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Social housing in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP's practice has a 'wide variety of strengths to support the social housing sector' and advises on affordable housing and private disposals, housing management issues and litigation. Ian Alderson possesses a 'sound knowledge' of housing and tenancy matters; Alistair Fletcher, who is 'incredibly experienced', heads up the housing and regeneration team; and Angela Clearkin leads the development group, with experience representing registered providers and charities. Lisa Robotham co-leads the  non-contentious home ownership team alongside Andrius Roos, who acts on commercial leases and site-set-ups. Peter Barlow has advised NHS bodies, local authorities and developers, and the 'commercially strong and pragmatic' Rupert Gill is noted for his governance advice to registered providers of social housing. Josephine Morton is also recommended.

Testimonials

‘The team have a wide variety of strengths to support the social housing sector. I have worked and engaged a number of their team for projects from development, finance and social housing.’

‘Very comprehensive range of real estate services with incredible experience.’

‘Brabners know our business and sector very well and so are able to offer a truly tailored service that meets our exact needs. This alone sets them apart from many of their competitors.’

‘Jo Morton – outstanding, thorough and understands client needs well. Has a high quality practice. Well regarded by the courts.’

‘I can’t speak more highly of this team in particular, Zoe Glacken and Josephine Morton. Zoe and Josephine are both extremely personable, never make you feel silly and are always willing to help or give advice and never make you feel like you are a nuisance.’

‘Rupert Gill – commercially very strong, pragmatic and honest assessment of potential opportunities. Ian Alderson- in depth knowledge and extremely pragmatic. Alistair Fletcher – incredibly experienced and excellent at seeing potentially hidden exposures/risks.’

‘Alistair Fletcher has useful knowledge to share freely on development and merger/acquisitions. Ian Alderson is great to deal with through provisions of practical support and ideas and a sound knowledge on housing/tenancy matters.’

Key clients

Torus62 Limited

The Riverside Group

Jigsaw Group

Onward Homes Limited

Regenda / Redwing Living

Cobalt Housing Limited

Castles and Coasts Housing Association

Arcon Housing Association

Together Housing

Your Housing

Work highlights

  • Acted for Riverside in three separate Environmental Protection Act (EPA) claims brought on the back of S.11 housing disrepair claims.
  • Advised AHA on it joining a group of companies with Bolton at Home.
  • Advising Torus62 Limited on its acquisition of Liverpool Football Club’s Melwood training ground.

Forbes Solicitors

Forbes Solicitors is 'a leading and growing social housing firm in the North West.' Stuart Penswick heads up the housing and regeneration team, with expertise in housing management and leasehold matters. Jennifer Hankinson is active in home ownership and development work, and Lachlan McLean is noted for his litigation experience as well as his 'excellent advice' on leasehold matters. Shirley Faragher and Daniel Milnes handle anti-social behaviour, and regulatory and governance mandates respectively. Sarah Rogers has expertise in housing management and anti-social behaviour issues, and Kirsty Varley is 'very experienced in court advocacy.'

Testimonials

‘Forbes offer exceptional customer service and advice – nothing is ever too much trouble and they consistently go above and beyond to help.’

‘The team based approach that delivers a one stop for Registered Providers is unusual and really beneficial. They have an attention to detail that is excellent but understand the industry and the needs of their clients.’

‘Forbes are a leading and growing social housing firm in the north west.’

‘Jennifer Hankinson is now managing the development team and performance has improved significantly as has their customer focus. Francesca James has helped us to resolve issues that we have had around highway agreements and adoptions. Her dedication, knowledge and hard work has provided significant benefits for our business.’

‘Kirsty Varley – she is very popular with clients, and has an impressive knowledge of housing law. She is also very experienced in court advocacy and is therefore able to provide a complete service to her social housing clients. Kirsty is hard-working, reliable and a wonderful individual to work with.’

‘Have had excellent work and advice from Lachlan McLean. He is exceedingly knowledgeable and always happy to explain things simply and in great detail on very complex areas of work.

‘The level of knowledge, and the level of service, that Lachlan McLean provides is outstanding. I can always rely on Lachlan to provide excellent advice – he has an extremely high work ethic and whatever he says he will do, he commits to.’

