Social housing in Wales

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP has a 'big local presence' among many of the country's most significant housing associations, which appreciate the firm's ability to resource matters utilising practitioners with core social housing knowledge, as well as lawyers in complementary practice areas including employment, property, health, finance and construction who have developed a strong track-record in the sector. Team head Sian Jones excels at handling housing management and leasehold issues, and frequently represents housing associations in anti-social behaviour cases.

Practice head(s):

Sian Jones

Other key lawyers:

Louise Howells; Penri Desscan

Key clients

Pennaf Group

Newport City Homes

Cardiff Community Housing

Melin Homes

Wales and West Housing Association

Linc-Cymru Housing Association

Pobl Group

Peabody Group

Midland Heart

Tai Tarian

Work highlights

  • Advised Valleys to Coast Housing on a £10m term loan to facilitate further investments in the social housing sector
  • Acted for Linc-Cymru Housing Association on obtaining possession of an excluded licence in contested proceedings where the occupier raised Equality Act defences, challenged the status of the licence agreement and made personal allegations against staff members
  • Advising Newport City Homes on land acquisition and leasehold portfolio matters (both residential and commercial) to enable regeneration plans to proceed.
  • Advised Clwyd Alyn Housing Association in a complex relocation of residential tenants with physical and mental health disabilities to enable outstanding improvement works to be carried out.
  • Acting for Clwyd Alyn Housing Association in respect of a breach of lease and breach of management agreement regarding the provision of support services to people with addiction problems.

Hugh James

Benefiting from practitioners with extensive knowledge across core issues impacting on the sector (including advice on acquisitions and redevelopment projects and housing management issues), as well as being able to resource matters utilising the expertise of lawyers from across other complementary practice areas - including commercial property and employment - Hugh James provides a 'client-oriented service' for many of the country's most prominent housing associations.  Commercial property partner Richard Macphail provides 'very knowledgeable and helpful' advice to housing associations on development work. Bethan Gladwyn heads up the housing management team and has particular expertise at handling anti-social behaviour matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Macphail

Other key lawyers:

Bethan Gladwyn; Caroline O’Flaherty; David Roberts; Iwan Jenkins; Matthew Stevens

Testimonials

Very proactive and knowledgeable about the sector

Provides a first-class service

Very client-oriented and capable

Richard Macphail and Matthew Stevens are personable and a pleasure to deal with

Key clients

Pobl Group (Seren)

Charter Housing

Stonewater Limited

Hafod/Hendre Group

Coastal Housing Group

Newport City Homes

Trivallis

Cadwyn

Monmouthshire Housing Association

Linc Cymru Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Pobl Group on an extensive phased development of affordable homes using innovative funding schemes and procurement arrangements.
  • Advising Linc Cymru Housing Association on wide-ranging aspects of its housing stock and care homes, including representing it on the delivery of a pioneering ‘wellness centre’ in Bridgend.
  • Representing a registered social landlord on its dispute with a contractor relating to a late completion of works.
  • The team acts for Coastal Housing Group in relation to the Urban Village development in Swansea, which has included a number of acquisitions resulting in multimillion-pound developments spanning retail, residential and social rent units as well as a cutting-edge community hub.      
  • Advising Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd on policy changes in North Wales to consider homelessness duties in Wales which has required an in-depth knowledge of the relevant case law, statutory responsibilities and housing mechanisms.

Clarke Willmott LLP

'Extremely knowledgeable in the sector', Clarke Willmott LLP's 'accessible and knowledgeable' Cardiff team has a market-leading reputation for handling financing work - including syndicated loans, securitisations and private placements - on behalf of housing associations and lenders. Team head Vicky Kells regularly acts for registered social landlords (RSLs) on the property security aspects associated with bank and bond financings. The 'solutions-oriented' Fraser MacRae provides the core financing expertise for lenders and borrowers.

Practice head(s):

Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Fraser MacRae; Bethan Evans

Testimonials

‘The team provides thorough and insightful advice.’

