Social housing

We have a strong track record in successfully advising registered providers, local authorities, residential developers and other organisations providing affordable housing. We understand the sector, the challenges and the motivation to deliver the best and most appropriate housing solutions for our clients. 

Our social housing expertise

Development

We advise on:
  • site acquisition and disposal
  • housing stock transfers (LSVT)
  • site development and redevelopment
  • planning and environmental law, including CPO and S106 agreements
  • construction contracts, collateral and environmental warranties, performance bonds and parent company guarantees
  • charging and security work

Examples of recent developments that we have advised upon include:

  • advised on the drafting negotiation and completion of an overarching project delivery agreement to be entered into between a housing association and a council relating to the identification and assessment and subsequent development of several sites to provide 20 dwelling specifically designed for wheelchair users.
  • advised on the acquisition of section 106 affordable housing units from a volume housebuilder across 5 different sites.
  • advised a housing association on the acquisition of a landmark building to be developed as a Private Rent Scheme which involved development services agreement with development partner; highly bespoke section 106 agreement; conditional agreement for building lease which also incorporated provision for collateral warranties; conditional agreement for surrender with existing occupational tenant; tripartite deed of surrender with the housing association, freeholder and existing occupational tenant all being party; overage agreement with existing occupational tenant; parent company guarantee.
  • advised on the acquisition of land to be developed for the 14 affordable units required by a developer’s section 106 agreement on a residential development scheme, which facilitated the reinstatement of a local canal.

Housing

  • sale of dwellings
  • landlord and tenant
  • tenancy agreements
  • Right to Buy (RTB) and Right to Acquire (RTA)
  • staircasing
  • assured shorthold tenancies, starter and introductory tenancies

Housing management

  • possession claims
  • collections of former tenant arrears and enforcement
  • Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and injunctions (ASBIs)
  • harassment/nuisance
  • disrepair
  • succession disputes
  • obtaining tenancies by deception
  • removal of unlawful occupiers, sub tenants and squatters

Treasury & finance

  • bond issues, capital markets funding and charging
  • transfer financing and refinancing
  • loan documentation and heads of terms on new borrowing

Procurement

Effective use of the public procurement regulations is essential in achieving value for money and increase competition throughout supply chains. Our public procurement expertise is proving invaluable in supporting clients through competitions, and in developing valuable contract management tools to ensure that the time spent competing and negotiating a contract is put to best use throughout its lifecycle.

Our lawyers have significant public sector knowledge and are experienced in working with the housing sector to maximise savings by aggregating small-scale requirements and exploring the benefits of shared services. Asset management arrangements are often an untapped/ under-exploited source of additional savings and we offer a full review service of arrangements to ensure EU procurement regulations are being utilised in the most effective manner to maximise benefits to clients, pushing risk and cost onto suppliers wherever possible.

In an age where procurement challenges are so commonplace, it is crucial to ensure full compliance with the rules to avoid unnecessary expenditure in defending injunctions and claims. Should a challenge be made, we are also well-versed in advising clients on procurement challenges and how best to address issues raised with a view to saving both time and money and avoiding any negative impact on the overall project timescales.

Social value

The Social Value Act 2012 remains an important means of adjusting priorities in procurements. However, whilst the first few years of the Act’s operation have seen widespread additional social and economic benefits in the housing sector, more effective ways are needed to measuring those benefits. Only then is it possible to focus on those areas which have the greatest impact. We have worked with clients to incorporate clearly defined social value criteria into their procurements, together with ongoing means of measuring outcomes through contract management.

General commercial advice

Driving increased efficiencies requires sound, commercially-based advice. Our Commercial team draws upon years of experience in numerous sectors, meaning we bring a balanced perspective to our advice and often identify alternatives that may not be apparent where a law firm is entrenched solely within the housing sector. Acting for an array of Registered Providers, care providers and charities allows us to offer bespoke advice whilst drawing on our other relevant experience. We provide particular expertise in advising on outsourcing and technology contracts, but often negotiate more general contractual arrangements for our housing clients.

Additional specialist advice we can offer include:

  • State aid;
  • Advising parties on health and safety requirements and risks, together with other regulatory requirements; and
  • Business-wide training to raise awareness of the importance of robust contractual arrangements, interpretation of contracts, and advising departmental leaders on risk assessment.

Other

  • commercial contracts, outsourcing and technology
  • procurement and State Aid
  • general employment law including TUPE transfers, tribunals and disciplinary matters

Knowledge & insight

Legal Articles

Employment news update

The key legislative change larger employers should be preparing for is the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations, which are expected to come into force on 6 April.

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