Key clients

Together Housing

Guinness Partnership

Riverside

Trafford Housing Trust

Community Gateway

Lincolnshire Housing Partnership

Mosscare St Vincent’s (MSV)

Onward

EMH

ONGO

Regenda

Progress Housing Association Limited

Torus

ACIS

Places for People

CHIC Framework

North West Legal Consortium

NEPO

Crown Commercial

Leeds Federated Housing

Work highlights

  • Instructed by THT & L&Q Developments LLP on the development of a former local authority site to provide residential units, a library, GP, pharmacy and public car park.
  • Acted for a housing association in obtaining an interim possession order against unknown persons who squatted in a former pub in Manchester scheduled for redevelopment.
  • Recently instructed by THT/Laurus Homes on the site set up and plot sales for a 171 unit site.

Knights plc

Knights plc's team 'has a wealth of experience' demonstrated by the breadth of the firm's social housing practice. Managing partner Simon Leighton is on the board of two housing associations - Forum Housing and Peaks & Plains Housing Trust. Melanie Dirom provides 'sound legal advice on a consistent basis' and is an expert in housing issues, tenancy enforcements and leasehold management matters; while Arthur Chapman acts on a broad range of social housing and regeneration matters including acquisitions, sales and building contracts; and Julie Loggenberg advises on accommodation which supports people with severe learning difficulties. Senior housing practitioner Jo Loake is also recommended.

Testimonials

‘They are very responsive to queries made and offer excellent advice regarding legal matters. We have had several high level cases which have been successful, in my opinion, in a great part due to the work that Knights have undertaken on our behalf.’

‘The team has a wealth of experience and are always on hand to assist where required.’

‘Melanie Dirom – Partner – quick to respond, nothing is too trivial to query and offer sound legal advice on a consistent basis.’

‘My main contact at Knights is Arthur Chapman who has many years of experience in this field, he is always my first port of call when seeking legal advice, particularly in respect of issues within the housing sector.’

Key clients

L&Q (London & Quadrant, Trafford Housing Trust)

Your Housing Group

Onward Homes

The Regenda Group

Sovini Group

ForViva

Jigsaw Group

Great Places Housing Group

Plus Dane Group

Torus

Irwell Valley Housing Association

Places for People

Progress Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Carried out a legal review for L&Q in order to ascertain comprehensive records of maintenance and fire safety liabilities in respect of 860 purpose built tower blocks owned or managed by L&Q.
  • Advised North Wales Housing on possession claims and injunctions for a property that had been taken over by drug users.
  • Acted for Irwell Valley on a linked office rationalisation program which involved action to close ancillary office locations.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP advises housing companies and housing associations on property transactions and major regeneration schemes. Suzanne Benson heads up the team and has a wide range of experience acting for  registered providers, local authorities and house builders; her expertise encompasses regeneration projects, new-build sales and leasehold management issues. Richard St John Williams leads the governance team within the wider practice, specialising in housing law and regulations. Janet Winrow acts on regeneration projects, while Melanie Comer advises housing provider clients on security issues, and associate Tom Wainwright advises on housing stock transfers and public/private projects.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Benson

Testimonials

‘The experience was very good.’ 

‘Melanie Comer and Nicola Almond  were both very professional.’

Key clients

Homes England

Clarion Group

Great Places Housing Group

Guinness Partnership

Community Gateway

Trafford Housing Trust

Regenda Group

First Choice Homes Oldham

Onward Homes

Jigsaw Group

Accent Group

Progress Housing Group

Plus Dane Group

One Manchester

Work highlights

  • Acted for Latimer, which is working in partnership with Peel Group and Glenbrook Property, on the delivery of a 280-apartment scheme at MediaCityUK in Salford.
  • Advising Homes England on the £66m re-procurement of its national network of Help to Buy Agents.
  • Supported Incommunities, one of the largest social housing providers in the UK, on its £250m maiden bond issuance and bank refinancing project.

BLM

BLM's practice is 'second to none when it comes to client commitment and overall case preparation.' The team is jointly led by Stephen Lintott and Matthew Hyam; Linott advises on development, planning and funding agreements for housing providers, and Hyam has a broad practice spanning social housing matters, housing management issues and litigation. Tessa Leonard is also a key figure with experience acting on development and regeneration projects as well as handling work for local councils on housing renewal schemes.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Lintott; Matthew Hyam

Other key lawyers:

Tessa Leonard; Collette McCauley

Testimonials

‘The team at BLM are second to none when it comes to client commitment and overall case preparation, management and progression.’

