Firms To Watch: Social housing

Sharratts (London), a boutique firm based in Kent, specialises in acquisitions and developments in the affordable housing sector, with a large client list of registered providers in the South East and London.

Social housing in South East

Birketts LLP

Following the merger of Batchelors with Birketts LLP in April 2023, the Bromley-based offering has been considerably strengthened. The team demonstrates considerable expertise in obtaining injunction orders, as well as advising on a range of matters relating to the development of affordable housing. Managing partner Thaine Wilson is well regarded for his expertise in contentious housing matters, including possession proceedings. Andrew Harmer is singled out as one of the 'most dedicated people in the social housing field'. Gavinder Ryait has over 20 years’ experience of handling possession claims, closure orders and complex ASB matters.

Practice head(s):

Thaine Wilson; Andrew Harmer; Gavinder Ryait


‘Deservedly known for their high-quality client care, judgement and knowledge in the social housing field. They have strength in depth and always go that extra mile for their clients.’

‘I would highlight the quality of Thaine Wilson, Gavinder Ryait and Andrew Harmer. Thaine is brilliant with clients, measured in his approach and a sheer joy to work with. Gavinder is realistic with excellent judgement, and greatly admired by clients and her instructed barristers alike. Andrew is one of the nicest and most dedicated people in the social housing field, who has forgotten more about social housing than most of us know.’

‘They manage to cover all areas of expertise at all appropriate levels of experience. The fact that their team is smaller means that their clients get a more personalised service and can build relationships with known individuals. This means that client experience and client care is the best that I have come across in the social housing sector.’

‘Andrew Harmer, Gavinder Ryait and Thaine Wilson are an impressive trio. Andrew has a comprehensive understanding of the social housing sector. Gavinder is the most practical solcitor I have come across in dealing with anti-social behaviour cases. Thaine is a delight to work with and for.’

‘The team is practical and hard working.’

‘Andrew Harmer always makes sure our needs have been met.’

Key clients

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Wandle Housing Association Limited

PA Housing

Swan Housing Association Limited

Notting Hill Housing Group

Charlton Triangle Homes (part of the Peabody Group)

East End Homes Limited

One Housing Group

Sutton Housing Partnership

Capsticks LLP

Covering all elements of housing management and development, the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Winchester-based team at Capsticks LLP specialises heavily in complex section 106 agreement schemes and leasehold litigation. Leading on the housing management side, Michael Owen delivers an ‘excellent quality of service’ to landlords on succession disputes and anti-social behaviour cases. Spencer Vella Sultana heads up the regeneration offering, with expertise in the preparation of new bids on proposed schemes and ventures. Suzanne Smith is an expert in handling residential and commercial planning applications, and legal director Mike Regan has over 25 years’ experience advising across real estate issues. Principal associate Sarah Christy is knowledgeable on obtaining civil injunctions. Charlotte Rawson rounds out the list of recommended team members.

Practice head(s):

Michael Owen; Spencer Vella Sultana

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Smith; Mike Regan; Sarah Christy; Charlotte Rawson


‘A strong team with many pairs of safe hands means that work is turned around quickly, competently and efficiently. Experts in the field who know exactly what they are doing and how to achieve the best outcome for their clients, whether you are dealing with a paralegal, a partner or everyone in between.’

‘Sarah Christy is a joy to work with. Her experience means that she knows exactly what to ask for from her clients in a timely manner and to navigate difficult cases through to excellent resolutions.’

‘Charlotte Rawson is calm and collected, an excellent draftsman with a very firm grip on steering difficult cases to the best outcomes.’

‘Michael Owen steers the Capsticks ship admirably, and his team clearly follow his lead of intelligence, strength and humour.’

‘Michael Owen always makes sure our business interests are protected. Always guides us to make the right decisions, he’s always upfront with costs where other companies have let me down.’

‘Michael Owen – great client care, excellent quality of advice and support, great feedback from my team further to training he has delivered.’

‘The Capsticks housing management team is extremely knowledgeable with genuine sector expertise and knowledge throughout the team. They also have excellent client care skills, are responsive and very much part of the process. They seek at all times to partner with us and build longstanding trusted relationships.’

‘The team are all very approachable, friendly, reliable and provide timely and approachable legal advice and assistance. Importantly, they provide good value for money. There are no weak links. Certainly a formidable team.’