‘Vicky Kells is always on hand if something really does go horribly wrong – and she has a great track record for fixing it.’

Key clients

Wales & West Housing Association

Grŵp Cynefin

Melin Housing

Cadwyn Housing

Hafod Housing Association

Rhondda Housing Association

Newydd Housing Association

Pobl Group

Metropolitan Thames Valley

L&Q Housing Trust

One Housing Group

Handelsbanken

GreenSquare Group

Yarlington Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Wales & West Housing in a charging exercise comprising 1,400 residential properties to support a £70m loan facility.
  • Instructed by Cadwyn Housing Association to undertake a property title review of unencumbered properties that will be charged in 2019.
  • Instructed by Grŵp Cynefin to undertake a project to apply for first registration at the Land Registry for more than 100 residential properties
  • Acted for Southern Housing Group in connection with property security to be put in place for its £75m revolving credit facility.
  • Instructed by Principality Building Society to draft and negotiate a bespoke facility agreement and security documentation together with taking fixed charge security over tenanted social housing assets.

Geldards LLP

Led by Susanne Bradley Geldards LLP's multi-disciplinary group handles a wide range of work within the social housing sector, including on property, finance, litigation and employment matters. Leveraging her property and charities (not-for-profit) expertise, Harriet Morgan regularly represents housing associations on development projects for residential and mixed-use purposes. Liz Ganderton has expertise advising housing associations on the property security aspects of loans.

Practice head(s):

Susanne Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Morgan; Liz Ganderton; Rhian Davies

Testimonials

The team is accessible, responsive and knowledgeable

 

Key clients

Chrysalis Housing Association

Cadarn Housing Group

The Curo Group

First Choice Housing Association

Valleys 2 Coast Housing

Pembrokeshire Housing Association

Tai Calon Community Housing

Merthyr Valley Homes

Monmouthshire Housing Association

The Seren Group

Work highlights

  • Acts for Chrysalis Supported Association on supported living schemes involving private funds who purchase multiple residential properties as well as newly built accommodation to house vulnerable adults.
  • Acting for Newydd Housing Association (1974) Limited in connection with a £17m loan facility.
  • Acting for Newydd Housing Association (1974) Limited in connection with the purchase of seven new-build houses and flats.
  • Acting for Newydd Housing Association (1974) Limited in connection with the purchase of a development site with planning permission for 17 bungalows
  • Representing Newydd Housing Association (1974) Limited on the acquisition of three pubs from Brains in close proximity to transform into residential accommodation.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

The 'friendly and responsive' six-strong team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors has a focus on acting for tenants in legal aid funded matters, including on reviews, appeals and judicial review proceedings relating to homelessness, disrepair, succession for tenants and neighbourhood disputes. The team acts for a wide spectrum of clients throughout south Wales.

Testimonials

‘The team has a caring attitude’

‘Knowledgeable and understanding’

‘The very enthusiastic Christopher Simmonds really knows his stuff’

‘Lynda Reid is bright and pragmatic’

Work highlights

  • An appeal against a homeless decision for a private individual.
  • Acted on behalf of a private individual who was very vulnerable, having serious health conditions and a great deal of difficulty dealing with her tenancy obligations
  • Defended an introductory tenant in a rent possession claim.
  • Defended a private individual in possession proceedings, issued on the grounds of rent arrears.
  • Represented a private individual in possession proceedings that were brought on discretionary grounds following her ex-partner being found guilty of dealing drugs from her property.

Morgan LaRoche

Leveraging the real estate and litigation credentials of the firm, Morgan LaRoche provides a 'good service' to a sizeable number of housing associations throughout south west and mid-Wales. Ann Thomas  has a core specialism for social housing work and regularly advises on acquisitions/sales and development schemes.

Practice head(s):

Ann Thomas (Real Estate – Social Housing); Jason Williams (Litigation – Social Housing); Llyr Davies (Litigation – Social Housing)

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Blandford