Social housing in South East


The sizeable social housing department at Batchelors handles a range of ASB injunctions, possession orders, and liability matters for local authorities and housing associations. Strategic site acquisitions for affordable development schemes are a further key strength. The team is jointly led by managing partner Thaine Wilson and housing management head Andrew Harmer. Wilson is a key contact for some of the firm’s leading housing association clients, while Harmer regularly deals with complex evictions, injunctions and construction projects. Gavinder Ryait serves as assistant head of the housing management team, and is noted for her expertise in challenging ASB cases. Nick McKnight is a further name to note for ASB matters, while Elaine Allen is noted for her development experience. David Gethin is recommended for leasehold management work. All named lawyers are based in Bromley.

Practice head(s):

Thaine Wilson; Andrew Harmer

Other key lawyers:

Gavinder Ryait; Nick McKnight; Elaine Allen; David Gethin


‘I have worked with Batchelors for many years and they have always been an excellent firm for social housing. They combine expert knowledge with both a real understanding of their market and a wonderful client care approach which is second to none.’

‘Thaine Wilson is a delight to work with. His instructions are informed, on point and clear. He is realistic in his expectations and has always properly advised his clients. He is renowned for his client care and hard work, and his knowledge of this area is first rate. Gavinder Ryait shares many of the same qualities. She fights hard for her clients and her preparation is peerless. They are both good communicators and always informed.’

‘The top notch housing management team is led by Andrew Harmer who inspires trust and confidence in the entire team. They have strength and depth in their personnel and are engaged in high level litigation on behalf of their housing and property clients. ’

‘Andrew Harmer, head of housing management, is truly exceptional. He is intuitive, responsive and brings a practical and effective approach to litigation. His cerebral yet ever pragmatic approach wins over clients and colleagues alike. His perspective as a part time judge means that he knows how to run cases effectively and proportionately. His briefs are meticulously prepared and he is always on top of his material.’

‘Batchelors has been my legal firm of choice for the 3rd year in a row. I would describe the firm as efficient, client focused and exceptional value for money.’

‘The diverse workforce at Batchelors speaks for itself. This gives great reassurance that the firm is very aware of its client base and actively ensures it is reflected in their team.’

‘Gavinder is always ahead of the game, making sure all the necessary facts are prepared for cases. Where there are gaps in any case, Gavinder is the master at solutions. She is a major credit to Batchelors and I hope to continue working with her in the future.’

Key clients

Notting Hill Genesis

Settle Group

East End Homes Ltd

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

PA Housing

Wandle Housing Association

Swan Housing Association

Octavia Housing

Hyde Housing Association

Hexagon Housing Association

Capsticks LLP

Capsticks LLP’s sector-specific expertise sees the Winchester-based team acting for a myriad of registered providers both in the traditional social housing sphere and at the overlap of healthcare, social care, and affordable residential property. Leasehold management, regeneration schemes, and creditor-side development funding are core competencies for the firm, with the team having securitised tens of millions of pounds worth of affordable housing units over the past 12 months. National housing management practice head Michael Owen acts exclusively for registered providers and councils on housing management matters, and is a key figure in the firm’s housing advisory service - most notably on ASB issues. Christopher Skinner is the main contact for housing management matters in the south. Spencer Vella Sultana leads the housing and regeneration team, chiefly handling bid preparations for regeneration schemes and construction contract revisions. Veteran lawyer Jennifer Bennett concentrates on leasehold schemes, while newly promoted legal director Katrina Day focuses on largescale procurements. Commercial RP specialist Mike Regan and ASB-focused Sarah Christy are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Michael Owen – Housing Management; Spencer Vella Sultana – Housing & Regeneration

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Skinner; Jennifer Bennett; Katrina Day; Mike Regan; Sarah Christy


‘Mike Owen always takes the time to keep the language simple, which is very helpful to non-legal clients. Mike is always very quick to respond by telephone and goes over and above to get back to you. No question is silly and he puts you at ease.’

‘For us, it is their diverse knowledge and willingness to support that sets them apart. In housing we have legal queries on a myriad of topics. Within Capsticks there is always someone with expertise to cover these topics. They specialise in specialisms. We love their reliability. ’

‘My main contact at Capsticks is Katrina Day. I have worked with Katrina for over 10 years and she has always provided first class procurement advice. Katrina has an expert knowledge of all aspects of repair and maintenance procurement, is a pleasure to work with and consistently provides advice ahead of any pre-set deadline. Nothing is too much trouble for Katrina, she is first class.’

‘What makes Capsticks unique is that they really do strive to tailor their service to deliver what matters to their clients. They will discuss your demands, whilst providing a quality, cost effective service.’

