Social housing in North West

Brabners LLP

With ‘great commercial understanding’ and ‘a refreshingly approachable’ team, Brabners LLP is a go-to name for registered providers at a regional and national level. The group is notably experienced in housing management, property and governance issues and also handles procurement work, employment work and construction mandates; the team is also active in litigation encompassing disrepair claims, anti-social behaviour issues and possession proceedings. Alistair Fletcher heads up the social housing sector group and Ian Alderson acts as head of the housing and regeneration department, while Angela Clearkin leads the development team. Other key names include Lisa Robotham and Andrius Roos, who jointly lead the homeownership practice, governance specialist Rupert Gill, contentious housing management expert Josephine Morton, and Peter Barlow, who heads up the Manchester housing and regeneration team.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Fletcher; Ian Alderson; Angela Clearkin; Lisa Robotham; Andrius Roos; Peter Barlow

Other key lawyers:

Rupert Gill; Josephine Morton


‘Great commercial understanding alongside legal advice.’

‘Peter Barlow – Excellent lawyer. Understands what we need.’

‘Stand out partners are Alastair Fletcher and Rupert Gill. Key qualities: experience, ability to combine commercial, charitable and regulatory expertise to suit a mixed use group of entities.’

‘Ian Alderson is superb in his field on housing. Great technical knowledge and one of the canniest negotiators around. To the point, speaks in language everyone understands.’

‘Josephine Morton (Jo) is an outstanding lawyer. Her tactical nouse and knowledge of social housing law is second to none. You know what you get with Jo; the very best in legal advice and service. She is, in my view, one of the best in the business.’

‘Excellent communication generally, seek to understand broader operating environment and strategic challenges and able to combine commercial expertise with an understanding of the regulatory environment.’

‘A market leader in social housing Law. A beast of a team! With the Brabners social housing team you get the very best. They carry the stamp of quality. Their clients are at the heart of everything they do and they have a fantastic relationship with all they work with. You are in the best possible hands with this firm. I cannot recommend them highly enough.’

‘Brabners’ teams display excellent capabilities, experience and expertise in relation to the operation of Housing Associations and affordable property development. They are a market leader in relation to governance in the sector.’

Key clients

Progress Housing Association Limited

One Vision Housing Limited

Prima Group (Pierhead Housing Association Limited and Leasowe Homes)

Torus62 Limited

Jigsaw Homes

ForHousing Limited (FH)

North West Housing Services Ltd (NWHS) and various housing co-operatives

Cobalt Housing Association

Plus Dane

Warrington Housing Association

Your Housing

South Liverpool Homes

Leeds Federated

Work highlights

  • Advised Pierhead Housing Association on the proposed transfer of engagements of Leasowe Community Homes to the Association, including governance, banking, employment, pensions and securitisation advice.
  • Advised Torus62 Limited in connection with a claim for disrepair made by a tenant.
  • Advised Jigsaw Homes on the acquisition of a development site for 131 affordable modular units.

Forbes Solicitors

Forbes Solicitors’ ‘fantastic team of legal experts’ demonstrates ‘professionalism that is second to none’ across the full breadth of mandates, acting for registered providers including Together Housing, Riverside and Places for People. Stuart Penswick leads the housing and regeneration litigation team, while Daniel Milnes focuses on governance, procurement and regulatory issues, and Jonathan Holden advises on employment-related matters. Lachlan McLean is a key contact for leasehold work and Shirley Faragher handles housing management mandates. Clients also single out ‘absolute star’ senior associate Amy Stirton. Housing management specialists Sarah Savage and Kirsty Varley were both promoted to the partnership in mid-2021, and former group co-head Jennifer Hankinson departed to Capsticks LLP.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Penswick; Daniel Milnes; Jonathan Holden; Lachlan McLean; Shirley Faragher

Other key lawyers:

Amy Stirton; Sarah Savage; Kirsty Varley


‘They know and understand the Housing Sector which makes having to explain things to them much simpler. They are a very friendly team, and easy to approach with a broad range of knowledge so can respond to pretty much any query you might have, and if the person you are talking to doesn’t know the answer, they know someone who does!’

