Social housing in West Midlands

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

The well-regarded team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP provides advice to registered providers on issues ranging from corporate and governance matters to funding issues, procurement work, real estate transactions and litigation. The practice also leverages additional expertise in its recently opened Manchester office, led by Jonathan Cox, as part of a nationwide offering. Peter Hubbard heads up the Birmingham team and advises local authorities and other social housing organisations on development projects, constitutional and governance matters, and regulatory issues. Victoria Jardine and litigators Helen Tucker and Baljit Basra are also key partners. Regulatory partner Tim Coolican joined from Slater and Gordon in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hubbard

Testimonials

‘ACS solicitors always work as part of our team. They are responsive and communicative, and always achieve even very tight deadlines. They build trusting and valued relationships.’

‘Consistently good team with a culture and social ethos which suits the social housing sector particularly well.’

‘Victoria Jardine is excellent – commercial and pragmatic while always keenly focused on achieving the right outcomes for her clients.’

Key clients

Clarion Housing Group

Riverside Housing Group

Citizen Housing Group

Trafford Housing Trust

Futures Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Trafford Housing Trust, a 9,000 property housing association located in Greater Manchester, as it joined the L&Q Group as a subsidiary.
  • Acting for five registered providers (Guinness, Great Places, Together Housing, Yorkshire Housing and South Yorkshire Housing Association) on creating a large sub-regional development joint venture.
  • Assisted Chorus Homes with seeking an injunction against a homeless drug addict to stop her from entering any of the client’s properties.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Digby Morgan heads up the Birmingham practice at Trowers & Hamlins LLP,  which was recently bolstered by the recruitment of solicitors Rachel Beck and Abhishek Khanna from Bevan Brittan LLP and DLA Piper in 2019. Morgan advises registered providers on complex transactions including acquisitions, development schemes, portfolio sales and acquisitions of leasehold supported housing. The 'always approachable and unflappable' Yetunde Dania focuses on housing management mandates including complex anti-social behaviour issues, tenancy fraud and disrepair cases, acting for providers of social housing and private landlords. Senior associate Natalie Owen joined from Wright Hassall LLP has notable experience in advising registered providers on various methods of securing finance.

Practice head(s):

Digby Morgan

Testimonials

‘Their legal and political knowledge of the sector, as a whole, is pretty much unparalleled but their practical experience and advice is even more impressive and most relevant to us. They can always find a solution to our problems!’

‘Yetunde Dania – always contactable, always approachable and unflappable.’

Key clients

Accord Housing Group

Midland Heart Limited

United Communities

Rooftop Housing Group

Legal & General Affordable Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Waterloo Housing Group on its acquisition of a large, complex site from a local authority as part of its wider development of approximately 150 affordable homes.
  • Providing ongoing support to Midland Heart Limited and Clarion Housing Group, among others, on a range of contentious management issues, including anti-social behaviour injunction applications.
  • Acted for Gateway Housing Association on the acquisition of affordable units from mixed-use property developer Rockwell.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG leverages its considerable national cross-departmental expertise in the social housing sector, and also utilises complementary experience in corporate and commercial, real estate, planning and dispute resolution issues. Practice head Jacqueline Knox specialises in social housing developments, investment work and housing management issues. In the regeneration and investment team, Richard Beckingsale is noted for his niche expertise in the private rented sector.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Knox

Other key lawyers:

Richard Beckingsale

Key clients

Sanctuary Housing Group

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Clarion Housing Group

London and Quadrant

Orbit Homes

Bromford Housing Group

Bournville Village Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Sanctuary Affordable Housing on the acquisition of a total of 35 units across seven sites from Keepmoat Limited and Keepmoat Homes Limited.
  • Acted for Legal & General Affordable Homes on its acquisition of 127 affordable units from Berkeley Homes at its development at South Quay Plaza in Canary Wharf.
  • Advised Legal & General Affordable Homes on its acquisition of its first 50 properties, comprised of shared ownership apartments in Leon House, Croydon.

Shoosmiths LLP

David Perry is the key figure in Shoosmiths LLP's social housing practice, which has a strong reputation in acting for registered provider clients on the development of social housing. Perry also assists clients with planning, construction and asset management issues.

