Our people

820 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Bob Agnew

Partner
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Bob Agnew

Partner

Bob is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Bob advises on strategies for the effective and efficient management of commercial properties, the acquisition and disposal of commercial buildings, the purchase of commercial land, the assembly of development sites and on commercial landlord and tenant matters, including the grant and renewal of leases, lease re-gears as well as sale and lease back arrangements.

Bob’s clients include retailers, warehousing and distribution operators, private landlords and a consortium of councils.  He also works for a large number of registered social housing providers, including Jigsaw Homes Group, Salix Homes and Onward Homes Limited.

Recent examples of how Bob has helped clients include:

  • negotiating the re-gearing of a commercial lease for a registered social housing provider to secure an extended period of rent free occupation worth £250,000 and a significant reduction in their ongoing repair obligations;
  • identifying the value locked up in an unused commercial lease break for a distribution site operator and unlocking that value by selling the option back to the distributor’s landlord for £400,000; and
  • drafting bespoke commercial leases for a registered provider of social housing to increase their rental stream, reduce ongoing legal spend and improve their risk management controls.
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Arthur Chapman

Partner
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Arthur Chapman

Partner

Arthur is a Partner in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Arthur acts exclusively for registered providers of social housing in England, dealing with the acquisition and disposal of land and property, managing the legal aspects of development and conversion projects and negotiating section 106 schemes in which the provision of social housing is included by way of planning conditions on designated development sites, using ‘golden brick’ agreements where possible to make schemes zero-rated for VAT purposes.

Arthur also handles the onward sale and lease of social housing units, including under shared ownership arrangements.

Arthur’s clients include Jigsaw Homes Group, Torus, Regenda Homes and Progress Housing Group.

Recent examples of how Arthur has helped clients include:

  • managing a multi-million-pound social housing development in Southport for a regional housing association looking to deliver 100 units over a four year period, working in conjunction with one of the UK’s largest house builders;
  • drafting and exchanging contracts for the construction of 75 social housing units on a development site in Crewe, completed within one month in order to coincide with the housing association’s year end for grant funding purposes;
  • managing a multi-million-pound regeneration project in Liverpool for Torus in which a city centre site was to be demolished to make way for the construction of several blocks of social housing apartments; and
  • acquiring two parcels of farmland in Crewe in a back-to-back deal for Torus in order to facilitate the development of 400 low cost homes.
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Melanie Dirom

Partner
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Melanie Dirom

Partner

Melanie is a Partner in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Melanie works exclusively for registered housing providers in England and for registered social landlords in Wales, helping to draft housing policies, create standardised tenancy agreements and assist with the management of leasehold housing stock.

Melanie also provides advice on tackling anti-social behaviour among social housing tenants, recovering rent arrears and securing repossession of tenanted properties.

Recent examples of how Melanie has helped clients include:

  • securing relief against the forfeiture of a lease of 51 units in a block of flats held by a registered social housing provider in North West England following the freeholder’s collapse into administration, and thereafter negotiating a new lease with the receiver;
  • securing possession of a shared ownership property for Your Housing Group on the basis that the portion of the property still owned by the group was occupied under an assured tenancy which could be terminated for non-payment of rent; and
  • securing an outright possession order on behalf of North Wales Housing to effect the prompt eviction of a tenant with a long history of anti-social behaviour.
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Simon Leighton

Partner
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Simon Leighton

Partner

Simon is a Partner in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Simon fosters and maintains relationships within the housing and regeneration sector so that we can accurately predict emerging legal needs, recruit the talent required to address these and develop the experience and expertise needed to make us a leader in this field.

Simon works at a strategic level with registered housing providers, local authorities and private companies with social housing functions.  He facilitates the delivery of legal services under framework agreements and provides personal advice on corporate governance and compliance and on best practice in tackling industry-wide concerns, such as rent reductions and fire safety in light of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Recent examples of how Simon has helped clients include:

  • supporting a large number of housing associations who have acquired commercial real estate as part of stock transfer deeds in order to identify ways in which vacant property can be brought back into use and disparate lease arrangements can be standardised;
  • advising a large number of housing associations and local authorities on the division of responsibility for fire safety and repairs in respect of blocks of flats with a mix of social tenants and owner-occupiers; and
  • providing best practice guidance to housing associations on the approach to be taken to an increase in the number of tenant disrepair claims being brought nationally as a result of new lease terms which collectively raise the standards social tenants are entitled to expect.
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Julie Loggenberg

Partner
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Julie Loggenberg

Partner

Julie is a Partner in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Julie acts for registered providers of social housing in England and Wales and other corporate entities operating in the housing sector, including local authorities, charities and private companies.

