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Who Represents Who

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Harper Macleod LLP’s team is led by Derek Hogg, who has more than 20 years of experience in the social housing sector, and is a go-to for regulatory, governance and constitutional advice. Its client base of registered social landlords (RSLs) collectively manage 55% of RSL housing stock in Scotland, as well as local authorities, funders and housebuilders. In 2016, Hogg and associate Collette Miller assisted Port of Leith Housing Association with securing a £35m private funding facility for the purposes of building 480 new affordable housing units in Edinburgh, which involved a linked revolving credit facility and private placement deal. In a separate matter, Hogg is currently acting for Wheatley Housing Group in a large-scale governance review. James McMorrow handles corporate, regulatory and public procurement issues, and is experienced in large-scale projects, such as constitutional partnerships between RSLs. Other key members of the team include Jennifer Jack, Derek McIndoe, John McHugh and associate Fiona McLeod.

Social housing and charity law boutique T C Young has more than four decades of experience acting for RSLs located throughout Scotland. The firm has ‘a wide team of specialists’ that possesses ‘an in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector, and the risks that RSLs have to be mindful of’. Stephen MacGregor heads the social housing division, which acts as a one-stop shop for contentious and non-contentious matters. Alison Brynes and Douglas Collingham are acting for Thenue Housing Association on the regeneration and development of the east end of Glasgow, and are handling the acquisition of a development site at Montieth Row in Glasgow. In another matter, MacGregor and associate Lauren Little acted for Wellhouse Housing Association on a major refurbishment project concerning numerous properties, which involved incorporating energy-saving measures and co-ordinating the provision of similar improvements for owner-occupiers. Jim Bauld, Alastair McKendrick, Andrew Cowan, Mark Ewing, Christine Stuart and consultant Len Freedman are also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard merged with HBJ Gateley in Scotland, taking on the legacy firm’s housing team, which acts for some of Scotland’s largest RSLs, as well as the Scottish government, developers, funders and consultants. Practice head Heather Pearson and Andrew Fairlie acted for Kingdom Housing Association on its acquisition of a development site from Robertson Homes Partnership. In another highlight, Susan McDonald and Elaine Imlach assisted Link Housing Association with a review of its factoring service provided to more than 1100 homeowners. Joan Devine, Alan Sinclair and Ilona McGowan are representing Link PSL in numerous actions for recovery of possession of properties. Pearson’s team also advises RSLs on investment in and development of renewable energy projects, such as onshore wind farms. Devine and Sarah Baillie joined from Anderson Strathern, and Alison Horner joined from MacRoberts LLP, while Stuart Clubb departed for Shoosmiths, and Frazer Wardhaugh joined BAM Construction.

BTO Solicitors LLP has a track record in the social housing sector dating back to the 1970s, and is particularly known for acting for RSLs. Patrice Fabien leads the group, which includes commercial conveyancing expert Karen Brodie. Brodie acted alongside Marieclaire Reid and Lesley Gray for Clyde Valley Housing Association on its acquisition of 13 separate development sites as part of an ambitious development programme. Grant Hunter assists with all forms of dispute resolution (including litigation, arbitration and mediation), and is experienced in contentious matters arising from development projects and tenement refurbishment programmes. David Young handles a variety of issues, such as antisocial behaviour, tenancy litigation and factoring. Also recommended are employment law specialists Caroline Carr and David Hoey, construction law expert Sandra Cassels, and Paul Motion, who is advising Oak Tree Housing Association on the data protection aspects of the Common Housing Register. Kingdom Housing Association, Partick Housing Association and Grampian Housing Association are also clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters for RSLs and housing associations, drawing upon the expertise of practitioners in disciplines such as projects, litigation, real estate, construction and employment. Stephen Humphreys, who has more than 25 years of experience of the social housing sector, has a particular specialism in litigation (particularly contentious landlord and tenant matters). He acted alongside senior associate Siobhan Connelly for Kingdom Housing Association on obtaining a decree for recovery of possession against an anti-social tenant. In another contentious highlight, Colin Archibald and associate Kate Gillies are representing Wheatley Housing Group and Loretto Housing Association in a structural defects dispute with the contractor and structural engineer behind a redevelopment project in the early 2000s. Rhona Harper acts for RSLs and public sector bodies in the procurement and outsourcing aspects of social housing projects. Accredited employment law specialist Neil Maclean and real estate director Elaine Hunter are also recommended.

