Social Housing

Our Social Housing Team comprises leading sector specialists from across the firm. We advise Registered Social Landlords, charities, supported living and student accommodation organisations on all regulatory, governance and operational issues and are recognised as trusted advisors to our clients. We offer a seamless service, coupled with an active interest in emerging legal and policy issues, which affect the sector.

Our close links with Capital People Consultants, a UK wide consultancy and training organisation, gives us a unique dimension. In collaboration with highly qualified and experienced HR advisors, training and development consultants, health and safety experts, fire risk consultants and occupational health practitioners, we can look after all of your requirements, offering a completely integrated service.

Our services include:

  • Residential and commercial development
  • Construction contracts, consultancy appointments, collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees, dispute management and resolution
  • Section 106 Agreements including affordable housing provision
  • Infrastructure Agreements and Easements – s38, s278, s104,
  • Regeneration projects – solar farms, wind energy projects and tidal energy
  • Town and country planning
  • Commercial leases and estate management
  • Assured and secure tenancies,
  • Right to buy and right to acquire
  • Land disputes, easements, boundaries,
  • Occupiers liability
  • Rent recovery
  • Forfeiture
  • Possession
  • Enforcement
  • Banking and finance – for both RSL’s and banks
  • Securities and bonds
  • TUPE
  • Change management, including workforce and multiple site re-organisations
  • Collective consultation
  • Trade union and labour relations law
  • Changes to terms and conditions
  • Discrimination
  • Internal disciplinary and grievance matters involving allegations of bullying and discrimination
  • Tribunal litigation
  • Delivering training (including Mock Employment Tribunal training, Employment Law Diploma (acc. by Cardiff University) and international Anti Corruption and Bribery Act training.

In addition we are commercial members of Community Housing Cymru. {LOGO}

Here are some examples of the work we’ve been involved in:

Commercial estate management

We handle all aspects of commercial estate management for Valleys to Coast Housing. This includes the grant of commercial leases, assignment, surrender, renewal, licences to assign, licences for alterations, sale and purchase of surplus land, infrastructure agreements and easements, community regeneration projects, market garden leases.

Housing regulation and government policy

We advise the housing and neighbourhood management team at Valleys to Coast Housing on all legal issues covering regulation, compliance and Welsh Government consents.

Leasehold reform legislation

We acted for Valleys to Coast Housing in the issue of proceedings to preserve a lease where there was one week of the term remaining and the landlord was unknown.

Affordable housing

We are acting for Newydd Housing Association on the purchase of the affordable housing provision of 100 homes on a large new development to satisfy the section 106 requirement.

Joint ventures and collaboration agreements

We have acted for United Welsh Housing Association and Grŵp Gwalia on site acquisition and development projects involving joint ventures and collaboration agreements.

Development projects

We are acting for Jericho Wharf Trust on a development in Oxford for the regeneration of derelict canal-side land, including residential with an element of affordable housing, community facilities and public space. The work involves negotiating an extensive section 106 agreement and a collaboration agreement between the local council, the developer, the Canal and River Trust and our client as the preferred provider of community facilities.

Site acquisitions

We are acting for IGH Investments Limited in the acquisition of a brownfield site near Caerphilly town centre for the forward sale onto RCT Homes subject to planning permission.

Site disposals

We are acting for one of the primary landholders at Dumballs Road, Cardiff in the disposal of 32 acres for the forward sale to a number of housing associations. Planning permission for 2,500 residential units was obtained less than six months ago.

Public private partnerships

Jeremy Williams acted for Grŵp Gwalia on the design, construction, finance and maintenance of a student accommodation project at Bangor University, a 25-year contract with a capital value of £40 million. This included the drafting of and negotiation with the university’s lawyers and the funder’s lawyers of a bespoke construction contract, consultant appointments, warranties, novation documents, guarantees and facilities management contract.

Public private partnerships

Jeremy Williams advised Grŵp Gwalia on its collaboration with Swansea University for student accommodation project, including advising on the refurbishment and maintenance of existing accommodation blocks on the campus.

Collaborative framework ag reements

Jeremy Williams has advised consortia of social housing providers on the form of framework contracts for the maintenance of properties within their estates.

Social housing finance

We are acting for a specialist third sector funder in a social housing transaction of £7.5 million, a loan which is secured over a portfolio of 300 plus properties. We have supervised the borrower’s solicitor in the preparation of reports on title, the negotiation of remedies to the defects in title identified and the perfection of security.

Social care

We are acting for a group of companies in the care home sector on a refinance transaction, working with the borrower and the lawyers acting for the funder on a complex £4 million re-finance with several companies offering security and cross collateralising each other.

Dispute management

We regularly handle a range of disputes for our social housing clients, such as:

  • A dispute with a commercial and residential tenant over the enforcement and release of restrictive covenants
  • A dispute with a neighbouring landowner over the existence and scope of a right of way over the RSL’s land
  • A large scale encroachment onto the RSL’s land involving multiple landowners
  • Contested possession proceedings where the grounds for possession were anti-social behaviour and nuisance and the arguments raised in defence involved disability discrimination issues
  • Options to recover premises and/or rent arrears on commercial property portfolios
  • Representation at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal where a residential tenant challenged the RSL’s right to recover service charge costs.

Contractual disputes

Jeremy Williams advised Linc-Cymru Housing Association on contractual issues with its framework contractor on the PPC 2000 form of contract used for the procurement of the works.

Employment Law

Our Employment experience in the Social Housing Sector includes:

  • Advising a client on making costs savings of circa £500k per year through a pay cut, redundancies and a reduction in overtime rates.  We advised and assisted them throughout a process which involved collective consultation with their union and employee representatives. This included attending consultation meetings and advising on ad-hoc issues as they arose.  The client successfully reached agreement with its employee representatives and costs savings were subsequently made, without any grievances or tribunal claims being raised.
  • Defending class actions brought against a client by three trade unions and over 1600 employees. The claims relate to an alleged failure to consult, breach of contract and unfair dismissal and their combined value exceeds £45m.

Advising a client in relation to its proposal to close its existing defined benefit pension scheme and move back to the Civil Service pension scheme. This has included providing initial advice, advising on the collective consultation process and providing correspondence timelines and working with pension consultants to provide education sessions to employees and Union representatives.