‘The team are very friendly, open and honest. They can respond to quite complex issues in a very straight forward manner, ensuring that their advice is appropriate for their audience. Lachlan McLean is amazing as he knows the answer to all your really weird housing related queries!’

‘Amy Stirton is an absolute star, she is very knowledgeable, provides clear and up-to-date advice, she is polite, friendly and will go the extra mile for you.’

‘I would like to mention Shirley Faragher in particular. Knowledgeable and approachable, she is superb and always my first option in considering instruction. Shirley ‘thinks outside the box’ offering solutions, fully explaining her reasoning and achieves amazing outcomes.’

‘Amy Stirton from Forbes is one of the best solicitors I have used within my career. She is friendly, confident in what she does, knowledgeable, reassuring and an excellent member of the Forbes team.’

‘The team at Forbes are extremely knowledgeable, calm, friendly and trustworthy.’

‘Absolutely fantastic solicitors with a wonderful work ethic. Their professionalism is second to none. Instructions are dealt with swiftly and to a very high standard. Their expertise is excellent across the Property and Development spectrum.’

‘The team always provide excellent customer service, taking the time to understand your requirements and are solution focused.’

Key clients

Together Housing

Guinness Partnership


Trafford Housing Trust

Community Gateway

Linconshire Housing Partnership

Mosscare St Vincent’s (MSV)





Places for People




South Yorkshire Housing

Work highlights

  • Advising on a joint venture development on land to be acquired through the developer from a local authority in a high profile regeneration project.
  • Obtained a warrant of eviction for a registered provider, which was the first in the country to take place during the course of the eviction restrictions and since the ‘Eviction Ban’ had come into force.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s affordable housing group ‘offers a responsive and professional service to social housing clients’ and has ‘a broad understanding of the drivers, constraints and legal complexities of regulated social housing businesses’. The team counts notable housing associations and local authorities on its client roster, alongside investors and new market entrants. Practice head Suzanne Benson focuses on substantial projects and the development of homeownership products, while Richard St John Williams heads up the governance work. Other key practitioners include Melanie Comer, who is joint head of the firm’s national real estate finance security team, asset management specialist Janet Winrow, and real estate litigator Lynn James. At senior associate level, Tom Wainwright is active in structuring and constitutional work.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Benson

Other key lawyers:

Richard St John Williams; Melanie Comer; Janet Winrow; Lynn James; Tom Wainwright


‘The team work well together, across a range of specialisms, to offer a responsive and professional service to Social housing clients. They share a broad understanding of the drivers, constraints and legal complexity of regulated social housing businesses, and this, combined with the detailed knowledge and experience of each field, results in an efficient and effective service.’

‘Practical, pragmatic, up-to-date knowledge, industry experience. Energy and drive.’

‘Long-standing relationship with the sector and involvement in lots of cross-sector work on new initiatives.’

Key clients

Community Gateway Association

Latimer Developments Limited/Clarion Housing Association

Vivid Housing Limited

Incommunities Limited

The Guinness Partnership Limited


Progress Housing Group

Salix Homes

Broadway Living RP Limited

Warwick District Council

JV North Limited

Aurora Options and Lewisham Nexus Service

L&G Affordable Homes

Monmouthshire Housing Association

MSV Housing

Plus Dane

believe housing

Work highlights

  • Acted for Community Gateway in connection with the acquisition of a site from Homes England for the construction of over 200 units including Affordable Housing and an extra care facility.
  • Advised Progress Housing Group on the process of Reside Housing Association joining its group as a subsidiary.
  • Advised Salix Homes on a development agreement with English Cities Fund, an agreement for lease and lease with Salford City Council and a Grant Funding Agreement with the GMCA.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has continued its growth trajectory since the establishment of its Manchester office in 2019 with the recruitment of Suzanne Gregson from Brabners LLP in early 2021, who now leads the housing litigation and management practice, and Thomas Starkey from Weightmans LLP later in the same year, who focuses on development and regeneration work. Acting for a key client base of registered providers, the team is particularly active in governance, property, development, leasehold and litigation mandates. Jonathan Cox  and Lucy Worrall  also lead the group, and Catherine Simpson is the key name at senior associate level.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Cox; Lucy Worrall; Suzanne Gregson