Anderson Strathern acts for housing associations, developers, local authorities and property factors. David Hunter, Douglas McLachlan and senior associate Victoria Simpson are acting for East Lothian Housing Association in the development of a novel cash back scheme as a means of encouraging tenants to manage rental payments online, and register for other services. In another matter Hunter, Gavin Thain and Deborah Lovell are advising East Lothian Housing Association, Grampian Housing Association and Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association on a renewable energy initiative designed to generate free electricity for tenants and reduce fuel poverty levels. Senior associate Shirley Evans, who is a housing management expert, is handling an eviction action for Manor Estates Housing Association. Recently promoted partner Martin Whiteford, Bruce Farquhar, Fiona Killen, accredited charity law specialist Victoria Simpson and public procurement expert Fiona Killen are also recommended. Alistair Dean rejoined the firm following its acquisition of ADLP Limited.

Burness Paull LLP provide a wide range of services to housing charities, housing associations and private sector housebuilders. Link Group, Scottish Futures Trust Investment Limited and Wheatley Housing Group are among the firm’s key clients. Jointly led by Peter Chambers and Scott Peterkin, the team advises on issues such as planning, health and safety, and construction. Peterkin, Louise Chambers, Gillian Irons and senior associate Sarah Stewart acted for Sanctuary Housing Association on its high-profile £6.5m acquisition of the site formerly known as the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow as part of a major development project. Stephen Phillips was the lead adviser to the same client on the development of a legal framework for delivery of the project. Another highlight involved acting for Hillcrest Housing Association in the acquisition of, and linked development agreement associated with, a site at Loaning Road in Edinburgh for 59 affordable housing units.

The team at CMS is led by Ailsa Ritchie and has assisted clients with various phases of the Scottish government’s flagship National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative since its inception in 2010. Senior associate Lynsey Brown’s knowledge of the NHT is complemented by her expertise in other initiatives, such as the Custom and Self Build Scheme and Local Authority Mortgage Scheme. Lorri Pollock, who focuses on real estate and property issues, is another name to note. City of Edinburgh Council, Capita Asset Services and The Royal Bank of Scotland are all clients. Craig McGinn departed for an in-house role at SMS Plc.

Morton Fraser is particularly well-known for its work in social housing finance, where it acts for clients such as Santander and Bank of Scotland in a significant portion of their Scottish matters. In 2016, Andrew Meakin, who has more than 20 years of acting for lenders to social landlords, advised a number of social landlords on new financing facilities to Antonine Housing Association and Cadder Housing Association. Associate Lauren Hart and senior associate Paul Kenneth are other names to note. Suzanne Hardie, who leads the capital projects team, has notable experience of social housing development projects, while Innes Clark advises registered social landlords on employment law issues.

Shoosmiths acts foe social housing sector clients on a broad cross-section of matters. Practice head Janette Speed and senior associate Laura Bloxham are experienced in residential development and property transactions. Recent highlights include advising Port of Leith Housing Association on the acquisition of a development site at S2 Granton in Edinburgh. Solicitor advocate Andrew Foyle manages recoveries matters and also undertakes insolvency-related work. Solicitor advocate Stuart Clubb handles housing litigation, which includes cases involving Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, recoveries of rent arrears and property from tenants and post-stock transfer warranty and indemnity claims. Karen Harvie is particularly knowledgeable about governance and employment issues. Corporate partner Stuart Murray and senior associate Kenny Scott are other highly regarded practitioners. Kingdom Housing Association, Fairfield Housing Co-operative and Cairn Housing Association are all clients.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Social housing

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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