‘I hold BLM in the highest regard. They are the third solicitors I have dealt with in relation to disrepair cases. Their service is exceptional, and based on current performance I would not move away from them.’

‘The team is headed up by Matthew Hyam. Matthew is highly skilled litigator who exhumes an infectious confidence which permeates through the whole team. Having spoken with clients over the years, without exception all speak highly of Matthew and his team leadership. Alongside his leadership role he has his own caseload of complex and technical cases of significant value and complexity. Collette McCauley (Associate) has a long background in non-contentious housing matters, but has developed her practice into litigation specialising in leasehold and housing management disputes. She is particularly strong when she can drawn on her impressive knowledge on cases involving land dispute matters and allegations of nuisance.’

‘All of the individuals I have dealt with have been very professional, knowledgeable and helpful. They are very good at explaining any legal jargon so myself and colleagues fully understand each case.’

Key clients

Urban Splash

First Choice Homes

The Riverside Group

Halton Housing Trust

Places for People Group

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

Wolverhampton Homes

Clarion Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

Phoenix Community Housing Group

Lancaster City Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for Wolverhampton City Council in the dismissal of two separate appeals made by joint tenants against a possession order.
  • Represented Halton Housing in a complex hoarding possession case involving the Official Solicitor.
  • Successfully obtained an order striking out a claim brought against Clarion Housing Group involving issues of housing disrepair, personal injury, disability discrimination and breaches of human rights.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP acts on various matters in the social housing field including anti-social behaviour issues, disrepair claims and lease and tenancy agreement mandates. Lindsay Felstead is the head of team and has notable contentious experience; she regularly acts in housing management matters including committal proceedings and anti-social behaviour injunctions.

Practice head(s):

Lindsay Felstead

Testimonials

‘The knowledge of the social housing industry is exceptional and the team has strong leadership in Lindsay Felstead. She ensures that all the team practice to her own high standards. They are all very approachable and personable.’

 

Key clients

Housing Plus (aka South Staffordshire Housing & Severnside)

Sovereign

One Manchester

Plus Dane Housing

PA Housing

Clarion

Regenda

The Guinness Partnership

Community Housing Group

Honeycomb (aka Staffordshire Housing)

Work highlights

  • Represented Phoenix Community Housing in striking out several claims issued by a former tenant.
  • Acted for Framework Housing Association in obtaining a without notice injunction order.
  • Acted for South Staffordshire Housing Association in obtaining an injunction order for offensive comments regarding employees to be removed from the tenant’s website.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's practice advises registered providers, landowners, residential developers and local authorities. The team is led by Helen Robinson, whose expertise lies in housing regeneration schemes; she has assisted local authorities, developers and housing associations. Scot Morrison undertakes procurement issues seeking to secure joint venture partners and investors in order to ensure housing deliveries, and Mike Pocock  acts for public and private sector clients on social housing mandates.

Practice head(s):

Helen Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Scot Morrison; Mike Pocock

Testimonials

‘The practice has rounded and balanced experience of affordable housing, as they act for the public sector partners but also act for private sector bodies involved in development. This gives Pinsent Masons the edge over other firms who mainly act for one side or another.’

‘The standard of advice throughout the team is stronger with Pinsent Masons. Even with more junior team members, the quality of service and experience in general is higher than competitors.’

Key clients

Heylo Housing Group Limited

BoKlok Housing Limited

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Legal & General Affordable Homes

Homes England

Transport for Greater Manchester

London Borough of Harrow

HIMOR (Carrington) Limited

Keepmoat Homes Limited

Manchester City Council

Morgan Sindall Investments Limited

Rowlinson Constructions Limited

London Legacy Development Corporation

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Heylo Housing on all of its site purchases from both a property and planning perspective.
  • Appointed to BoKlok Housing’s legal panel and recently completed two of its first transactions in the UK, in Worthing and Swindon.
  • Advising Rochdale Boroughwide Housing on its College Bank and Lower Falinge development scheme.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP displays a 'first-class, in-depth knowledge of social housing and leasehold issues.' Jonathan Cox co leads the team. He has a wide range of experience advising the firm's housing association clients on housing legislation and regulation. Lucy Worrall co leads alongside Cox, and brings an expertise in development and regeneration matters. Senior associate Catherine Simpson is 'extremely knowledgeable and reliable.' 

