Social housing in South West

Ashfords LLP

The ‘impressive, efficient and dedicatedAshfords LLP provides a strong practice spread across the South West. The firm’s expertise includes disrepair claims, affordable housing, public procurement and tax planning matters. The department also handles bespoke grant agreements for local authorities, as well as housing litigation and tenancy management issues. The team is co-led by Sian Gibbon, who specialises in tenant management, transactional and corporate work; Paul Butterworth, who focuses on development and regeneration work for both registered providers and local authorities; and Tim Heal, who is known for site acquisition and general development matters. Also recommended is associate Isabelle Clement, particularly for development matters.

Other key lawyers:

Isabelle Clement

Testimonials

‘Ashfords provide a high-quality service and slick delivery’

‘Ashfords will always take the time to ensure that everything needed and nothing superfluous is provided to counsel’

‘Joanne Young is always excellent. Collaborative, knowledgable, friendly and commercial. A genuine leader in her field’

‘The team is very responsive and happy to discuss any aspect of the project’

‘Isabelle Clement is outstanding. She is so responsive and clear in her advice. Always happy to get involved and go the extra mile’

‘Paul Butterworth is very approachable and pitches his advice at the right level’

‘I have found Sian Gibbon and Marjorie Batten particularly impressive. Both have an impressive depth of knowledge and exceptional client care skills’

Key clients

Sovereign Housing Association

Aster Group

LiveWest Homes Limited

The Guinness Partnership Limited

Evolve Housing & Support

Cornerstone Housing

London Borough of Wandsworth

St. Mungo Community Housing Association

HFL Group Limited

CURO

Brick by Brick Croydon Limited

Homes England

Stonewater

Notting Hill Genesis

Cross Keys Homes

Saxon Weald Homes

Work highlights

  • Act for the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond upon Thames in all non-routine litigation matters, including residential possession actions, leasehold matters, homelessness reviews, disrepair claims, judicial reviews, commercial lease disputes, management and telecoms issues.
  • Advised Aster on the purchase over 140 affordable dwellings from Linden Homes and its subsidiaries across four development sites for a combined land and build value of £26.7 million.
  • Advised The Guinness Partnership on numerous disrepair claims.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Full-service firm Bevan Brittan LLP advises housing associations, local authorities, developers and funders on a range of social housing issues. The practice specialises in board and governance advice, including asset management matters, as well as providing experience in finance and corporate work. Another key area is property and development, in which the department has particular expertise in joint ventures. Jonathan Turner focuses on housing-led development and regeneration work for strategic sites. He co-leads the team with Alison Buckingham, who is known for advising social housing providers on development schemes.

Other key lawyers:

Steve Eccles

Testimonials

‘Consistently excellent: high degree of integrity and genuine commitment to relationship management; value added by optimising outcomes and overcoming challenges / mitigating risks.’

They are responsive, willing to think outside the box to come up with solutions that work for the organisation and the customer. They keep up to date with key issues however they are then able to translate findings into workable solutions to support changes to your P&P’s appropriately.’

Responsive, great knowledge, ability to translate issues – Really like Kate’s knowledge, approach and dedication to each task – she’s effective tenacious and driven to seek out the right solutions.’

We find Bevan Brittan proactive, commercial and easy to get on with. Feedback from across the organisation is always positive.’

Kevin Dawson is particularly rated. Steve Eccles is well regarded as well.’

Key clients

Places for People Group

Sovereign Housing Group

Yarlington Housing Group

Peabody Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

L & Q Group

The Housing Finance Corporation

Network Homes

Catalyst Housing Group

United Communities

Southern Housing Group

LiveWest Group

Together Housing Group

Orbit

Work highlights

  • Advising Orbit on its £150m national programme of funding under its strategic partnership with Homes England.
  • Represented Sovereign Housing Association in the acquisition of a former magistrates’ court site in Yate from Homes England.
  • Advising West Berkshire Council on its £200m joint venture for affordable housing with Sovereign Housing Association.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Specialising in affordable housing, Trowers & Hamlins LLP provides public and private sector experience to housing associations and local authority clients across the country. The firm also has significant regulatory and council housing finance expertise. Property and development specialist Joseph Acton co-leads the practice with Georgina Savill-James, who focuses on real estate matters. Also notable are Hannah Jackson, who was promoted to partner in 2019 and is head of the real estate finance and security team, and managing associate Jessica Church, who advises on funding and security issues.

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Church; Hannah Jackson

Testimonials

‘Trowers has a team with extensive experience of dealing with land acquisition and social housing development’

‘Specialists dealing with charging, planning, construction and litigation who can be used as and when required’

‘They have a good customer focus and generally prioritise the key work that they are asked to undertake well’

‘Joseph Acton leads an extremely large team’

‘Georgina Savill-James makes sure we are satisfied with the service delivered by her team. 

‘Knowledgeable but also very approachable and we can therefore ask the idiot questions’

‘Jessica Church understands the housing sector more broadly than just matters relating to property charging. Very knowledgeable and quick to respond’

Key clients

LiveWest Homes Limited

Galliford Try Partnerships

Torbay Development Agency

Verto Homes Limited

Aster Housing

East Devon District Council

Curo Housing

Linden First Limited

Westward Housing Group

Yarlington Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Westco Properties in relation to its development of a former quarry site in Exeter to provide a high proportion of affordable housing as part of this 380-home development.
  • Advising LiveWest Homes Limited on the establishment of its medium term note programme and its debut £250 million note issue to support its development programme.
  • Acted for Linden First Limited, Galliford Try’s for-profit registered provider of affordable housing, on the acquisition of its first affordable housing units.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Property and development specialist Clarke Willmott LLP has broad experience, ranging from initial acquisitions and construction through to sales and lease extensions. The firm also provides a commercial practice that advises on asset management issues, as well as a litigation department that handles development and leasehold issues. The team is co-led by Kary Withers, Oliver Smedley, Lindsay Felstead, Vicky Kells, Helen Wittram, Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden and Kate Saunders.