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Starkey; Catherine Simpson

Key clients

The Riverside Group

The Guinness Partnership

Orbit Group

Salix Homes Limited

Trafford Housing Trust Limited

Irwell Valley Housing Association


Clarion Housing Group

Connexus Group

Together Housing Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Connexus Group on simplifying its group structure, involving merging four registered providers into one.
  • Acted for Clarion Housing Group in numerous disrepair cases across the North West.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Under the leadership of Lindsay Felstead, Clarke Willmott LLP’s North West team is highly regarded for its housing management expertise and has grown its strength in construction-related mandates. The practice is also recognised for its anti-social behaviour order, possession claim, disrepair claim and policy and procedure experience. Within the team, Felstead focuses on non-contentious work and James Driver leads the contentious construction expertise.

Practice head(s):

Lindsay Felstead

Other key lawyers:

James Driver


‘The Housing Management Team at Clarke Willmott are all equally competent and always provide an excellent service. We can approach any member of the team and know that they will be able to offer support and guidance on any housing management issue no matter what the issue is.’

‘Knowledgeable and always advises on the best solution/outcome for the case.’

Key clients

Plus Dane Housing

Mosscare St Vincent’s



Onward Homes



Homes Plus

Your Housing


Work highlights

  • Advised Your Housing on legal options to remove travellers from an unauthorised site – resulting in urgent injunction and possession proceedings.
  • Successfully defended a disrepair claim and EPA prosecution for a client.
  • Advised and successfully secured an injunction order with power of arrest for Paragon Asra Housing Limited, relating to noxious chemicals and substances being made in a property.

Clyde & Co

Following its merger with BLM in mid-2022, the team which is now part of Clyde & Co ‘understands the social housing market in the context of the legal network’ and provides a ‘methodical approach’ to social landlords on property, commercial, development and employment work; the group also handles financial and governance mandates and procurement issues. Stephen Lintott heads up the team and is highly regarded for his housing project expertise, while Tessa Leonard handles development and regeneration projects, acting for North West councils and residential developers.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Lintott

Other key lawyers:

Tessa Leonard


‘Understand the social housing market in the context of the legal network which helps us get a better outcome.’

‘They have a good understanding of our business. Their quality of work is second to none. They are methodical and deliver on time. They are upfront and honest about timescales.’

‘The team has a good mix of junior and senior associates, all of whom have a detailed knowledge of this practice area. This is reflected by the wide range of clients who use their services but also the results that they achieve when litigating.’

Key clients

Urban Splash

Salboy and related entities

The Riverside Group

Halton Housing

Places for People Group

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

Notting Hill Genesis

Clarion Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

Phoenix Community Housing Group

Lancaster City Council

Greatwell Homes

Grwp Cynefin

Leeds Federated Housing Association

Ross Walk

Maynard Housing Association

Gloucester City Homes

Work highlights

    Weightmans LLP

    Fielding a team that is ‘always on the ball and knows the minute detail of every claim’, Weightmans LLP acts for a growing roster of housing associations with key examples including Clarion Housing Group, Gentoo and Midland Heart. The team handles the full spectrum of public sector and social housing work spanning real estate issues, litigation, employment work and financing mandates. Sian Evans leads the group, which benefits from the expertise of principal associate Matthew Wilson .

    Practice head(s):

    Sian Evans

    Other key lawyers:

    Matthew Wilson


    ‘Its the people for me. I regularly spoke on the telephone with the solicitors from Weightmans, they were dealing with numerous cases for me and they were always on the ball and knew the minute detail of every claim they were dealing with.’

