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  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP has a ‘great depth of knowledge in the field’ and acts for many of the country’s largest and most active housing associations, including Pennaf Group, Melin Homes and Wales & West Housing Association. Team head Siân Jones handles non-contentious and contentious work within the sector and has been advising Newport City Homes on the regeneration project for Pillgwenlly, work which has involved the removal of commercial tenants with protected business tenancies; procurement advice on contractor frameworks; leaseholder consultations; and the varying of leases in private ownership. Senior associate Richard Macphail is advising Cardiff Community Housing Association on the £20m regeneration of the Maelfa shopping centre in Cardiff. ‘Highly experienced and solutions-focused’ senior associate Louise Howells is ‘tenacious in her delivery of a fantastic service’ and acts on behalf of housing associations on the acquisition, disposal and refinancing of properties. Penri Desscan is recommended for handling procurement work for housing associations.

At the forefront of social housing developments in Wales’, Hugh James handles a range of matters for housing associations, including on-site acquisitions and redevelopment projects, procurement and commercial contract matters, and housing management issues. ‘Extremely passionate’ senior associate Bethan Gladwyn ‘understands her clients, the industry and the work completely’ and heads the firm’s housing management team. Gladwyn recently successfully represented Tai Calon Community Housing in securing an injunction against a tenant who was responsible for a sustained level of anti-social behaviour, excluding him from all 6,100 properties owned and managed by the association. Associate Rhodri Thomas is ‘passionate and knowledgeable about the area and is a clear favourite with clients and judges’. Team head Iwan Jenkins has expertise of construction matters within the social housing sector, while Robert Morgan is noted for advising housing associations on securing financing arrangements. Other clients include Aelwyd Housing Association, Melin Homes and North Wales Housing Association.

At Acuity Legal Limited, Damien Cann and Jonathan Geen are noted for bringing new funding solutions to the sector; recent highlights include acting for Mears Group on its joint venture with the London Borough of Bromley, which will acquire and refurbish 400 homes in the borough, financed by a £80m pension fund bond. Other clients include Principality Building Society, Plexus UK and Bridgend County Borough Council.

Clarke Willmott LLP focuses on social housing finance, and acts on behalf of lenders and housing associations including Melin Homes, Principality Building Society, One Housing Group and Handelsbanken. The ‘knowledgeable and tenaciousVicky Kells has a focus on social housing securitisations and secured lending; she recently advised London & Quadrant Housing Trust on its issuance of £300m secured bonds. The ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘solutions-orientedFraser MacRae acts for funders and borrowers on banking finance mandates in the sector; he recently advised Principality Building Society on a £9.9m financing facility made available to Linc-Cymru Housing Association. Senior associates Clare Gregory and Bethan Evans are also recommended.

The ‘very strong’ team at Darwin Gray LLP provides ‘very professional and responsive’ advice to an impressive roster of housing associations, including Valleys to Coast Housing Association, Merthyr Valley Homes and Hafod Housing. Despite the recent departure of Jamie Saunders, who left to join Coastal Housing Association’s in-house team, the team still includes numerous well-known figures in the industry, including ‘helpful and accessible’ team head Neil Morgan, who is ‘very knowledgeable on all aspects of social housing’. Morgan has a particular niche advising on anti-social behaviour issues and recently represented United Welsh in possession proceedings brought against a tenant who had been growing cannabis in his flat. Morgan has also handled numerous service charge and rent matters for new client NPT Homes. The ‘very knowledgeable and accessible’ Stephen Thompson also handles social housing-related work as part of his broader corporate and commercial and commercial litigation practices.

Geldards LLP draws upon practitioners with expertise in areas including real estate, finance, charities, employment and construction, enabling it to provide a multi-disciplinary service to social housing clients. Mike Jeffs has significant expertise in the industry and recently advised NPT Homes on multiple right-to-buy dispositions and strategic purchases of long leasehold interest from tenants. Liz Ganderton and senior associate Harriet Morgan have significant competence in social housing development and finance matters, while Rhian Brace has recently been active advising housing associations including Tai Calon Community Housing on employment matters. Other clients include Curo Group, Valleys 2 Coast Housing and Monmouthshire Housing Association.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors provides ‘thorough and accurate advice’ to often vulnerable tenants and handles an array of contentious work including reviews, appeals and judicial review proceedings relating to homelessness, disrepair, succession for tenants and neighbourhood disputes. ‘Conscientious, hardworking and highly knowledgeable’ team head Heather Iqbal Raynertakes great pride in her work’ and handles work for clients based in south Wales and Bristol, with a particular specialism in Equality Act claims for vulnerable tenants. Rayner also recently participated in Court of Appeal hearing Cardiff County Council v Jonathan Lee. Lynda Reid handles a range of social housing matters including defending injunctions and possession orders on behalf of vulnerable clients.

At Morgan LaRoche, Ann Thomas has a focus on work within the social housing sector and has a long track record advising RSLs across a range of secured lending, securitisations, development and commercial letting work. Corporate and commercial team head William Barletta also handles facility loan arrangements for RSLs.

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Legal Developments in Wales 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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