Social housing in Scotland

Harper Macleod LLP

Acting for more than half of Scotland's registered social landlords, Harper Macleod LLP is recognised as one of the key legal advisors in the sector. The team provides full-service advice and also attracts various other players including local authorities, urban regeneration companies, lenders, private sector developers and joint venture bodies. 'Very experienced, practical and considered' public sector and housing team head Derek Hogg is the main contact for governance, regulatory and constitutional advice and the 'very experienced and knowledgeableJames McMorrow is best known for assisting clients with corporate, commercial, regulatory and public procurement issues. Partner Collette Miller is 'extremely knowledgeable' and 'can always be relied upon to meet even the tightest of deadlines'; she frequently assists with large-scale projects and transactions.

Practice head(s):

James McMorrow; Derek Hogg

Other key lawyers:

David McIndoe; Collette Miller

Testimonials

Practical and efficient service.

The team has considerable and extensive experience of the social housing sector, covering all aspects from regulation and governance through to project assembly to advising on complex financing structures.

Derek Hogg is an excellent communicator and always provides clear, well grounded and sensible advice.

Brings solutions, not problems.’

Provides the client with a simplified easily absorbed summary of issues, responsibilities and consequences.

Friendly team, easy to work with, and helpfully has the ability to look at the bigger picture.

Key clients

The Scottish Government – More Homes Division

Wheatley Housing Group

Link Group

Sanctuary Housing Association

Cairn Housing Association

Abertay Housing Association

Kingdom Housing Association

Caledonia Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Assisted various housing associations with private placement deals. This included the lending and security transactions for Kingdom and Cairn Housing Associations with UK, Canadian and US-based investors, and acting for Clyde Valley and Hillcrest Housing Associations, each borrowing £70m from international investors, among others.
  • Providing advice to the government’s More Homes team on its affordable home ownership schemes, including Help to Buy (Scotland), Help to Buy (Scotland) Small Developers, Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable Home Ownership and the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT).
  • Advised Wheatley on a range of governance and property matters.
  • Advised the client on preparations for the introduction of GDPR.
  • Acted for Cairn Housing Association in relation to Ayrshire-based RSL, ANCHO, becoming a subsidiary within Cairn’s group structure, advising on all governance, constitutional, regulatory and diligence related matters.

T C Young

With a superb reputation in the social housing sector, T C Young's 'exceptional' team remains a popular choice for registered social landlords, who frequently instruct the team led by Alison Brynes to advise on stock transfers, factoring, property management and development issues alongside procurement and governance matters; on the contentious side, the team is also well versed in conducting court cases relating to anti-social behaviour. Managing partner Andrew Cowan and 'analytical' consultant Len Freedman are highly regarded. Litigator Alastair McKendrick and procurement expert Lauren Little made partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Alison Brynes

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Cowan; Len Freedman; Alastair McKendrick; Lauren Little; Jim Bauld; Mark Ewing; Christine Stuart; Douglas Collingham

Testimonials

Jim Bauld is an outstanding professional. He really is one of a kind and always has the answer or solution to any issue raised with him.

They are proactive, engaging and adapt to the needs and specific requirements of their clients.

Douglas Collingham’s patience and attention to detail are superb.

Great communicators.’

Key clients

Castle Rock Edinvar

Govan Housing Association

Govanhill Housing Association

Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association

Home in Scotland

Maryhill Housing Association

New Gorbals Housing Association

ng homes

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in an acquisition fundamental to its strategic regeneration objectives.
  •   Providing advice to Govan on its proposed acquisition and regeneration of a substantial Clydeside site which will involve mixed tenure and outright sale properties.
  • Acted in the negotiation of a new £21m loan facility from RBS which was essential for the client to fulfil the objectives in its business plan including new build development.
  • Instructed by SFHA to prepare updated model rules to reflect the requirements of the new regulatory framework introduced in spring 2019, with an intended implementation for RSLs in August/September 2019.  
  • Instructed to undertake a substantial asset review of all properties owned by HiS in Dundee.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard has been increasingly active in advising funders and RSLs in social housing funding transactions. The team, led by Heather Pearson, also handles various other contentious and non-contentious issues, including those pertaining to housing management, tenancy, debt recovery and data management as well as development projects, group structures and constitutional partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Heather Pearson

Other key lawyers:

