Social housing in Wales

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP provides 'competent, prompt and clear advice' to a raft of Wales-based housing associations and a growing number of England-based clients, on housing law and tenant management matters, as well as in relation to their transactional real estate concerns. 'Very attentive' team head Sian Jones provides a 'superb service' to RSLs on their day-to-day housing law issues, in addition to advising on any property litigation which may arise, including on service charge disputes. Jones also has expertise in relation to advising on any anti-social behaviourial issues with tenants and has been particularly active of late providing ongoing training and advice to clients on the ever evolving Covid regulations. The 'exceptionalLouise Howell is the key contact for housing association clients on their transactional property work (including on the acquisition, disposal and refinancing of properties) and is appreciated for her 'outcomes-focused' service. 

Practice head(s):

Siân Jones

Other key lawyers:

Louise Howell; Penri Desscan; Tanya Barrett; Kate Howell

Testimonials

‘Blake Morgan provides a first-class service, they always have someone available to give accurate and professional advice.’

‘Sian Jones very attentive and provides a superb service.’

‘The exceptional Louise Howells provides an outcomes-focused service.’

‘ Louise Howell is totally committed, focused and knowledgeable.’

Key clients

ClwydAlyn Housing

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

Vale of Aylesbury Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Coastal Housing Group on the property elements of a £250m restructure of its portfolio.
  • Acted for Newport City Homes in its purchase of a mixed use city centre landmark site, Olympia House – the former passport office.
  • Obtained an emergency injunction for Tai Tarian Housing Association against a tenant for persistent breaches of the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 regulations which included preventing known troublemakers from attending the property.

Hugh James

Headed by Richard MacphailHugh James' 'knowledgeable and approachable' multi-disciplinary team provides a 'solution-oriented' service to an impressive roster of Wales and England-based housing associations across the spectrum of their legal requirements. Commercial property work is of course a major driver for many of the team's instructions, and as well as Macphail's own competence in the area, particularly on development matters, clients benefit from the considerable expertise of 'standout' partner Caroline O'Flaherty, whose recent work has included several innovative projects, including for Pobl Group and Coastal Housing Group on their trailblazing partnership bringing sustainable zero carbon homes, manufactured off-site, to Gwynfaen. The 'thorough and client focusedBethan Gladwyn has a 'wealth of knowledge and understanding of social housing' and heads up the firm's 'very strong' housing management team that is appreciated for its 'high-quality' work and focus on 'achieving results'.

Practice head(s):

Richard Macphail

Other key lawyers:

Caroline O’Flaherty; Bethan Gladwyn; Yvonne Davies; Iwan Jenkins; Robert Morgan

Testimonials

‘The team is very knowledgeable and approachable. Always keen to find a solution to an issue when necessary.’

‘Individuals are genuinely nice people who want to make a difference. They are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the advice given is what is expected.’

‘Bethan Gladwyn really understands housing management, knows her clients and is focused on achieving results.’

‘Bethan Gladwyn is thorough and client focused, with a wealth of knowledge, and understanding of social housing.’

‘ Caroline O’Flaherty is a standout partner.’

Key clients

Pobl Group

Charter Housing

Stonewater Limited

Hafod/Hendre Group

Coastal Housing Group

Newport City Homes

Trivallis

Cadwyn

Monmouthshire Housing Association

Linc Cymru Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Pobl Group and Coastal Housing Group on the trailblazing partnership bringing sustainable zero carbon homes, manufactured off-site, to Gwynfaen.
  • Advised Optivo on the stock transfer of two tenanted housing for older people schemes in Birmingham from Optivo to Housing 21.
  • Advised Tai Tarian on an unfair dismissal claim which involved allegations of homophobia.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP remains a market leader on social housing financing matters on behalf of both RSLs and lenders. 'Knowledgeable and thorough' team head Vicky Kells is very adept at advising on the property security aspects of loan and bond facilities sought by housing associations, including as it relates to securitisation transactions. Leveraging her broad-based commercial property expertise, Clare Gregory is also regularly instructed by housing associations to advise on their transactional real estate requirements, including on development issues.

Practice head(s):

Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Fraser MacRae; Bethan Evans; Clare Gregory; Charlotte Lord

Testimonials

‘They always meet deadlines and respect the client.’

‘The secured lending social housing team is very knowledgeable of lenders’ requirements and provides excellent advice on methods of resolving issues to enable more properties to be mortgaged or to be accepted at full value.’

‘Vicky Kells continues to provide an excellent service. She is very knowledgeable and thorough.’

‘Vicky Kells is very experienced in preparing housing associations for securitisations, running them and dealing practically and innovatively with issues that arise unexpectedly.’

