Social housing in West Midlands

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Home to ‘dedicated and insightful long-term leadership in the social housing field’, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP supports in excess of 120 national housing associations of the full array of relevant matters; examples include funding, housing management and disputes, regulatory, property ventures, procurement, construction and more recently, Covid-19 response services. The department is led locally by Peter Hubbard who holds a distinguished track record in supporting boards and executives on growth, diversification, group structure and governance restructuring projects; his team includes Victoria Jardine who holds formidable expertise in corporate and governance matters such as mergers and collaborations and Baljit Basra who 'goes the extra mile' on disrepair compensation, gas safety and statutory nuisance clains, among other contentious affairs. A prominent example of the firm’s ‘excellent client care’ is its Building Safety Workbook, produced to guide clients through the expected ramifications of The Building Safety Bill.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Cox; Peter Hubbard

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Jardine; Helen Tucker; Baljit Basra; Emma Hardman; Andrew Millross; Ranjit Bassey

Testimonials

‘Dedicated and insightful long-term leadership in the field.’

‘Helen Tucker is superb.’

‘Vast experience of all aspects of social housing. Particular strengths on funding, govenance and housing law’

‘The team are tremendously pragmatic, and really understand the balance we have to find (as social landlords) between our charitable purpose and achieving value for money.’

‘The firm are socially and values-driven. This is embedded in their employees, their motivation and their skill set. The take time to understand their client’s context and objectives and provide excellent legal advice within that context. They also provide meaningful pro bono support for a number of projects using their expertise and skills.’

‘Peter Hubbard, Baljit Basra and Emma Hardman stand out because they care and they go the extra mile.’

‘The team represented us on a major planned and responsive housing maintenance contract. They were very knowledgeable and were able to offer innovative solutions throughout the process.

‘Andrew Millross offers a very professional service. He assisted us during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Calls were dealt with promptly and efficiency.’

Key clients

Citizen Housing Group

Curo Places Limited

Futures Housing Group

Connexus Housing Group

Walsall Housing Group

Bromford Housing Group

Rooftop Housing Group

Clarion Housing Group

Riverside Housing

Orbit Housing Group

Midland Heart

Aspire

Work highlights

  • Offered a new way of partnering with key housing clients in light of the Covid-19 pandemic to give them access to all of the firm’s legal knowledge.
  • Acted for Curo in the Court of Appeal after a hearing to allow new services to be introduced in tenancy agreements: the application was successful.
  • Working pro bono with clients to identify a solution that prevented homelessness but was also sufficient to trigger a change of behaviour in tenants.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG provides ‘excellent quality advice and really understands the commercial issues faced by clients’. Social housing practice head Jacqueline Knox is a ‘real leader in the sector’, primarily in respect of developments, investments and non-contentious housing management matters; she is supported by Richard Beckingsale who fronts the firm’s dedicated regeneration and residential investment department, a role which sees him engaged by both public and private sector entities operating within the social housing field. Legal director Sally Farrall, praised as a 'walking law firm', is also integral to the offering with experience in both development and investment matters. The practice caters to social housing providers, local authorities, investors and funds and is also geared to support on social housing finance, corporate and governance, dispute, construction, commercial contract, employment and pension-related affairs.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Knox; Richard Beckingsale

Other key lawyers:

Chris Brierley; Sally Farrall

Testimonials

‘The real estate team provide excellent quality advice and really understand the commercial issues we face.’

‘Jacqueline Knox is a real leader in the sector and a great problem solver. She is very responsive and offers quick turn around times.’

‘Sally Farrall is a walking law firm. She is the best lawyer I have ever worked with and absolutely delightful.’

Key clients

Sanctuary Housing Group

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Clarion Housing Group

London and Quadrant

Bournville Village Trust

TP Impact Housing

London Borough of Barnet

LaSalle Investment Management

Cheyne Social Impact Fund

BAE Systems Pension Funds Trustees Limited

Coal Pension Properties Ltd

Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee

Triple Point Investment Management LLP

Triple Point Social Housing REIT plc

Horizon Infrastructure Partnership

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Legal & General Affordable Homes

Hyde Housing

Fox Hound Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s largest social housing providers, on a £350m secured bonds issue.
  • Advising Legal & General Affordable Homes (LGAH) on a range of acquisitions of affordable units from BDW in various parts of the country.
  • Advised Sanctuary Affordable Housing Limited on the acquisition of over 800 units in East Anglia and Essex and the related business, the novation of service agreements and funding arrangements from Nottinghill Genesis (NHG).

