfield is a very experienced practitioner with a thorough knowledge of housing law. She uses her knowledge and experience to push clients’ cases as far as they can go under the law.’

‘Raja Sultana is known for her outstanding submissions on reviews and appeals, and is a LALY award winner. A brilliant and tenacious performer.’

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP's social housing team is actively involved in the Grenfell inquiry, and the firm has developed a specialism in cladding and building fire-safety. ‘Vastly experienced’ senior associate Caroline Brosnan and ‘tremendously efficient‘ associate Jodie Green have played key roles in the firm’s Grenfell work, as well as supervising the team’s Legal Aid matters alongside consultant Matilda Rubens. In 2022, the group used Legal Aid funding to appeal homelessness decisions in the County Court, challenge housing suitability through judicial reviews, and to defend possession and injunction proceedings. The team provides advisory and litigation support to vulnerable clients, and to housing co-operatives, a role Brosnan has taken over from Graham French since his move to consultancy.

Practice head(s):

Jason Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Brosnan; Jodie Green; Matilda Rubens; Tom Hopkins; Jack Crown; Graham French


‘The team has tremendous strength in depth, ensuring consistency of service and effective delegation, providing value for money.’

‘Graham French is wonderfully calm and has exceptional experience of the sector. Caroline Brosnan is extremely intelligent, diligent, and full of great insight. Jodie Green is an excellent team player and tremendously efficient.’

‘Russell Cooke’s social housing team is exceptional. Caroline Brosnan is a vastly experienced practitioner. The team have worked on the Grenfell Tower inquiry and various high-profile housing cases.’

‘Jack Crown is both tenacious and empathetic and has an impressively reassuring manner with often vulnerable clients.’

‘A modern practice headed by Caroline Brosnan who leads from the front and has a wealth of experience in social housing. Able to deal with complex urgent judicial review cases with aplomb.’

‘Caroline Brosnan is an incredible lawyer who is a member of the executive of the housing law practitioners. She is in tune with legal issues in this sector and able to identify and develop points of law in homelessness appeals and judicial review challenges. She now has a great team, including Tom Hopkins.’

‘Caroline Brosnan is a conscientious, reliable, and trustworthy lawyer of integrity. She has been nothing but supportive and reassuring; she patiently explained everything in a way that was simple yet thorough and made sure I felt protected and safe throughout the process.’

‘Caroline Brosnan and her colleague Tom Hopkins are the utmost professionals. They are very responsive and explained everything clearly, making sure I felt comfortable every step of the way with the process and eventual positive outcome. I appreciate their dedication and expertise in handling my challenging case. I highly recommend Caroline Brosnan and her team!’

Work highlights

  • Assisted a homeless client with being awarded full housing duty, having her children housed with her, obtaining compensation for unsuitable interim accommodation, and obtaining suitable temporary accommodation.
  • Assisting a Rent Act tenant with getting work done by their landlord and to get compensation for the poor living conditions they have had to endure because the property was not repaired earlier.
  • Advising a client who was being harassed by his landlord, including turning off the tenant’s heating and water supply, on having these services reinstated and negotiating with the landlord’s solicitors for damages.

TV Edwards Solicitors LLP

The social welfare and public law department at TV Edwards Solicitors LLP, co-led by Jacky Starling, draws on a range of specialisms within the practice to offer a holistic approach to clients' social housing mandates. The team specialises in homelessness and disrepair cases, as well as community care and Court of Protection matters. ‘Exceptionally intelligent and pragmatic' practice co-head Katie Brown is often instructed by the Official Solicitor to act in possession and injunction proceedings; the firm has noted a growing need for representation in possession proceedings for both social housing and private tenants, and in anti-social behaviour injunction proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Jacky Starling; Katie Brown

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Ford; Jennifer Marshall


‘Katie Brown is an exceptionally intelligent and pragmatic practitioner who was been involved in significant recent cases involving breathing spaces.’

‘TV Edwards has a very strong team representing social housing and private tenants. It is almost uniquely well-placed to deal with difficult cases for clients with complex needs given not only the strength of its community care, mental health and court of protection teams, but also the fact that many members of the housing team also work in these areas.’

‘The team is able to provide a truly holistic service to some of the most vulnerable clients, as a result of which it is often instructed by the Official Solicitor.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on a case in which the High Court considered the Debt Respite Scheme Regulations 2020 and, in particular, a Mental Health Crisis Memorandum.

Edwards Duthie Shamash

Edwards Duthie Shamash's offering encompasses advice on a full range of housing matters and the team is led by James Harrison, who has particular expertise in homelessness and allocation matters. The group is committed to Legal Aid work and has established connections with various advice agencies and charitable organisations.

Practice head(s):

James Harrison