Key clients

Ocean Housing

Sandbourne Housing

Vivid Housing Limited

Aster Group

Westward Housing

The Guinness Partnership Limited

Raven Housing Trust

Paragon Asra Housing Limited

Teign Housing

Selwood Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Guinness on a suspected social housing fraud matter.
  • Assisted Sovereign with obtaining a youth injunction.
  • Successfully represented Aster in opposition to an incorrect claim for council tax payments relating to any-day tenancy properties.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Acting for both tenants and landlords in a range of social housing claims, cases of disrepair, and unlawful evictions, the Duncan Lewis Solicitors housing practice demonstrates ‘excellent knowledge of the law’. With extensive experience of representing clients in the Court of Appeal and High Court, property litigation department head Manjinder Kaur Atwal brings extensive expertise in complex judicial review matters and possession disputes to her role. Dianne Cowie handles injunction and committal proceedings, while Bernadette Chikwe specialises in all aspects of housing litigation. Daljit Singh deals with applications for eviction, and Vincent Davis focuses on homelessness reviews and appeals. Zuhal Saglam Bas is another key team member. All named practitioners are based in Harrow.

Practice head(s):

Manjinder Kaur Atwal; Dianne Cowie; Bernadette Chikwe

Other key lawyers:

Daljit Singh; Zuhal Saglam Bas; Vincent Davis


‘Manjinder Kaur Atwal continues to be a force for her clients. I remain impressed by her knowledge, tenacity and overall client management.’

‘Manjinder Kaur Atwal has always shown dedication, expertise and is very reliable.’

‘The team have excellent knowledge of the law and extensive experience of this area. They also assist their clients with a variety of practical matters including obtaining support from other agencies and this, along with their ability to deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society, sets them apart. They are incredibly approachable and provide clear, practical and sound advice.’

‘Dianne Cowie is determined to fight for her clients’ rights and uses her sound judgment and years of experience to obtain outstanding results. Her team are hard working and provide an excellent service to clients.’

‘Manjinder Kaur Atwal – strong leader and fierce fighter.’

‘We had complete confidence in the Duncan Lewis social housing management team, led by Manjnder Kaur Atwal. Their impressive, sustained coordination and quality support throughout the three and a half year long trial could not be faulted. We believed wholeheartedly in our team.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for the defendant in a Court of Appeal case which has had an impact on the law concerning disrepair in England and Wales.
  • Represented the claimant in an unlawful eviction matter which has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Acting for the defendant in possession order proceedings which were heard in the Court of Appeal and are currently seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Counting local authorities, housing associations, and financial services providers amongst its key clients, the Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP social housing team is described as ‘extremely dedicated and professional’. The practice routinely handles complex section 106 agreements and manages commercial property portfolios, with Basingstoke-based head Linda Storey specialising in advising housing providers on acquisitions and disposals. Having joined the firm as a partner from Perrin Myddelton in September 2022, Sanjeev Shah brings vast expertise in developments, acquisitions and investments to the Oxford office. In Reading, Eugene Wojciechowski focuses on relevant employment law issues, while Basingstoke-based Charlotte D’Avola handles large-scale securitisation transactions. Senior associates Laura McCann and Catherine Bradshaw are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Linda Storey

Other key lawyers:

Sanjeev Shah; Eugene Wojciechowski; Charlotte D’Avola; Laura McCann; Graham Phillips; Rebecca Conway; Adam Crawford; Catherine Bradshaw; Tom Pimenta


‘The team is extremely dedicated and professional; they always provide firm and thorough updates allowing us to do our jobs better and forecast efficiently.’

‘They are all extremely knowledgeable and helpful- I couldn’t ask to work with a better group of solicitors.’

‘Laura McCann is fantastic and is such an asset.’

‘I am so pleased we changed our previous solicitors to Penningtons, the team are experienced in dealing with the property sales we work on, and will attend team meetings weekly to discuss sales cases, and agree action points the team need to work on to achieve completion within the agreed timelines.’

‘I deal with Laura McCann, Linda Storey and Catherine Bradshaw, who easily understand my requests, and deal with them efficiently, keeping me updated on progress.’

‘Easy to contact. Happy to take time to explain possible courses of action and potential outcomes of different alternatives.’

Key clients

Accent Group Ltd

Hightown Housing Association


Octavia Housing

Paragon Asra Housing


Poplar HARCA

Saxon Weald

Mount Green Housing Association Ltd

Bromford Housing Association Limited

London Borough of Havering

Origin Housing

Greatwell Housing

London & Quadrant Housing Group

Sovereign Housing Limited

Work highlights

  • Handling a broad variety of corporate, governance, development and dispute resolution work on behalf of Hightown Housing Association.
  • Assisted Paragon Asra Housing with two portfolio acquisitions worth approximately £100m from other housing associations.
  • Supporting Peabody with its sales and aftersales programme, including providing advice on transactions and providing variations to bring the current documentation in line with current requirements.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Co-headed by Lindsay Felstead and Vicky Kells, the Clarke Willmott LLP social housing group is recommended for obtaining injunctions, handling possession claims, and defending landlords against litigation claims. Felstead splits her time between Manchester and Southampton, regularly acting for regional and national housing providers and local authorities in anti-social behaviour injunctions, whilst Southampton-based Childem Aliss advises social housing clients on data protection matters. Helen Wittram specialises in the acquisition and development of affordable housing, and Amy Peacey focuses on complex housing management agreements. Senior associate Sarah Orchard defends disrepair claims, and Senga Howells is also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Lindsay Felstead; Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Chidem Aliss; Helen Wittram; Amy Peacey; Sarah Orchard; Senga Howells; Anne Jones; Stephen Harper


‘The team is responsive, knowledgeable and professional whilst also providing a friendly service which puts their clients at ease. Consideration is given to the client’s objective and advice is tailored to support the client in achieving that objective.’

