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Modern housing estate

Social housing providers

Specialist social housing solicitors with unparalleled experience

Our national team of specialist social housing solicitors is one of the largest in the UK, acting for over 100 Registered Providers as well as major frameworks including HALA, CHIC, SEC and ASW. We offer quality, trusted advice on a comprehensive range of legal matters and our experience in this complex sector is second to none. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what The Legal 500 has to say about us:

“Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘exceptional advice’ to its registered provider client base due, in part, to the ‘superb knowledge’ of joint practice heads Lindsay Felstead, Oliver Smedley, Kary Withers and Vicky Kells, who head up the firm’s housing management, development, property litigation and securitisation teams respectively.” The Legal 500 2017

Why choose Clarke Willmott as legal advisers for social housing

  • Breadth and depth of expertise – our high-calibre partner-led team of solicitors have worked in the sector for many years including some with extensive client-side experience working in-house at social housing providers. This gives us a unique understanding of the challenges you face, enables us ‘to think like a client’ and to provide meaningful added-value services.
  •  Clear, value-for-money prices – fee transparency is important to us. We work with our clients on a fixed fee basis where possible, and provide realistic estimates for any additional requirements, based on our competitive hourly rates. So you will know from the start how much our services cost and can rely on us to keep to our quote and keep you fully informed throughout.
  • National and local presence – our Social Housing team is strategically located in our seven offices across the country. This enables us to develop strong long-term relationships and fully support both national and regional clients.
  • Pragmatic and commercially-minded advice – with so much hands-on experience working with Registered Providers, we know the importance of giving realistic, commercial advice. Rather than simply presenting the legal options, we’ll recommend the course of action we consider to be in your best interests.

Our expertise in advising social housing providers

We act for registered providers and registered social landlords across England and Wales, including housing associations, local authorities and arms-length management organisations (ALMOs).

Banking & securitisation

We act for borrowers and lenders on a variety of funding arrangements, including bilateral and syndicated facilities, private placements, aggregated bonds and public issue bonds. Our banking team deals with loan facility documentation, aggregated bond loans and note purchase agreements.

Our large property charging team project manages the securing of property portfolios (from single substituted units to 10,000+ homes) within tight timescales and assists with pre-charging projects and negotiation of s.106 mortgagee exclusion clauses.

Property & development

We advise on all aspects of site assembly, land acquisitions and disposals. We have particular expertise in advising housing associations on development agreements, joint ventures, collaboration, grant and funding agreements as well as housing regeneration schemes. We also offer advice on the risk and benefits of new commercial and funding opportunities.

Our Homes Sales team provides a seamless service from acquisition through to site set-up and plot sales and deals with all types of new build property including shared ownership, discount open market, Help to Buy and standard open market. The team also has a specialist unit that acts solely for social housing clients, buying and selling residential street properties, staircasing, share resales, Right to Buy and Acquire, open market leases, leasehold enfranchisements and lease extensions.

Housing management

With over 100 years’ experience between them, our exceptional housing management team specialises in advising housing associations, local authorities and arms-length management organisations (ALMOs) on tenancy management issues including all types of enforcement proceedings, as well as PRS tenancies, exemptions, policies and procedures and income recovery.

Property litigation, including leasehold and asset management

Our property litigation team has been ranked no. 1 in Chambers and Legal 500 for over 10 years. The team advises on development issues, including site clearance and adverse possession; leasehold issues including section 20 consultations, dispensations; and commercial property issues, including the renewal of commercial leases under the 1954 Act.

Planning & environment

Our distinguished partner-led team advises on planning and environmental matters, including section 106 and 278 agreements, planning applications and appeals, compulsory purchase, TVGs, contaminated land, and heritage, ecological and flooding issues. The team works closely with other in-house teams including Banking and Securitisation on charging of assets, Commercial Property on property transactions and due diligence, and Property Litigation on legal challenges including Juicial Review.


Our experienced construction team provides front end contract advice on matters including joint ventures, development agreements, building contracts and consultant appointments.

We also specialise in construction dispute resolution, often supporting clients ‘behind the scenes’ with troubleshooting and act in formal proceedings including mediation, court arbitration, adjudication and expert resolution.


Our specialist team advises on all aspects of procurement procedures and regulation. We can assist in preparing and executing large-scale procurement projects and drafting procurement policies. We are also highly experienced in advising on, and responding to, procurement disputes within tight timescales.

Employment & HR

Bringing together specialist employment lawyers and HR consultants, our national team advises on the whole spectrum of employment law issues including TUPE, business immigration and pensions. We also have our own advocacy unit which gives Registered Providers a seamless service throughout their Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Commercial property

We advise on all aspects of commercial property, including the grant of new and renewal leases, surrenders, licences, deeds of variation, wayleaves and telecoms leases.

Corporate, governance, tax & regulatory

Our partner-led corporate team advises the social housing sector on a range of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and has particular experience in structuring and implementing corporate joint ventures on multi-million pound development projects.

How we’ve helped some of the UK’s major social housing providers

Sovereign is one of the largest housing associations in the country, providing over 56,000 homes for around 130,000 people across the south and south-west of England. Since January 2015, we’ve been acting for them in development, commercial property, asset management and sales.

Clarion is England’s largest housing association, with 125,000 homes across the country. It is a member of G15, which represents London’s largest housing associationsSince August 2014, we’ve been working on all aspects of Clarion’s legal needs, including development, planning, property litigation, housing management and finance, and sales and leasehold.

L&Q is another of the largest housing associations in the country and also a member of G15. It manages more than 95,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East. We work with L&Q in many areas including planning, commercial property, asset management, corporate finance, construction, energy and procurement.

Our presence in the social housing sector

Clarke Willmott has a well-established reputation in the property and housing sectors. Our extensive presence and far-reaching network of connections enables us to introduce our clients to potential sites and developers.

We work hard to stay at the forefront of thought leadership and actively seek ways to share our knowledge and insights, including top-quality training and conferences often with high-profile speakers from inside and outside the firm.

We are also members of leading industry bodies, including:

Contact our specialist social housing team today

If you would like to find out more about how our social housing team can support you as a provider, please contact one of our lawyers directly, call us on 0800 652 8205 or get in touch online.

Clarke Willmott has offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

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SHLA (Social Housing Law Association) logoWISH logo

Your key contacts

Lindsay Felstead


Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Southampton and Taunton
Lindsay is Head of our Housing Management team and jointly leads our Social Housing sector team. Lindsay was called to the Bar in 2000 and subsequently admitted as a Solicitor in 2005.
View profile for Lindsay Felstead >

Vicky Kells

Partner/Head of Cardiff Office

Vicky Kells is a partner in Clarke Willmott solicitors’ Cardiff Social Housing team specialising in charging affordable housing portfolios.
View profile for Vicky Kells >

Industry recognition for our social housing team

They have a lot of knowledge and experience in dealing with housing-related law issues and nothing is ever too much for them.

Chambers UK 2022

The social housing team has strong leadership and are experts in their field. They keep clients up to date with latest developments and how they are applicable to them.

The Leal 500 2022

Our social housing expertise in focus

Our expertise

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