    ‘Matthew Wilson in particular knew the finer details of every claim he looked after for us. He actively tries to understand building pathology issues and so regularly challenges the other sides statements.’

    ‘Weightmans’ social housing team provide a service which is unique by combining a down-to-earth approach with an exceptional level of knowledge and a wealth of experience. The whole team can be trusted with cases of the utmost complexity. They are able to quickly get to the heart of the issues in a case and explain it to clients in a straightforward matter.’

    ‘Sian Evans (Partner) is a very good litigator. She quickly grapples with the legal issues in a case and distils the strengths and weaknesses to enable her to form a clear strategy on how to achieve her client’s aims. Commercially, Sian is astute and pragmatic and understands the need to ensure that litigation is conducted proportionately. From a client care perspective, she quickly instils confidence and takes away the worry from her clients – they immediately know that they will be in good hands.’

    ‘Matthew Wilson (Principal Associate) is an outstanding member of the team. Matthew has a wealth of experience in disrepair litigation in particular and displays a depth of knowledge which puts him way ahead of his competitors. At an early stage, he focuses on gathering the necessary evidence to put his client in the best possible position at trial. He is very good at managing client’s expectations and putting them at ease in the litigation process.’

    ‘Sian Evans has had a long career in the social housing sector and continues to be respected as a leader in that specialism. Key other team members include Matthew Wilson.’

    Key clients

    Midland Heart


    Clarion Housing Group

    Magenta Living

    Jigsaw Homes Group



    The Guinness Partnership

    Liverpool Jewish Housing Association

    Harbour Light Assisted Living

    Work highlights

    • Acting for a PRS subsidiary of a Registered Provider client in a number of acquisitions of existing tenanted stock and new build stock to assist with building a PRS portfolio and block management programme.
    • Instructed to represent Midland Heart in a long-standing claim for housing disrepair against a social landlord by a tenant.
    • Instructed to advise on the securitisation of some of One Vision Housing Limited’s housing stock with Yorkshire Building Society.

    MSB Solicitors Ltd

    MSB Solicitors Ltd’s ‘results-driven team leaves no stone unturned’ on social housing and regeneration mandates including regulatory issues and development work. Louise Murphy heads up the group and is active in contentious issues, Andrew Moore leads the anti-social behaviour and leasehold team, and Phillip Coburn is head of the market rents practice. Moore and Coburn were promoted to the partnership in early 2022.

    Practice head(s):

    Louise Murphy; Andrew Moore; Phillip Coburn

    Other key lawyers:

    Andrew Fairman; Amy Tagoe


    ‘MSB absolutely lives up to its name. All the team go above and beyond and will do their upmost to get the best result. There are no other firms that we deal with that come close to MSB in terms of their professionalism, work ethos, everything they do. They have kept us right up to date with changes in housing law during the pandemic. The whole team are a joy to work with.’

    ‘Louise Murphy is just incredible. She will always try and find solutions that aren’t immediately obvious, always goes above and beyond to achieve the best outcome, very flexible approach, thinks outside of the box, always looking for ways to achieve the best outcome. Extremely hard working. Is very clear with expected outcomes.

    Andrew Moore is another example of someone who goes above and beyond, they don’t see things in black and white and it is clear when we are working with them that we are not just another client. They actually care about what we care about. They immerse themselves in casework and it is clear that they understand all aspects of the case when they are giving advice.’

    ‘In my role, I deal with Phil Coburn and Andy Moore on a regular basis. Both have a hands on approach to supporting us, and never refuse to take a phone call, even late in the evening. Both Phil and Andy are never afraid to challenge what would be considered the norm. They are always honest in their appraisal of a situation, which allows us to weigh up the route that we wish to take.’

    ‘Louise Murphy is primarily my go to, she will put me in touch with the partner best suited to helping, depending on the matter. Andrew Fairman has been invaluable in offering his support and giving advice when it comes to options and best practices in compliance. Amy Tagoe is my go to for injunctions, Amy seamlessly pulls together the information and has been successful in obtaining injunctions for access in some particularly difficult cases.’