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Cox; Lucy Worrall

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Simpson

Testimonials

‘Extremely professional service and always available at the end of the telephone of via email to provide sound legal advice. The practice is knowledgeable and reliable and responds in a timely manner.’

‘We can rely on first-class, in-depth knowledge of social housing and leasehold issues. When relying on a legal partner this is a huge strength as we know the advice we receive is rock solid, based on real-life experience and not just from a book. This sets ACS apart from others in the sphere.’

‘The primary lawyer I have dealt with is Catherine Simpson. Catherine has a wealth of strengths; she is extremely knowledgeable and reliable, and responds to complicated governance issues immediately. Her professional attitude and her ability to explain the complexities around governance issues is of an extremely high standard. Catherine is very helpful and friendly and willing to assist in whatever matter I ask of her. Catherine also delivered training to our Board on charity law which was extremely well received and commented upon favourably by our members who found the session and the information imparted by Catherine to be useful in their role as Board members.’

‘Jonathon Cox has a unique blend of vast and technical expertise and hands-on knowledge combined with an approachable, friendly manner. He stands out as one of those rare experts who is a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Trafford Housing Trust Limited

Irwell Valley Housing Association

Housing Plus

Stafford & Rural

The Guinness Housing Partnership

Great Places Housing Group

Knowsley Housing Group

The Riverside Housing Group

Salix Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Trafford Housing Trust as it joined the L&Q Group as a subsidiary.
  • Advised Guinness on significantly reducing the cost, time and paperwork in relation to gas and electricity suppliers by engaging with residents.
  • Advised Clarion Housing Group Limited on the procurement of 20-year planned maintenance contracts.

MSB Solicitors

MSB Solicitors is 'very much at the forefront of the housing market' and advises on social housing regulations and developments. The team is jointly led by Thomas Knox and Louise Murphy; Knox provides a 'personal service that is tailored' to his clients' needs, handles leasehold management issues, and governance and regulation matters, and advises social housing providers on the impact of welfare reforms on rents. Murphy is 'honest and efficient', known for her work representing tenants in disrepair, homelessness and possession proceedings. Jenna Tym's expertise focuses on injunction and possession proceedings involving anti-social behaviour.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Knox; Louise Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Jenna Tym

Testimonials

‘Extensive experience and knowledge in the sector and incredibly responsive to our requirements. With other firms we’ve engaged, we have had to chase them for updates, we have always found the complete opposite with MSB.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable on housing matters.’

‘The solicitors/staff at MSB are very knowledgeable, very professional and nothing is to much trouble for them, their response is always very quick. We have had many good outcomes to legal disrepair cases that they have undertaken for us.’

‘The team is very much at the forefront of the housing market in the North of England and rightly so. It has an in-depth knowledge of all housing matters ranging from anti-social behaviour to disrepair.’

‘Jenna Tym who again has proved to be very approachable, knowledgeable, trustworthy and likeable.’

‘Tom provides a very personal service that is tailored to our needs. It often feels that Tom is in fact one of our team. He is always honest with his advice and always works for what is best for us. Due to the advice, guidance, knowledge and representation, we have never lost a case in court.’

Key clients

Arches Housing Limited

Arcon Housing Association Limited

Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council

Bamboo Lettings

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Brighter Futures

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council

Care Housing Association

Cheshire West and Chester

City South Manchester Housing Trust

Clarion Housing Association

Community Gateway Housing

Connect Housing

Eastlands Homes

Eden Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised a housing provider on and re-drafted the occupancy agreements across the client’s general needs social housing stock, circa 12,000 properties following the creation of a new registered provider after the merger of two separate providers.
  • Acted for a client on a without notice application to exclude a tenant from a high rise property due to setting a number of fires pursuant to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014.
  • Provided training to a client’s Executive Board on the introduction of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 on how to minimise the risk of future disrepair claims and ensure effective compliance with the new implied duties on landlords.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Stephensons Solicitors LLP's social housing practice has a 'wealth of experience and knowledge'. David Baybut co-leads the team and has experience representing housing developers and builders. Fellow co-head Louise Hebborn acts for local authorities, housing associations, builders and landlords, and co-head Philip Richardson is also a key name to note. Chris Graves advises on residential property developments.

Other key lawyers:

Chris Graves

Testimonials

‘The regional/local knowledge of the team and clear familiarity with the client and how the client ran transactions was a positive. They had a good working knowledge and partnership with their client which enabled transactions to run smoothly as a result. They were also good at mobilising their staff on project work and we found them to be responsive.’