‘The entire team are approachable, exceptionally knowledgeable and available to provide much needed support and assistance when required. The advice provided is not only sound, clear, but also provides practical guidance to problems which may not entirely involve a legal problem.’

Key clients






PA Housing


Arun District Council

Ocean Housing


Two Saints Housing

Southern Housing

Chichester Greyfriars

Winchester Working Men’s Housing Society

Two Rivers Housing

The Guinness Partnership

Gloucester City Homes

The Swaythling Housing Society Limited

Work highlights

  • Handling possession proceedings following a seizure of the largest cannabis production factory in the South West of England taking place at one of our client’s properties.
  • Conducting full tenure review of all tenancies and licences for PA Housing including first-of-their-kind mooring licences, occupation agreements pending homelessness, fixed term tenure and conversion to periodic. Also advised on the impact of the pandemic on obtaining signatures on agreements and on deeds such as for assignment/mutual exchange.
  • Acting on behalf of the Swaythling Housing Society in connection with the acquisition of 65 affordable units for a sum of £16 million.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP’s housing management focus makes it a strong choice for a range of registered providers operating across London and the  South East. Department head Lindsay Felstead also heads up the firm’s national Housing Management practice, splitting her time between the firm’s Manchester and Southampton offices. Felstead’s focus on advocacy work sees her representing clients in housing management disputes, while on the non-contentious side, she handles tenancy agreements, policy amendments, and advisory work for housing providers and property ombudsmen. Kate Silverman is the Southern lead for social housing development work, acting for various G15 registered providers, local authorities, and not-for-profit organisations on a range of ventures. Chidem Aliss focuses on commercial contracts and projects, as well as a range of IT and data protection concerns. Sarah Orchard’s extensive experience in ASB and Court of Protection matters make her a good contact for sensitive injunction orders. The team also includes associate Senga Howells and newly promoted partner Amy Peacey, who specialises in commercial matters.

Practice head(s):

Lindsay Felstead; Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Kate Silverman; Chidem Aliss; Sarah Orchard; Senga Howells; Amy Peacey


‘They are accessible and have good technology. ’

‘Sarah Orchard is very helpful, efficient and delivers a pragmatic approach to legal issues.’


Key clients

Silva Homes


Newlon Housing Trust


Saxon Weald

Abri (Radian)

Origin Housing



Work highlights

  • Obtaining a Without Notice injunction order for Sovereign Housing  to ensure  emergency protection from extremely violent behaviour, for residents and the client.
  • Advising  Phoenix Community Housing in regard to leaseholders whose front doors did not meeting fire regulations.
  • Advising Newlon HT in respect of the impact of Fire Risk Assessment to protect against liability.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ focus on tenant-side advocacy work sees the team acting on an array of contentious social housing instructions, often involving Equality Act defence cases, disrepair claims, succession rights, and neighbourhood disputes against local authorities. Harrow-based practice head Manjinder Kaur Atwal handles a broad spectrum of social housing litigation, and is especially focused on homelessness matters. Sadaf Mir is similarly noted for her capabilities in homelessness cases, and in housing disputes subject to special considerations under the Children Act, Care Act, and Equality Act. All named lawyers are based in Luton unless stated otherwise. Adrian Smith and Gareth Hutton recently left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Manjinder Kaur Atwal

Other key lawyers:

Sadaf Mir


‘A go-to firm for housing issues.’

‘ I am struck by the novel and creative approach that is taken to housing matters. The team are innovative and responsive to new case law and statutory developments. It is always great fun working on their cases.’

‘Manjinder Atwal is in my view truly excellent. She has a tactically astute mind and her research skills are amongst the best I have seen. Manjinder is clearly very bright and uses counsel as a means of further shoring up her good judgment and client care.’

‘Gareth Hutton, in particular, stands out to me for his commitment and knowledge in the area of social housing. He is prepared to go the extra mile in circumstances in which he often has to react urgently to homelessness or other housing issues. His communication is also excellent. ’

‘Sadaf Mir is a dedicated and effective lawyer, committed to advancing the interests of often very vulnerable clients who are facing homelessness or the loss of their home, and astute to identify novel and complex legal arguments on their behalf.’

‘Adrian Smith is very responsive and efficient and has served clients referred to him effectively. Has a friendly and down to earth approach that makes working with him stress free. Good communicator.’

‘I’m not sure if I have the vocabulary to do justice to my solicitor. Manjinder was patient, calming, and extremely involved with me as the complexity of the case increased; professionalism beyond all expectations.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a defendant in a possession claim where the Claimant sought possession based on Ground 17 of the Housing Act 1988 in respect of the Defendant’s premises.
  • The Landlord (Property Development Company) made a claim for possession of the client’s property. The third party is the sole director of and a shareholder in the Landlord. The client has resided at the property since late 1988.
  • Representing the Applicant in a homelessness judicial review matter at the High Court. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council were the Respondent in this claim.