Susan McDonald

Key clients

Ayrshire Housing

Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association

Grampian Housing Association

HSBC Bank

Kingdom Housing Association

Link Group

Linstone Housing Association

Paragon Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Assistance in drafting a new bilateral facility agreement between Nationwide Building Society and River Clyde Homes.
  • Assistance with seeking eviction of a tenant under a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy.  
  • Advising Ayrshire Housing on the acquisition of a stand-alone site in Ayr from CCG (Scotland) for the development of 39 social rented flatted homes.
  • Advising Kingdom Housing Association on the acquisition of 25 affordable homes in Cairneyhill from Avant Homes.
  • Advising Grampian Housing Association on its factoring role, particularly in relation to substantial landscaping works.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's wide-ranging social housing expertise leads to regular instructions from RSLs on group structure, governance, data protection, employment and construction issues alongside funding agreements, site acquisitions and contentious matters. 'Outstanding' team head Patrice Fabien is a highly regarded figure in the market.

Practice head(s):

Patrice Fabien

Other key lawyers:

Karen Brodie; David Young; Caroline Carr; Grant Hunter

Testimonials

Exceptionally professional practice that communicates well with clients on all levels.

The team fully understands the needs of the client and goes above and beyond what is required.

Very down to earth whilst remaining completely professional at all times.

Always alert to the client’s interests.

Key clients

Argyll Community Housing Association

Clyde Valley Housing Association

Thistle Housing Association

Grampian Housing Association

Partick Housing Association

Berwickshire Housing Association

Spire View Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Providing regular advice to Grampian Housing Association on shared ownership properties and group structure matters.
  • Acting as the client’s sole legal advisors, the team provides regular advice on private finance placements, governance and data protection matters as well as construction contracts and disputes, among other issues.
  • Assisting the Partick Housing Group with a major regeneration development project, as well as a review of all the clients’ titles.  
  • Completed 13 site acquisitions throughout the Central Belt with an overall development value of several million pounds.
  • Concluded four site acquisitions for Loreburn Housing Association and addressed all ancillary matters, including deeds of servitude and planning agreements.

Burness Paull LLP

'Providing a first-class service', Burness Paull LLP has a strong profile for planning, construction and transactional social housing work and acts for a large number of social housing and affordable housing providers across Scotland. Advising on private financing matters constitutes another key area of expertise. The 'very experiencedPeter Chambers is the main contact alongside property development and property finance expert Scott Peterkin.

Practice head(s):

Peter Chambers; Scott Peterkin

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Phillips

Testimonials

The team has a wealth of experience in the sector and has considerable expertise in complex projects.

Inspires confidence with their immediate grasp of the client’s requirements and communicates their understanding clearly and concisely.

Peter Chambers always displays a calm and confident manner and is an excellent communicator.

Key clients

Sanctuary Housing Association

Scottish Futures Trust Investment

Cruden Group

Springfield Properties

Hillcrest Housing Association

Link Group

Miller Homes

Castlehill Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Bertha Park, a joint venture between the Ritchie family and Springfield Properties, on the development of the Bertha Park community development, which will create a new settlement on the outskirts of Perth of c.3,000 new homes, including affordable housing, private housing, commercial units, educational facilities and new infrastructure.
  • Involved in the negotiation of missives with associated design and building contracts in relation to multiple deals for the provision of social housing for Cruden Homes.  
  • Advising Link Group on the acquisition and development of circa 300 units at Dunbeg, Oban.
  • Assisted the Sanctuary Group with the acquisition, development and onward disposal of the redevelopment of the former Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow.
  • Advising Castlehill, the leading provider of affordable housing in the North East of Scotland, on all of its site acquisitions, which, in 2018, included the acquisition of a site for 36 units at Maidencraig, Aberdeen, from Bancon Homes and of a site for 24 units at Portstown, Inverurie, from Malcolm Allan Housebuilders.

Anderson Strathern

Acting for local authorities and registered housing associations, Anderson Strathern handles a wide range of matters. Senior associate Shirley Evans, who heads the team following David Hunter's appointment as consultant in August 2018, focuses on housing management and litigation. Other key areas of expertise include commercial, corporate, finance, construction, regulatory and employment-related work.

Practice head(s):

Shirley Evans

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Maclean; Fiona Killen; Drew Morris; David Hunter; Victoria Simpson

Testimonials

Drew Morris is very pragmatic.’