Practice head(s):

David Perry

Testimonials

‘Individuals are intellectually strong and explain difficult concepts in a straightforward way.’

Key clients

Fortis Living Limited/Platform Group

Walsall Housing Group

Midland Heart Limited

Bromsgrove District Housing Trust Limited

Derwent Housing Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Midland Heart Limited on the roll out of its successful Voluntary Right to Buy pilot.
  • Advising Merlin House Society on matters relating to Preserved Right to Buy / Right to Acquire work, which also includes obtaining tenant applications and preparing/submitting Section 125 Notices.
  • Assisting Bromsgrove District Housing Trust Limited with the negotiation of, and ongoing work in connection with, a major strategic development agreement with a national housebuilder for the delivery of 120 units in Bromsgrove.

Wright Hassall LLP

At Wright Hassall LLPAndrew Dudley 'has very strong knowledge and experience of the affordable housing sector', and advises on all aspects of property work for housing associations, with a particularly focus on developments, governance issues and stock transfers. Director Robert Sprake acts for landowners and developers acquiring, developing and disposing of residential and commercial estates.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Dudley

Other key lawyers:

Robert Sprake

Testimonials

‘Large multi disciplinary practice, covering many facets of legal services. Wright Hassall have a very strong team particularly in the market areas of property and residential. They are customer facing and work very hard at engaging with the client and understanding their individual requirements. They are definitely one of the leading firms in the affordable housing sector.’

‘Andrew Dudley has very strong knowledge and experience of the affordable housing sector, a very knowledgeable, engaging and customer focused legal professional. He always puts the customer first and puts a high value on building and maintaining our business relationship.’

Key clients

Accent Group

Aspire Group

Bromford Group

Grand Union Housing Group

Great Places Housing Group

London & Quadrant Housing Association

Longhurst Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for a local registered provider on its acquisition of a completed development of 14 housing units.
  • Advised on a complex deed of mutual easement involving six landowners and third parties with interests in four parcels of land to enable the acquisition of and to facilitate a development site acquired by the client, Bromford Home Ownership.
  • Advised the Longhurst Group on its second bond of £250m designed to fund the delivery of 700 affordable homes.

Pinsent Masons LLP

David Meecham leads Pinsent Masons LLP's public sector development practice, where he is instructed by local authorities and housing associations on a wide variety of real estate transactions and regeneration and development projects.

Practice head(s):

David Meecham

Testimonials

‘Personable and professional, with a very strong track record in delivery for clients with a varied skill set to best support customers.’

Key clients

Homes England

Ministry of Defence

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Brent London Borough Council

Birmingham City Council

London Borough of Hackney

Work highlights

  • Advising Birmingham City Council on the competitive dialogue procurement of a joint venture for the Ladywood estate regeneration in Birmingham city centre.
  • Advising St Mungo Community Housing Association on the second procurement of a development partner to redevelop its property in Edgware to provide 60 residential units.
  • Advising London Borough of Waltham Forest on its procurement of a development partner to deliver the Waltham Forest Town Hall Campus development.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, real estate head Louise Drew specialises in the acquisition and sale of a wide range of affordable housing assets and assists registered providers with all operational issues arising in relation to housing stock. Retirement living is a key area of experience, with the team involved in drafting bespoke leases; the group also has expertise in shared ownership matters, buy-backs and large-scale asset disposals in this area of the market. Rachel Gwynne handles complex corporate projects including mergers, stock transfers and diversification matters.

Practice head(s):

Louise Drew

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Gwynne

Testimonials

‘All very approachable.’

‘Always available for face-to-face meetings where required and prepared to visit the schemes they are providing legal services on.’

Key clients

Midland Heart

Citizen

Honeycomb Group

Orbit Group

Stonewater

Bromford Housing Group

Walsall Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on Stonewater Group’s acquisition of 2.6 acres of bare land at Birstall near Leeds from Sir Robert Ogden Estates for the development of 32 affordable homes.
  • Advising Midland Heart on the corporate restructuring of its Fully Mutual Housing Association Scheme.
  • Advised Stonewater Group on the implementation of an innovative employee-based shared ownership scheme, which is helping eligible employees get onto the housing ladder by buying a home on the open market.