Julie deals with the acquisition and assembly of development sites, joint ventures and other partnering arrangements to deliver social housing projects, stock transfers and stock rationalisation, the large-scale review of asset holdings and asset sales, debt securitisation and with corporate governance and compliance.

Julie advises on funding arrangements, including NHS grants for clients who specialise in accommodation for persons with learning disabilities or under the ExtraCare Scheme and for those who support local authorities in providing accommodation for the homeless.

Julie provides advice on a range of commercial property matters, including the acquisition of office space and the disposal of vacant retail units included in social housing stock transfers.

Julie’s clients include London and Quadrant, Forviva Group, Sovini Group, Ongo Homes and Liverpool Foundation Homes.

Recent examples of how Julie has helped clients include:

  • reviewing repair obligations in respect of 1,600 flats in a number of high-rise buildings owned or managed by London and Quadrant to identify risks in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy;
  • acquiring a large area of land at Media City in Salford on behalf of ForHousing as part of a £53 million scheme to create 359 apartments for private rent, and negotiating a section 106 and development agreement with the adjacent landowner to create public access ways, shared facilities and areas of open space; and
  • supporting Kirklees Council in the sale of a landmark building in the centre of Huddersfield and advising on a £10 million loan from the council to the developer to facilitate the conversion of the building into student accommodation.
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Bhaven Chauhan

Senior Associate
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Bhaven Chauhan

Senior Associate

Bhaven is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the Real Estate team.

Bhaven advises on property acquisitions and disposals, secured corporate lending, the grant, renewal and re-gearing of commercial leases, commercial property management and the real estate aspects of corporate transactions.

Bhaven also negotiates wayleave agreements and heads of terms for the leasing of land or property to accommodate telecommunications equipment, gas and water pipes, electricity masts and cables and renewables apparatus.

Bhaven acts for landowners, landlords and tenants, registered providers of social housing, local authorities and commercial companies.  His current clients include Kirklees Council, Sovini Group, Your Housing Limited, Social Chain and The Coffee House.

Recent examples of how Bhaven has helped clients include:

  • renegotiating a telecommunications roof top lease for a housing association to protect vulnerable residents at risk of suicide, and to secure a higher annual rent than was offered;
  • amending the standard wayleave agreements offered by three broadband providers making them fairer to a housing association which had to ensure that the tenants of 650 properties had good internet access;
  • negotiating the terms of a precedent lease for a council in Yorkshire to facilitate the installation of electric car charging facilities in ten publicly owned carparks;
  • negotiating and completing a series of leases for a chain of coffee shops, including several new stores and the company’s head office just outside Warrington; and
  • negotiating and completing a series of office leases at locations across the UK for a global digital marketing agency.
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Simon John

Senior Associate
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Simon John

Senior Associate

Simon is a Senior Associate in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Simon advises housing associations on development projects and on property transactions and property finance.  Specifically he deals with the acquisition of development sites and pre-built units, the negotiation of infrastructure arrangements, the agreement and variation of section 106 planning obligations, compliance with grant funding requirements, debt securitisation and the procurement of third party works.

Simon also provides advice on property matters affecting the operational base of registered social housing providers, including negotiating lease terms for office space to be occupied by administrative staff or to create business headquarters.

Recent examples of how Simon has helped clients include:

  • negotiating a complex section 106 agreement for a regional housing provider where planning permission had to encompass the creation of designated cycle paths, pedestrian walkways and open spaces to ensure the provider qualified for grant funding;
  • acquiring 39 development units in the North West of England for Adactus; and
  • acquiring 18 development units in Longridge, Lancashire for Mosscare St Vincent’s.
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Jo Loake

Senior Associate
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Jo Loake

Senior Associate

Jo is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the Real Estate and Corporate teams.

Jo works with social housing providers to help them establish companies through which to operate and she supports them through mergers, amalgamations and restructuring.  Jo also provides them with regulatory and corporate governance advice, attends board meetings, helps to facilitate constitutional change, delivers in-house training, negotiates commercial contracts and deals with stock transfers, funding, joint ventures and other forms of partnering arrangement.