Key clients

East Lothian Housing Association (ELHA)

Castlerock Edinvar Housing Association

Castlehill Housing Association

Melville Housing Association

Blackwood Homes and Care

Hillcrest Housing Association

Midlothian Council

Work highlights

  • Advising the housing association on the eviction of a vulnerable tenant, who posed a risk to other housing association tenants and properties.
  • Advised the client on the terms of several pioneering discounted rental schemes, which had been introduced by ELHA following the changes made to universal credit.
  • Assisting Places for People with plot sales at its multi-phase housing development at Twechar, East Dunbartonshire, which is a regeneration project that the client has been working on with Dunbartonshire Council since 2006.
  • Advising Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association on the purchase of a development site for over 150 properties at Rowett South, Aberdeen as part of a large-scale housing development on land being acquired from the Rowett Institute.
  • Advised ELHA on the public procurement procedure for a Managed IT Services and ICT Infrastructure Refresh Agreement for all of ELHA’s IT requirements.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

The team at Shepherd and Wedderburn led by litigator Stephen Humphreys is well versed in handling social housing litigation, large-scale residential regeneration projects and housing defect claims for housing associations and local authorities. In August 2018, public sector procurement expert Rhona Harper left the firm to work in-house.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Humphreys

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Hunter; Andrew Hall; Euan McLeod; Colin Archibald

Key clients

Glasgow Housing Association

The City of Edinburgh Council

Tollcross Housing Association

Southside Housing Association

Shettleston Housing Association

Molendinar Park Housing Association

Dunedin Canmore Housing

Work highlights

  • Advising Wheatley on  construction and procurement matters pertaining to one £400m construction framework.
  • Has been advising Wheatley Housing Group on the procurement and construction aspects of the Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area project in Glasgow.
  • Advising the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) on its 21st Century Homes project, which will deliver 1,300 homes across Edinburgh, including regeneration projects at North Sighthill (320 homes) and Pennywell (700-plus homes). This included advice on procurement, construction, development and real estate matters for each project.

Shoosmiths

Led by Janette Speed, the 'proactive and commercially very savvy' team at Shoosmiths is best known for advising RSLs and government-backed property funds on residential and commercial development work including associated site acquisitions and sales across Scotland.

Practice head(s):

Janette Speed

Testimonials

Good at anticipating hurdles and allowing time for key legal issues to be addressed.’

Janette Speed is able to provide detailed documentation at very short notice when required.

Key clients

Port of Leith Housing Association

Kingdom Housing Association

Persevere Developments

Manor Estates Housing Association

PfP Capital Fund

Dunedin Canmore Housing Association

Bellway Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised government-backed fund on the property aspects of its remit to secure at least 20 sites across Scotland for the provision of mid-market rent units.
  • Advised the RSL client on the acquisition of a residential development site at West Bowling Green Street Leith from Housebuilder Teague.
  • Assistance with the conclusion of missives for the sale of affordable housing by Bellway at Gartcosh to North Lanarkshire Council, in a turnkey deal in implementation of the developer’s obligations under the Section 75 Agreement.
  • The team was instructed post-acquisition to review the Deed of Conditions applying to the site at Plot S Granton, which arose due to a service charge dispute over the interpretation of badly drafted Deed of Conditions and the implications of the 2012 Act on the registration and preservation and effectiveness of a number of servitudes for services.
  • Regular assistance with mid-market lease structures between Port of Leith Housing Association and its subsidiary Persevere Developments to facilitate and manage the mid-market rent portfolio comprising properties at Brunswick Road, Abbey Lane and Baileyfield, Edinburgh.

Thorntons Law LLP

The team at Thorntons Law LLP is led by Graham Wilson and has a strong focus on assisting registered social landlords with site acquisitions and funding arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Graham Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Chris Allan

Key clients

Hillcrest Housing Association

Caledonia Housing Association

Angus Housing Association

Abertay Housing Association

Kingdom Housing Association

Ore Valley Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in its £12.5m investment in 80 new affordable homes in Dundee.  
  • Advised the client on its acquisition of the land required for 130 new affordable homes in Aberdeen with an overall development value of £18m.
  • Advised the client on its project to deliver ten new affordable homes in Arbroath, involving an overall spend of £1.35m.
  • Represented the client in its £7.5m investment in 58 new affordable homes in Dundee.
  • Represented the client in its purchase of six new affordable homes in Carnoustie from a local developer.