‘Sarah Orchard provides a good service to us on all our housing management issues. She is professional, approachable and very knowledgeable and is always to hand to provide pragmatic advice on matters that arise.’

‘A particular stand out for me is Stephen Harper (Senior Associate) who I’ve worked with most closely with CW. He’s incredibly responsive, very thorough, and always takes the time to really run through any issues so that we’ve got a clear vision for how to proceed. All risks are highlighted in good time and full explored, and he’s very good at adapting explanations to different colleagues based on knowledge and existing skill sets and ensures that the relevant escalation measures are used before agreeing to sign off to confirm that as a client we’re all happy with the proposals to proceed.’

‘I’ve worked with Oliver Smedley (Partner) considerably. His knowledge base is extensive and you know that you can trust his judgement and exploration of any items. He is slightly more difficult to get hold of in terms of availability which is likely due to level, but when you do reach him he’s thoroughly invested and great to work with.’

‘Clarke Willmott LLP are easily accessible, diligent, reliable, trustworthy, meticulous in case preparation, touching on the very least of details when providing advice.

‘The team, at Clarke Willmott LLP has an incredible and magnificent depth and breadth. Whether I am dealing with Sarah Orchard, Senga Howells, Emily Hope or any other member of the team at Clarke Willmott LLP, I receive a highly satisfying service. The team has very strong knowledge and experience. In each particular case I come up with, they provide strong, efficient and effective advice and results are there to prove it all.’

‘I have the most dealing with Senga Howells at CW in dealing with non-succession cases, trespasser. Senga has been exceptional in dealing with the cases from start to finish and giving general legal advice when required. She has helped us with providing training sessions to our Housing and Income team which were so beneficial to the team and Value for Money.’

‘Vicky Kells and Charlotte Lord work in partnership and provide a seamless service. They have been super at meeting deadlines and resolving last minute queries to ensure that our own deadlines have been met.’

Key clients




West Kent




Saxon Weald


Moat Homes

Work highlights

  • Acted for L&Q, in successfully defending a claim for commission in respect of an abortive £25 million property development in Walthamstow in East London.
  • Advising Clarion in relation to a stopping up order under section 247 of the Planning Act to enable residential development to be carried out, advising on the procedure for dealing with objections.
  • Assisting and advising Gateway with a management agreement in order to provide accommodation to individuals with Learning Disabilities.

Judge & Priestley LLP

Operating out of Bromley, the ‘strong team of lawyers’ at Judge & Priestley LLP specialises in handling complex disrepair and EPA claims, along with possession and anti-social behaviour cases. Nitika Singh heads up the group, and is noted for her specialism in acting for landlords on all housing management issues. Mark Oakley has expertise in leasehold and property litigation. Associate Suki Dhoopher focuses on service charge arrears, and Elaine Bathers represents leaseholders and freeholders. James de Vere Moss is also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Nitika Singh

Other key lawyers:

Mark Oakley; Suki Dhoopher; Pamela Bachu; Elaine Bathers; James de Vere Moss


‘J&P are a strong team of lawyers who make sure that they have the right information to deal with litigation. The team is well balanced in terms of experience and they ensure a good quality of new people joining the team. Their case management is robust and thorough and intelligent. Diversity in the team is strong. Compared with other firms they go the extra mile for their clients.’

‘They make sure that they explain the progress of a case and provide essential documents in an accessible format, which makes the task of consideration, assessment for advice or preparation for trial focused and productive. In this respect the team are very professional and efficient. The team also show a good understanding of their client and of the other party, which informs their work at each stage of the litigation.’

‘The whole team is dedicated to making sure that the service that it provides is over and above and they all give 100% and are a total credit to the company.’

‘The whole of Nitika Singh’s team needs to be recognised for all of their hard work.’

‘They reply quickly to all calls and emails.’

‘All staff members have a good understanding of the case.’

Key clients

CHIC (Central Housing Investment Consortium Ltd)

London Borough Southwark

Barnet Homes (London Borough of Barnet)

London Borough of Havering

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Camden

Wandle Homes

Birmingham City Council

Open Door Homes

Devon Mansions TMO

Browning E.M.A. TMO

D’eynsford TMO

Phoenix Community Housing

Southern Housing Group

HALA consortium

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a local authority client against an EPA claim brought by the tenant.
  • Represented a local authority client in a possession claim.
  • Successfully defended a housing condition claim pursued by a leaseholder.