Jo also provides regulatory and corporate governance advice, both on housing and non-housing matters, to local authorities and charities.

Jo’s clients include registered social housing providers, local authorities and co-operative and community benefit societies.

Recent examples of how Jo has helped clients include:

  • collapsing a redundant subsidiary company into a parent organisation with charitable status, with advice on the TUPE transfer of employees, the assignment and novation of commercial contracts and the settlement of outstanding debentures;
  • supporting a homelessness charity following the discovery of financial irregularities and mismanagement by former senior personnel, including reporting the matter to the Charities Commission, HMRC and the police; and
  • assisting a community benefit society in identifying and ratifying decisions taken over a 12 month period when they erroneously believed they had the power to act in accordance with newly created constitutional rules, when the rules had not been registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
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Victoria Slater

Senior Associate
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Victoria Slater

Senior Associate

Victoria is a Senior Associate in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Victoria advises social housing providers on contentious matters affecting the properties they own or occupy, including anti-social behaviour by tenants, guests and trespassers, the recovery of rent arrears, tenant claims of disrepair, tenant claims of unfair treatment under equality laws and contested and uncontested possession proceedings.

Victoria also provides advice on dealing with sensitive disputes involving tenants with mental health problems or who lack mental capacity.  She also handles serious disputes where an injunction may be required or there are wider implications such as damage to a provider’s reputation.

Recent examples of how Victoria has helped clients include:

  • securing injunctions accompanied by powers of arrest against six trespassing youths who were regularly vandalising the common parts of a high-rise building as well as disabling fire detection and containment features designed to keep residents’ safe;
  • enabling a registered housing provider to recover a property which was abandoned by the tenant who was guilty of multiple acts of anti-social behaviour and operating a cannabis farm and had refused to agree to the voluntary surrender of their lease or return the keys; and
  • successfully defending a specific disclosure application made by a tenant claiming £50,000 in damages over arrangements for the uncapping of their gas supply, and convincing the court award the housing provider their legal costs on the basis that the claim was without merit.
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Adele Beaman

Associate
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Adele Beaman

Associate

Adele is an Associate in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Adele undertakes land and property acquisitions for registered social housing providers and manages the legal aspects of development projects in which they are involved.  She provides specialist advice on section 106 planning conditions, helps to negotiate section 38 and section 104 agreements for the adoption of roads, water pipes and sewage conduits, handles deeds of grant for easements and determines contributions due under the community infrastructure levy.  She specialises in development schemes where section 106 agreements are involved.

Recent examples of how Adele has helped clients include:

  • dealing with the legal aspects of a large development site on behalf of a registered provider who planned to spend £8 million creating 67 new social housing units;
  • convincing a developer to relent and agree to more onerous defect liability and repair obligations in the contracts for the sale of affordable housing units for a registered provider;
  • negotiating a series of section 106 agreements for a registered provider who wished to exchange contracts for the building of 44 social housing units on five separate sites before their financial year end in order to optimise grant funding; and
  • negotiating a section 106 agreement development scheme for a registered provider who wished to purchase 15 social housing units on a new development and facilitating the onward sale of six of these units under the shared ownership scheme.
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Mike Hall

Associate
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Mike Hall

Associate

Mike is an Associate in the Housing and Regeneration team.

Mike undertakes development work for registered housing providers in England and for registered social landlords in Wales.  He handles site acquisitions, negotiates development agreements, coordinates infrastructure arrangements, liaises with local authorities over section 106 planning obligations and the community infrastructure levy.  He also provides advice on shared ownership and the government’s right to buy scheme.

Recent examples of how Mike has helped clients include:

  • conducting an urgent review of tenant leases in respect of 830 blocks of flats for London and Quadrant Housing Association to ascertain their repair and maintenance obligations in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster;
  • completing the acquisition of a development site for Jigsaw Homes within a three week period to enable them to utilise grant funding before their financial year end; and
  • preparing a private mortgage for an individual in Oxfordshire to help fund the purchase of a property for their parents under the right to buy scheme.
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Rebecca Evans

Solicitor
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Rebecca Evans

Solicitor

Rebecca is a Solicitor in the Housing and Regeneration team.

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Catherine Jones

Solicitor
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Catherine Jones

Solicitor

Catherine is a Solicitor in the Housing and Regeneration team.