‘Wealth of experience and knowledge.’

‘Specialist knowledge in the SSH sector and accessibility of senior staff.’

‘The partners and associates I have worked with have been personable and collaborative in their approach to transaction management.’

Key clients

South Liverpool Homes

Fairhome Group PLC

Kirklees Council

My Space Housing Solutions

Houses for Homes Ltd

Partners Foundation Limited

Change Housing

Quay Housing

Encircle Housing

Leeds Housing Federation

1st Enable Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Change Housing in relation to it being granted 17 leases on a portfolio of care home properties.
  • Acted for South Liverpool in preparing new leases and supporting documents on a new site for development that consists of 22 apartments being sold on a mixture of outright sale and shared ownership leases.
  • Instructed by My Space Housing Solutions on a 25 year lease for supported living accommodation.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP's social housing practice is led by Sian Evans, who principally acts on housing management matters including disrepair claims and anti-social behaviour issues. She is ably supported by Thomas Starkey, who handles developments, regeneration issues and home ownership work. Principal associate Matthew Wilson has represented landlords in possession claims and committal proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Sian Evans

Testimonials

‘The Weightmans Team are always keen to assist in any matter regardless of its complexity. They are reliable, always available and always perform well.’

‘Sian Evans as a partner is extremely knowledgeable and always available for ad-hoc advice or assist with more complex matters.’

‘Thomas Starkey and Beth Williams are both very knowledgeable and keen to assist with any matters that we request assistance with. They are both very personable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Matt Wilson is very thorough and his knowledge of the law is exceptional.’

 

Key clients

The Sovini Group

Jigsaw Housing Group

Torus Housing Group

Forviva (City West)

Halton Housing Trust

Clarion Housing Group

The Guinness Partnership

Regenda Housing Group

Pierhead Housing Association (Prima Group)

Plus Dane Housing Group

Capsticks LLP

Capsticks LLP's team is 'reliable and adaptable' and acts on housing and leasehold management issues, asset management work and development mandates. Michael Owen heads up the national practice from Winchester, while Paul Lloyd, who operates out of the Chorley office, handles housing management and regeneration matters. The firm is also noted for its cross-sector expertise encompassing the housing and health industries, advising on health, social care and housing matters.

Practice head(s):

Michael Owen

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lloyd; Tom Bradbury; Ian Larkins

Testimonials

‘The team at Capsticks are reliable and adaptable. They can act at short notice and go over and above in regard to getting the job done. They give helpful honest advice putting the customer first.’

‘Capstick’s are very good solicitors. They have a very good team of solicitors and paralegals. They also have very good support from their back office to provide an excellent service for our needs. Overall Capsticks are a very professional company.’

‘The team is very strong, it has many capable individuals at all levels which is reflected by the growing client base. It is gaining clients that other firms are losing due to its reputation as a leading firm but also due to the personalities of the team. All are approachable, friendly and team players.’

‘We work with Tom Bradbury and Paul Lloyd, both are reliable and helpful. They go over and above in regard to service. They are helpful and honest and provide a regular free surgery to assist with cases.’

‘Ian Larkins is a very professional solicitor and conducts cases very diligently. He is very thorough and always provides information and advice in a structured manner. Overall an excellent solicitor for our requirements. Paul Lloyd leads on Disrepair for Capsticks. Paul’s knowledge is very very good; he is the go to person when an answer to a question or query is needed. Overall he provides support and assistance to the whole set up of Capsticks and ensures a good level of service is provided to One Vision Housing.’

‘Ian Larkins is a new addition to the team but has a large client following and is well respected and liked. The team is lead by a strong leadership team who is thought of as leaders in the social housing field.’

Key clients

Mosscare St Vincent

One Vision Housing

Stonewater

New Charter Homes

Wandle Housing Association

Onward

Villages Housing Association

Great Places Housing Group

ForHousing

Work highlights

  • Acted for Mosscare St Vincent when a tenant’s solicitors knowingly served at an old address and entered judgement in default. Applied to have it set aside, securing costs and ultimately successfully defended through to the final trial.
  • Acted for Great Places Housing Group in a drug dealing matter. In this instance possession was sought on the back of a conviction.
  • Represented ForHousing in bringing possession proceedings against the child of a tenant.