Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Social housing in North


DWF advises affordable housing providers, local authorities, registered providers (RPs), and public bodies on the full spectrum of social housing services, including housing development, regeneration, home ownership disposals, s106 and infrastructure agreements. The Newcastle-based team includes 'strong and hard-working' Kelly Pearson, 'commercial' Lee Pickett, Marie Louise O’Hanrahan and Julie Polkey. Pickett co-heads the national public sector real estate team, while Pearson serves as head of the national affordable housing group. Right to acquire schemes, preserved right to buy and shared ownership disposals, and due diligence on development sites are frequent sources of work for the practice.

Practice head(s):

Kelly Pearson; Lee Pickett

Other key lawyers:

Marie Louise O’Hanrahan; Julie Polkey


‘Commercial, well-resourced, quick, and technically sound. DWF’s plans production service is innovative and very useful. They are easy to use and cost-effective.’

‘The day-to-day contact and availability of the team to discuss ongoing matters and all the ad hoc advice given to me as and when matters arise is great. The relationship built with all the team over the years has proven invaluable to me.’

‘The individuals I have dealt with over the years have been extremely helpful and engaging, they have always been there for me and have been a great help over the years, hence my staying with them for so long.’

Key clients

The Riverside Group Ltd

Places for People Group

The London Borough of Haringey

Karbon Homes Ltd

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust

One Manchester Limited

Southway Housing Trust

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Gentto Group

Selby District Council

Work highlights

  • Advised The Riverside Group Ltd on its extensive property development programme.
  • Assisted Places for People Group on its property management programme, which included the £1.2m disposal of tenanted older person’s accomodation and the £12 million disposal of a tenanted scheme of 130 units to RPs.
  • Advising Karbon Homes Ltd on property and development lots for the North East region.

Swinburne Maddison LLP

Swinburne Maddison LLP’s social housing team takes on a range of work, advising home providers on multiple acquisitions, and assisting local authorities on housing disrepair claims and applications for injunctions concerning anti-social behaviour. Practice co-chairs Victoria Walton and Kate Stephenson work on both contentious and non-contentious mandates concerning commercial and residential property development, as well as social housing. Head of the property litigation team David Low is regarded as a ‘sector expert on a range of housing management issues', including anti-social behaviour cases. Chris Ross specialises in setting up development sites for the purpose of disposals and sales. All named lawyers are based in Durham.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Walton; Kate Stephenson

Other key lawyers:

David Low; Chris Ross


‘I am impressed with David Low’s knowledge and experience. I feel very confident when he takes on a matter that he will give it his full attention and respond promptly.’

‘The practice provides us with a dedicated contact, David Low, who is a sector expert and gives us specialist housing advice on a range of housing management issues, from anti social behaviour cases, to tenancy management cases, hoarding and garden cases.’

‘The firm has a good knowledge of affordable housing, and good regional knowledge, which allows them to be more effective in their service delivery.’

‘Particular mention to Kate Stephenson and Victoria Walton who provide an excellent property service with pragmatic advice.’

‘Chris Ross, also in property, provides a great responsive service.’

‘Our key contact is Chris Ross who has an extensive knowledge of the various home ownership options. Chris is accessible to the team and delivers a quick turnaround of accurate documentation providing same day turnaround of contracts when necessary.’

‘A large firm but with the feel of a small firm when it comes service and excellence. Always provides value for money.’

‘Chris Ross always provides first class and reliable services. He fully understands the nuances and particular challenges faced by social housing providers and factors this knowledge into all advice and services provided.’

Key clients

Beyond Housing Limited

Karbon Homes Limited

Livin Housing

Leeds City Council

Believe Housing

Moving On Ltd

My Space Housing Solutions


Mulberry Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Beyond Housing Limited and other registered providers buying houses through the funds provided by Homes England under the empty homes programme.
  • Acting for a large local authority in connection with ongoing housing disrepair claims, with more than 2800 matters being handled to date.
  • Acting for Registered Providers across the North East and beyond in connection with a range of enforcement matters, primarily relating to possession cases based on anti-social behaviour and applications for injunctions.

Ward Hadaway LLP

Based in Newcastle, Ward Hadaway LLP’s cross-disciplinary social housing team frequently collaborates with the Leeds office to work with social housing providers in the North on regenerations, developments and disposals regarding affordable housing. Julia Thomson leads the social housing group in Newcastle, focusing on s106 agreements and acquisition of development sites. John Murray frequently works on policy, procedure and contentious matters for registered providers, while Kamran Hyder is the key adviser for planning infrastructure, funding and purchasing matters. Carolyn Akerman supports clients on contentious and non-contentious planning law issues and developments.

Practice head(s):

Julia Thomson

Other key lawyers:

Kamran Hyder; John Murray; Carolyn Akerman

Key clients

Livin Housing

Thirteen Group

South Lakes Housing

Yorkshire Housing

Karbon Homes Limited

Hellens Residential Limited

Mosscare St Vincent’s


Believe Housing Limited


Together Housing Association

Places for People Limited

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Social housing providers - both regional and national in scale - as well as local councils call upon Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s social housing team for its capabilities in tenancy management issues, shared ownership sales packs, mixed-use developments, regeneration infrastructure, and environment enhancement mandates. The team also conducts due diligence on site acquisitions for development projects. A specialist in the residential property investment advisory space, Nigel Emmerson serves as head of the Newcastle-based housing team, while Simon Rowland - who chairs the construction and engineering practice - advises government and public bodies, as well as local authorities, on construction projects, including large-scale regional residential property site acquisitions and care home facility developments. National real estate sector practitioner John Ralph advises clients on the full spectrum of property transactions, namely site disposals, acquisitions and due diligence for development purposes. Tom Willows is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Emmerson; John Ralph

Other key lawyers:

Simon Rowland; Tom Willows

Key clients

Bernicia Group

Home Group Limited

Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute

Leeds City Council

Rentplus UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Bernicia Group on a range of tenancy management issues including claims to possession, injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, committals for breach, and defending housing disrepair claims.
  • Acting as the main legal advisers to Rentplus UK Limited.
  • Advised Home Group on estates preparing shared ownership sales packs involving both apartments and houses from Home Group’s own developments and pepper-potted units bought from other developers.