    ‘Louise Murphy, Amy Tagoe, Andrew Fairman and Andy Moore are all very approachable, give excellent legal advice and we have developed a very high level of trust and confidence in them all. They respond to all our queries in a timely manner. As far as we are concerned, colleagues at MSB feel very much like an extension to our team.’

    ‘Both Amy Tagoe and Louise Murphy are experts in their fields when it comes to housing disrepair in particular. The reason for this being that they have both operated in this area for a number of years and have a knowledge and experience that not many others can claim. Because of this they are very well respected when it comes to all things disrepair.’

    ‘A very personal approach to the handling of cases. The team are always on hand to take our calls and provide information/support at the drop of a hat.’

    Key clients

    One Manchester Limited

    Wythenshawe Community Housing Group

    Trafford Housing Trust

    The Riverside Group

    Progress Housing Association Limited

    Irwell Valley Housing Association

    Unity Housing

    South Yorkshire Housing Association

    Yorkshire Housing Limited

    Arcon Housing Association

    Bamboo Lettings

    Bolton Council

    Brighter Futures Housing Association

    Community Gateway Housing Association

    Connect Housing

    Magenta Living

    Parkway Green Housing Trust

    Plus Dane Housing

    Weaver Vale Housing Trust

    Westfield Housing Association Limited

    Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

    Calico Homes

    The Regenda Group

    Ongo Homes

    Onward Housing

    Willow Park Housing Trust

    Castles & Coasts Housing Association

    Redwing Housing

    Wakefield and District Housing Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised Peaks and Plains Housing Trust on the apportionment of service charges and sinking funds.
    • Advised Progress Housing Association Limited regarding asset management and income generation within the social housing legal and regulatory framework specifically relating to a former warden property attached to the client’s sheltered housing scheme.
    • Instructed by One Manchester to proceed with possession proceedings due to anti-social behaviour whereby the tenant was disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

    Capsticks LLP

    Capsticks LLP acts for a substantial client roster of registered providers and is particularly active in housing, leasehold and asset management work, developments, corporate issues and construction mandates. Paul Lloyd leads the Chorley-based practice and counts local and national housing associations on his client list, while legal director Jennifer Hankinson focuses on developments and property transactions; Hankinson joined the team from Forbes Solicitors in mid-2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Paul Lloyd

    Other key lawyers:

    Jennifer Hankinson


    ‘Capsticks are incredibly responsive and customer focused.’

    ‘Jen Hankinson is an exceptional solicitor whom I have used for many years. She puts the customers first and instils this in her colleagues. Her knowledge of Property law, and in particular Housing is superb.’

    ‘Great team, always available when needed and get back to us really quickly with really helpful honest advice.’

    ‘I have been impressed by how they have responded to our requests and I have always been signposted to someone quickly that has been able to deal with what has been asked of them.’

    ‘They are approachable and explain things clearly, not just to me as a fellow lawyer but to client departments which is extremely valued. They have been able to pick their way through the problems and get to the nub of the issue and quickly offer sensible solutions. I really enjoy working with them.’

    ‘Capsticks have a large, well resourced team with a wide variety of clients across the housing sector. They have strong advocacy skills.’

    Key clients

    Bolton at Home

    South Lakes Housing

    Laurus Homes

    Jigsaw Homes

    One Vision Housing




    Onward Homes

    One Manchester

    Work highlights

    • Advising a social housing provider on the security charging to support its first sustainability-linked private placement to secure £145m from four funders to assist with its strategy to build 1,400 new homes over the next five years.
    • Representing Jigsaw Homes in a possession claim in relation to hoarding and a tenant with severe mental health issues.
    • Assisted Jigsaw Homes with an injunction application against a tenant who engaged in persistent racist abuse and criminal damage, and is known to have mental health issues.