Testimonials

‘Clarke Willmott have worked hard to create a reliable team with the right specialists’

‘Kary Withers is a good leader who understands the area of work very well’

‘Oliver Smedley is forward thinking and straight talking’

Key clients

Stonewater

L&Q Housing Trust

Yarlington

The GreenSquare Group

LiveWest

Lewisham Homes

Gloucester City Homes

Advantage South West (Legal Panel)

Alliance Homes Group

The Aster Group

The Guinness Partnership

United Communities

Optivo

The Peabody Group

Solon Housing Association

Housing Associations’ Legal Alliance

Hyde Housing

Work highlights

  • Advised Keepmoat Homes and LiveWest on a joint venture acquisition of a site for 350 homes in Bristol to be jointly procured for open market and affordable housing.
  • Acting for L&Q in opposing a new lease to a major supermarket on the grounds of redevelopment.
  • Acted for Yarlington Housing Group in successfully appealing a decision to refuse planning permission for a large residential development in Castle Cary, Somerset.

Stephens Scown LLP

Stephens Scown LLP has experience in site acquisitions, corporate governance and general housing matters, as well as employment advice in the area. The firm is also strong in advising on community land trusts and joint ventures. Hilary Pitts acts on the acquisition of sites for housing associations and related infrastructure agreements. She co-leads the team with Keith Wright, who specialises in rural housing initiatives.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Pitts; Keith Wright

Testimonials

‘Stephens Scown are our preferred firm for acquisitions where time is of the essence’

‘A highly responsive practice that provides clear and practical advice’

‘We appreciate their approach to risk and their ability to quantify it. We can rely on Stephens Scown to tell us what the risks are and whether they are or are not acceptable’

‘Hilary Pitts is highly efficient and will resolve the majority of issues on any project before seeking instructions’

Key clients

Magna Housing

Reside Housing

Greenfields

Plymouth Community Homes

Hastoe Housing Association Limited

LiveWest Housing Association Limited

English Rural Housing Association Limited

Coastline Housing

South Devon Housing Group

Cornwall CLT Limited

Knightstone Housing Association Limited (now part of LiveWest)

Bramford Speke CLT

Work highlights

  • Advised LiveWest in a matter involving the purchase of a property which was being redeveloped to provide a library building and residential accommodation.
  • Advised Advantage South West on drafting a bespoke measured term contract that could be used by all the members of the framework.
  • Provided extensive property and commercial support to Coastline Housing Limited in connection with the charity’s innovative partnership with Legal and General Homes for the delivery of 600 additional homes in Cornwall per year.

TLT

TLT advises on the full spectrum of development services, as well complementary areas including planning, construction, property litigation, procurement and tax. The firm acts for registered providers, local authorities and private developers in a range of matters, as well as providing regulatory and governance advice. Linda Convery is national head of the social housing team. She co-leads the practice with Kane Kirkbride, who specialises in housing and complex property-related disputes, acting for registered providers and other housing clients.

Practice head(s):

Linda Convery; Kane Kirkbride

Testimonials

‘Approachable, hardworking, creative, excellent rapport with clients’

‘Kane Kirkbride is a highly experienced, solid, reassuring presence, knows the law inside out, and is not afraid to fight cases but is equally alive to economic realities and the benefits of settling cases cheaply’

‘Good at finding creative solutions’

‘Builds excellent client rapport and really trusted by clients’

‘Alex Payne is bright, energetic and very knowledgeable’

Key clients

Stonewater

The Guinness Partnership

Swan Housing Group

Elim Housing Association

The Brandon Trust

Aster Group

Catalyst Housing Ltd

Livewest Homes Limited

Notting Hill Genesis

Southern Housing

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Guinness Partnership on the acquisition of 191 plots over two phases from Crest Nicholson at Gloucester Quays.
  • Acting for Synergy on the purchase of 58 affordable units from BDW at golden brick subject to planning and subject to BDW’s acquisition.
  • Advising Southern Housing Group on a complex and sensitive succession claim.

Tozers Solicitors LLP

Tozers Solicitors LLP specialises in acting for registered providers, particularly in relation to social housing property work, housing management and contentious employment issues. The firm also advises on charity law, governance litigation and data protection. Stephen Burtchaell leads the team and specialises in complex registered provider property work.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Burtchaell

Testimonials

‘Very helpful and most importantly willing to give actual yes or no answers to queries rather than putting those queries back to the client, which is appreciated’

‘Good at communication. We don’t need to chase to get stuff done, it’s just all in hand and ticking away in the background’

‘Stephen Burtchaell is a safe pair of hands, and he is very responsive to any emails and calls which is brilliant’

Key clients

North Devon Homes

Stonewater Limited

Plymouth Community Housing

LiveWest Homes Limited

South Western Housing Society

Guinness Partnership

Cornerstone Housing

Coastline Housing

South Devon Rural Housing

Brunelcare

Radian Housing Group

Bath YMCA

Bridgwater YMCA

Sandbourne Housing Association

Westward Housing Group Limited

Octavia Housing