Judge & Priestley LLP

Led by seasoned housing management lawyer Nitika Singh, the team at Judge & Priestley LLP maintains a strong foothold in London and the south east, acting for a number of local authorities and various other public sector landlords. Singh is noted for her litigious capabilities, regularly advising local authorities in relation to sensitive nuisance cases. Mark Oakley heads the property litigation practice, and is well-versed in leasehold disputes and service charge matters, often at tribunal. Pamela Bachu is a highly experienced litigator with a focus on high-value disrepair claims, while Elaine Bathers  and Suki Dhoopher are recommended for their broad expertise in property litigation, and landlord and tenant matters. All named lawyers are based in Bromley.

Practice head(s):

Nitika Singh

Other key lawyers:

Mark Oakley; Pamela Bachu; Elaine Bathers; Suki Dhoopher


‘The team get back to you right away and make sure you understand where they are coming from and what they are trying to achieve ’

‘The team are very good at working across the different areas of the council and are able to provide specialised services for adult social care, corporate debt, and leaseholder services. They have taken a lot of time to develop a streamlined process for all departments, which speeds up the recovery of debt and case flow. They also provide excellent support and training for the teams.’

‘Mark Oakley provides us with excellent support. He has excellent skills and knowledge when it comes to complex leasehold and housing cases. ’


Key clients

CHIC (Central Housing Investment Consortium Ltd)

London Borough Southwark (disrepair)

Barnet Homes (London Borough of Barnet)

London Borough of Havering

London Borough of Southwark (ASB)

London Borough of Lambeth (possession)

London Borough of Lambeth (disrepair)

London Borough of Camden

Wandle Homes

Birmingham City Council

Open Door Homes

Devon Mansions TMO

Work highlights

  • Raising a successful challenge to a disrepair claim against the London Borough of Barnet concerning legal aid funding and the indemnity principle.
  • Submitting a defence of a disrepair claim again the London Borough of Barnet,  resulting in a dismissal of the original claim.
  • Acting on behalf of the London Borough of Southwark in a long-running dispute instigated by a tenant in May 2012. The matter concerned heating repair issues and a claim for personal injury.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

The social housing team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP draws on both its national network of offices and unique regional expertise in home ownership, securitisation, and portfolio management to advise registered providers and local authorities on high-value financings and transactions. Practice head Linda Storey chiefly handles acquisitions, disposals, planning agreements and leasing matters, while Reading-based Eugene Wojciechowski – who is well versed in unlawful discrimination claims – helms the firm’s social housing employment offering. Charlotte D’Avola is the lead for housing securitisation and portfolio work, specialising in major facility agreements and asset management matters. Laura McCann and Graham Phillips act for housing providers in the sale and purchase of affordable housing units. All named lawyers are based in Basingstoke unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Linda Storey

Other key lawyers:

Eugene Wojciechowski; Charlotte D’Avola; Laura McCann; Graham Phillips


EMW Law LLP concentrates on acquisition and development aspects of social and affordable property work, acting for housing associations and housebuilders – both regionally and nationally. Working closely with the firm’s dedicated development practice, the team handles complex purchases, lease matters, plot sales, and Section 106 agreements. The team is led by the national housing group head Caroline Hayward, who is a key contact for most of the firm’s Housing Association clients. Marco Mauro helms the planning practice, while Lucy Richardson’s broad property development background sees her acting for social housing providers on an array of transactions. Josh Clark is also noted for his experience in acquisitions, development agreements, and plot disposals. All named lawyers are based in Milton Keynes.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Marco Mauro; Lucy Richardson; Josh Clark


‘The team are very responsive and have an accessible and collaborative style of working which delivers excellent results. They are great at maintaining contact through a transaction and provide us with weekly progress reports on all our projects.’


Key clients

Grand Union Housing Group Limited (including Grand Union Homes Limited)

Chartered Housing Institute Consortium

First Garden Cities Homes Limited

Cottsway Housing Association Limited (including Cottsway 2)

Thrive Homes Limited

Milton Keynes YMCA Limited

Stonewater (including Stonewater Limited, Stonewater Procurement Limited, Stonewater (2) Limited, Stonewater (3) Limited and Stonewater Developments Limited)

Optimis Estates Limited

YMCA Bedfordshire

Brampton Valley Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Thrive Homes in the acquisition of a greenfield site in Bedfordshire for the development of affordable housing, conditional on planning permission.
  • Acting for R&B Newman in the acquisition of a development site with a GDV of £13m via Building Lease, with subsequent sub-sale disposals to an affordable housing provider and a Qatari investment company who nominated each plot to individual buyers.
  • Acting for Grand Union Housing Group in its acquisition of 21 affordable homes via a complex sale and development agreement.