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The ‘exceptional team’ at Trowers & Hamlins LLPis set apart by its ability to consistently work in its clients’ best interests’. Key points of differentiation for the group include its record on transactions and ventures which intersect both the public and private sectors, as well as its proficiency in guiding first-time investors through their entry into the affordable housing market. The ‘commercially astute and pragmaticDigby Morgan leads the local practice and runs a broad workload which sees him engaged on RP-led and s106 developments, regeneration projects, care facility leases and land assembly transactions; he is supported at partner-level by procurement expert, Mark Robinson, as well as Yetunde Dania, well-versed in housing management matters such as anti-social behaviour, tenancy fraud and succession issues.

Practice head(s):

Tonia Secker; Digby Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Mark Robinson; Yetunde Dania; Dorota Pawlowski

Testimonials

‘What sets this exceptional team is apart is their ability to consistently work in their clients’ best interests. The team are incredibly knowledgeable, responsive and diligent. Even when approached with queries outside their areas of practice, they are able to swiftly access in house advice, resolving issues from the outset’

The team are a real pleasure to work with!’

‘Digby Morgan is commercially astute and pragmatic. He is a confident and calm negotiator who is able to secure appropriate remedies for his clients.’

‘There is very little that they haven’t dealt with previously and are not phased by anything out of the ordinary. They try to adopt our working practices and approaches to cases so they feel like an extension of our in-house team. They understand our business and our values but offer practical advice and solutions.’

‘They are approachable and contactable, particularly Yetunde Dania. Dorota Pawlowski is also incredibly approachable and practical.’

‘They are very responsive, particularly on short notice when we have a serious case. Through lockdown they have supported us with obtaining injunctions –  that has been a difficult task but they have been brilliant.’

‘Yetunde Dania provides a great service; we talk cases through and her advice has helped me deal with some really difficult cases. Yetunde has always passed on her experience to my team members and arranged training sessions for the team – this has led to us being able to prepare our own in-house injunctions and has saved the business a lot of money.’

Key clients

Legal & General Affordable Homes Limited

Midland Heart Limited

Clarion Housing Group

Citizen Housing Group

Bromford Housing Association Limited

Platform Housing Group

United Communities Limited

South Yorkshire Housing Association Limited

Gateway Housing Association Limited

Black Country Housing Group

ReSI Housing

Peabody Group

Orbit Group

First Garden Cities Homes (formerly Howard Cottage)

Rooftop Housing Group

Cross Keys Homes Limited

Rural District Housing Trust

Plus Dane Housing

Accord Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for Legal & General Affordable Homes, a major for-profit RP on their s106 acquisition and development deals across the country.
  • Advising Midland Heart Limited on a large stock rationalisation project that will potentially see 600 units acquired and 500 units disposed of to another well-established RP as part of a stock swap.
  • Advised Citizen Housing Group Limited and Citizen New Homes Limited on several complex multi-party land-led projects involving both their RP and DevCo group companies, two of which will see a further 268 homes built, 168 of those being affordable.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's social housing team has a notable capacity for land, s106 unit and large extracare scheme-related acquisitions, Golden Brick agreements, affordable housing disposals, housing and leasehold management, and corporate and governance matters, among other affairs. The team is jointly led by Rachel Gwynne whose proficiency in social housing regulation has led to an influx of Covid-19-related advice over the past 12 months, as well as Louise Drew who supports RPs on sale and asset management matters with distinguished expertise in care retirement village and specialist tenure leasehold schemes.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Gwynne; Louise Drew

Other key lawyers:

Stewart Freeman; Paul Huggins; Emma Gamble

Testimonials

‘Shakespeare Martineau is highly experienced and offer a responsive and high quality service. The people are great to work with and transactions are efficient. Their virtual webinars are highly informative and a great use of online tech to keep clients up to date.’

Key clients

Citizen

Stonewater Group

Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District

Walsall Housing Group

Honeycomb Group

Platform Housing Limited

Nottingham Community Housing Association

Cottsway Housing Group

Regenda

Orbit Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Stonewater on its innovative employee-based shared ownership scheme (MyOwnHome) which is helping eligible employees to get onto the housing ladder.
  • Advised Platform in its acquisition of two affordable housing schemes delivering 80 units which needed to be exchanged weeks into the first Covid-19 pandemic national lockdown in April 2020.
  • Advised Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District on its acquisition of Langstone Society.