Perrin Myddelton

Perrin Myddelton’s social housing practice is composed of ‘knowledgeable, reactive, and true professionals’, delivering bespoke advice on complex section 106 agreements and major development schemes. With the team based in Harpenden, managing partner Fred Perrin brings extensive expertise in social housing development acquisitions, while Simon Braun assists clients with anti-social behaviour and homelessness issues. Jeremy Newman has over 25 years’ experience of handling property disputes. Jonathan Jennings, who was promoted to partner in November 2022, focuses on negotiating and completing planning agreements. Riky Patel is an expert on residential property transactions. Associate Kathryn Dale is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Fred Perrin; Jonathan Jennings; Simon Braun; Riky Patel

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Newman; Kathryn Dale


‘Really friendly, professional team with a can-do attitude. Always available for meetings and always able to work to tight timescales when needed.’

‘They have all been really efficient, down to earth and great at explaining complex legal matters.’

‘Clear prompt service, always willing to provide comprehensive guidance. Once you have a practitioner allocated to a piece of work they take ownership and follow through, providing appropriate levels of support and cover.’

Key clients

Longhurst Homes

Grand Union Housing Group

Abbey Developments Limited

Zero C Holdings

Places for People

Watford Community Housing Trust

B3 Living

The Settle Group

Luton Community Housing Trust

St Albans City District Council

Work highlights

  • Advising on a strategically important development of 77 homes, and dealing with various counterparties.
  • Advising Longhurst Group on its application for help to buy funding, the Homes & Communities Agency funding programme.
  • Advising Places for People on issues pertaining to an unusual site of 21 homes, including complex development agreements, in particular the stipulation that some homes must be sold under a discount to open market value framework.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey’s residential redevelopment team offers bespoke advice to housing associations and developers regarding complex redevelopment schemes and acquisitions of affordable housing. Southampton-based head Lara Borrett-Lynch is ‘fantastic’, routinely assisting clients with development agreements and all ancillary matters. Marina Wickens typically assists housebuilders with planning deals. Senior associate Mark Stutter focuses on bulk plot purchases. Marianne Ironside is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Lara Borrett-Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Marina Wickens; Mark Stutter; Justine Parsons; Marianne Ironside


‘We have been using Foot Anstey for a number of years now and have found them to be very easy to work with. They are always available to answer any questions, no matter how small. They work within our tight service-level agreements and communicate promptly with regular, full updates.’

‘Justine Parsons is brilliant. She has assisted with a number of site set-ups and is extremely knowledgeable, helpful and patient. She will also proactively chase any necessary documentation and keep us updated.’

‘The practice are professional, knowledgeable and responsive to their clients’ needs. The are able to draw upon a wide pool of skills to help inform and progress negotiations on all aspects of affordable housing acquisition and delivery.’

‘The individuals are professional, personable, and responsive.’

‘Lara Borrett-Lynch was fantastic and I’ve already recommended her to others within my team – particularly where potentially some of my colleagues may need additional explanation and support. She ensured that anything she didn’t have the expertise on she touched base with those who specialised to find an answer, and she was methodical, thorough, and very client focussed. I was very happy with the service I received.’

‘Absolutely everyone I have dealt with at FA has been a pleasure to work with, you really do feel like a valued client and that they have your interests at heart.’

‘Lara Borrett-Lynch’s attitude shines through into her team and you can see how well respected she is by the prompt service I receive as a client.’

‘Justine Parsons is a great member of the team.’

Turpin & Miller LLP

Turpin & Miller LLP’s housing team is based in Oxford, specialising in legal aid and tenant work, often involving disrepair and unlawful eviction claims. Laura Coyle is an ‘absolute stand out’, consistently representing clients with mental health problems in possession claims against hoarders and injunction proceedings. The ‘truly excellent’ Vneeta Ratti advises individuals in relation to publicly-funded housing issues, as well as conducting relevant litigation.

Practice head(s):

Laura Coyle

Other key lawyers:

Vneeta Ratti


‘The significant strength of the Turpin & Miller team is that above and beyond being experts in housing law, they are excellent at managing clients who are vulnerable and challenging to work with. They go the extra mile to work with clients in circumstances where other firms might simply give up, and that does a huge credit to them.’

‘Laura Coyle is an absolute stand out at the firm. She has a caseload of very vulnerable clients and goes above and beyond for them. She knows housing law like the back of her hand and is thoughtful and strategic.’

‘Laura Coyle is a very experienced housing lawyer, who still manages to devote an incredible amount of time and care to each case despite being a partner and the housing team leader. She never shies away from a difficult case, and her pragmatic approach results in great outcomes for her clients.’