Key clients

Cardiff Community Housing Association Limited

RHA Wales Group Limited

United Welsh Housing Association Limited

Cadwyn Housing Association Limited

Wales & West Housing Association Limited

Orbit

London & Quadrant

Triodos Bank UK Limited

Principality Building Society

Handelsbanken

Work highlights

  • Advising RHA Wales Goup on the  the security requirements for a £30m private placement with a new entrant into the sector and a new loan facility with Barclays. This involved the release and consolidation of properties which were already secured to other funders.
  • Advised Cardiff Community Housing Association on its £37m bLEND loan and putting in place all property security within a tight timescale.
  • Acting for Abbeyfield in relation to the sale of some of its nursing home businesses/assets and advising on its merger with another housing association partner.

Geldards LLP

Drawing upon the expertise of practitioners from across the firm's full-service offering, including commercial property, banking, planning and employment, Geldards LLP has an 'excellent reputation for delivering a high level of service' to a sizeable roster of Wales-based housing associations. The team's core expertise and where it adds particular value, however, is by virtue of its broader knowledge of charities law, enabling it to provide a holistic service which is cogniscant of governance issues for clients in the space. Combining a compelling mix of charities law and commercial property expertise, team head Harriet Morgan exemplifies this approach and as well as advising on pure governance matters, has also developed a particular niche advising on supported living housing models.

Practice head(s):

Harriet Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Liz Ganderton; Rhian Davies

Testimonials

‘The firm has an excellent reputation for delivering a high level of service and for the in-depth knowledge and experience they have of the housing sector in Wales. The team is very approachable and able to communicate complex legal matters in a way which can help clients gain a better understanding.’

‘I appreciate how approachable Geldards are as an organisation. Being able to pick up the phone and ask questions without the fear of judgement makes working through complex legal matters far easier for us clients.’

‘Rhian Davies is approachable, responsive and proactive.’

Key clients

United Welsh

Westmoreland Housing Association

Adra

Wales and West Housing Association

The Curo Group

Coastal Housing Group

Pobl

Valleys 2 Coast Housing Limited

Newydd Housing Association (1974) Limited

Chrysalis Housing Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Chrysalis Supported Housing Association on its rules, changes to its group structure and setting up a subsidiary CIO as well as acting for them on multiple housing projects for supported living involving taking leases from REITS and associated nomination agreements with Local Authorities.
  • Advising Coastal Housing on the £1.5m acquisition of a six bedroom HMO that will be renovated to two affordable apartments together with the construction of eight affordable apartments, including three no wheelchair accessible units, and associated parking and amenity areas.
  • Acting for Newydd Housing Association in connection with a security substitution in relation to existing security with Orchardbrook.

Capital Law Limited

At Capital Law Limited, senior associate Liz Gibbons has been integral to the firm's growing visibility in the sector and has acted as an effective bridgehead for which to bring in practitioners from other complementary practice areas including commercial property, litigation and banking and finance. Recent work has included advice to Sero in connection with the management of a major collaboration, between 68 RSL and other public, private and third sector organisation partners, to assist with the retrofitting of more than 1,300 Welsh homes utilising a a mixture of new energy efficient materials and technologies.

Practice head(s):

Liz Gibbons

Key clients

Pobl Group

Newport City Homes

Valleys to Coast Housing Limited

Hendre Limited

Bron Afon Community Housing

Cardiff Community Housing

Trivallis Limited

Newydd Housing Association Limited

Cadwyn Housing Association

Southern Housing Group

Sero Life

Cartrefi Conwy Cyfyngedig

Adra (Tai) Cyfungedig

Welsh Government

Work highlights

  • Advised Pobl Group on its acquisition of land at the former County Hall, Cwmbran.
  • Advising Sero in connection with the management of a major collaboration, between 68 RSL and other public, private and third sector organisation partners, to assist with the retrofit of more than 1,300 Welsh homes.
  • Advising the Hendre Group on the TUPE implications on the fragmentation of a home care service and its collective consultation obligations; and on the human rights, data protection and other legal aspects of introducing mandatory Covid-19 testing for care home employees.

Morgan LaRoche

At Morgan LaRoche, fluent Welsh speaker Ann Thomas  is the main contact at the firm for property-related social housing work, and provides 'authoritative advice' to numerous Wales-based RSLs across a range of transactional matters, including acquisitions and sales. On the litigation front, the team also regularly represents RSLs on tenancy covenant enforcement issues and anti-social behaviour management.

Practice head(s):

Ann Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Jason Williams; Llyr Davies

Testimonials

Ann Thomas provides authoritative advice.’