Shoosmiths LLP

At Shoosmiths LLP, the team covers all facets of social housing mandates from single unit and major development site transactions, housing and portfolio management and funding matters through to corporate, commercial and employment affairs and regulatory and enforcement investigations. Practice head David Perry is a residential and mixed-use development specialist with a prominent track record in long-term strategic land schemes; he is supported by planning expert, Anna Cartledge, as well as Paul Knight who is the key contact for contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

David Perry

Other key lawyers:

Anna Cartledge; Paul Knight

Testimonials

‘In very simple terms, working with Shoosmiths feels like having an extension to our team. ’

‘The biggest compliment that I can pay them is that we are receiving a highly professional service, in a way that feels very personal and solution-focused. I always have a sense of reassurance knowing that the Shoosmiths team are looking after our development schemes.’

Key clients

Fortis Living Limited/Platform Group

Walsall Housing Group

Midland Heart Limited

Bromsgrove District Housing Trust Limited

Derwent Housing Association Limited

Merlin Housing Society

Croydon Churches Housing Association

Two Rivers Housing

Accord Group

Cambridge and County Developments

Work highlights

  • Acting for Midland Heart Limited on the roll out of their successful Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) pilot, dealing with more than 100 VRTB transactions.
  • Advising Walsall Housing Group on a strategic review for portfolio funding on section 106 mortgagee in possession drafting for developments sites, to recommend best practice drafting to secure enhanced value at charging.
  • Acting for Platform Housing on a 50+ unit subject to planning development acquisition, opening up a new geographical location for the client as part of its development plans.

Wright Hassall LLP

Wright Hassall LLP is home to a ‘client-focused, approachable and knowledgeable’ social housing service; the group, which boasts a history of policy influence in this space, is principally adept in long-term funding, housing management, property transaction and development ventures. Leamington Spa-based Andrew Dudley is noted for his ‘wealth of experience’ in guiding registered provides through property developments and oversees the team which also includes Carol Matthews, a securitisation expert. Other key names include housing and asset management specialist, Mary Rouse, and Claire Waring who is adept in development site acquisitions and contractual joint venture agreements.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Dudley

Other key lawyers:

Carol Matthews; Mary Rouse; Claire Waring; Emma Adams

Testimonials

‘The team at Wright Hassall are very easy to contact, very approachable and always on hand for help and advice. During these difficult times, it has been very reassuring to know they are there if needed and that they have been able to maintain good communication throughout. ’

‘Emma Adams has been been great to work with, very knowledgeable and supportive and If a query relates to a matter outside their speciality, she has been able to put me in touch with other colleagues who have been able to help.’

‘Wright Hassall are very thorough and diligent and understand our requirements as a provider of social housing. They are friendly and easy to work with. Their reports on title and planning reports are detailed and accessible.

‘I work mainly with Claire Waring who is approachable, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.’

‘Wright Hassall are very approachable and knowledgeable team that is client-focused. ’

‘Andrew Dudley has a wealth of experience and provide excellent advice.’

Claire Waring is very knowledgeable and pragmatic and gets the job done with minimal fuss.’

Key clients

Accent Group

Aspire Group

Bromford Group

Connexus Group

East Midlands Housing Group Limited

Grand Union Housing Group

Great Places Housing Group

GreenSquare Group

London & Quadrant Housing Association

Longhurst Group

Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group

Platform Housing Limited

Stonewater

Orbit Group

Settle Group

Sovereign Housing Group

Two Rivers Housing Group

Walsall Housing Group

Warwickshire Rural Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Helped to uplift the value of parts of three of a southern-based RP group’s LSVT portfolios, comprising of properties charged to a traditional lender and within two bond security pots giving the group a valuation uplift of £490m.
  • Within a three-month window, the team secured the uplift in the value of LSVT stock in both the south of England and West Midlands as security for a bond issue of £200m.
  • Advised Citizen Housing Group Limited in connection with its proposed acquisition of 146 homes in Kidderminster from its sister company Citizen New Homes Limited.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP is instructed for an array of social housing-related work, covering corporate governance, disputes, regulatory, development and housing management matters. Sarah Greenhalgh, the firm’s housing lead for the West Midlands, has a recent track record in housing association M&A, corporate and funding models, joint ventures, charity law and governance affairs. Rebecca Pendlebury is also a key contact, owing to her position as local head of property and expertise in mixed-use regeneration schemes.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Turner; Sarah Greenhalgh; Rebecca Pendlebury

Other key lawyers:

Adam Kendall; Ashley Norman

Testimonials

‘The team provides clear legal advice in a way that is easy to understand. The team go above and beyond to support clients and provide excellent networking/introductory meetings for like minded people. The people are what sets this team apart, they are down to earth, able to understand the needs of the client and provide advice within the agreed timescales.

‘The fee quotes are clear. The communication is excellent and the team keeps me updated on a frequent basis. The team deliver value for money in comparison to some other firms.’

‘Sarah Greenhalgh stands out as a professional and dedicated lawyer. Sarah has a thorough understanding of governance and the complexities of the unique housing sector. Sarah is able to demonstrate confidence and grace when interacting with clients. I have been very impressed with the work that Sarah has delivered and Bevan Brittan will continue to be a go-to firm of mine because of the quality of people.’

Key clients

Catalyst Housing Limited

Abri

YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire and YMCA Birmingham

Royal London Borough of Greenwich

Leicestershire County Council

Sixty Bricks Limited

London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Havering

Oxford City Council

Together Housing Group

Sage Housing Limited

Broadacres

Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association

Pioneer Group

Walsall Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Following on from its work bringing Aldwyck Housing Group Limited into the Catalyst group as a subsidiary, the team acted on the transfer of engagements from Aldwyck to Catalyst in accordance with the statutory process set out in the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
  • Appointed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to advise on their key strategic Housing Delivery Programme which seeks to establish the Royal Borough as one of the national and regional leaders in the delivery of social rented, genuinely affordable council housing.
  • Advised Sixty Bricks Limited, a development company wholly owned by the London Borough of Waltham Forest set up to expedite housing delivery and ensure that a high level of affordable housing can be provided within vibrant communities. The team negotiated and completed all the documentation required for the delivery of the first scheme and are now advising on the next two development projects.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP’s social housing practice is led by David Meecham, a lawyer who routinely acts for local authorities, both local and national, on major housing-led regeneration project; he holds distinguished expertise in structuring transactions according to procurement and State aid requirements and works in close tangent with Rebecca Rowley, a public sector expert who primarily focuses on housing-led schemes. The group is adept in financing matters, owing to the debt capital markets, securitisation and asset backed finance knowhow of Edward Sunderland and is also able to tap into the firm’s wider construction, planning, property tax and employment prowess.

Practice head(s):

David Meecham

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Rowley; Edward Sunderland

Testimonials

‘David Meecham is solution-driven and has an excellent understanding of client requirements.’

Key clients

Homes England

Ministry of Defence

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Brent London Borough Council

Birmingham City Council

London Borough of Hackney

Crawley Borough Council

London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Southwark

London Borough of Hounslow

Westminster City Council

London Borough of Redbridge

Southampton City Council

Methodist Homes

Coventry City Council

Cardiff Council

Lichfield City Council

CBRE UK Affordable Housing Fund

Oxfordshire County Council

Central Bedfordshire Borough Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

Wolverhampton City Council

Cornwall Council

Guildford Borough Council

Basildon Borough Council

Suffolk County Council

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Lovell Partnerships Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Birmingham City Council on the competitive dialogue procurement of a joint venture/development partner for delivery of exemplar estate regeneration of its Ladywood Estate in Birmingham city centre.
  • Advising Homes England and numerous local authorities on the payment of, and receipt of, grant funding pursuant to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (forward fund) for the strategically important unlocking of significant housing sites for delivery through the payment of significant funding for delivery of (otherwise unviable) infrastructure.
  • Advising the London Borough of Waltham Forest on its procurement of a development partner (through the GLA’s London Development Panel 2 framework) to deliver the Waltham Forest Town Hall Campus development.

Roythornes Solicitors

Roythornes Solicitors supports major players in the social housing field on the full array of real estate, corporate and commercial, housing management, procurement, regulatory and funding matters; examples include strategic land transactions, housing policy reviews, succession disputes and joint ventures, among many other matters. The practice is led by Bhavesh Amlani, the firm’s national head of real estate, and also includes residential property disputes specialist Bukola Obadun-Craigs.

Practice head(s):

Bhavesh Amlani

Other key lawyers:

Bukola Obadun-Craigs; Emily Danson; Benjamin Smith

Key clients

Regenda Homes

Walsall Housing Group

Longhurst Group