We advise housing associations on their wider-than-social-housing activities, such as diversification and commercial.

We help with delivering these successfully and efficiently, and in compliance with the requirements of charity law and the expectations of the social housing regulator. Our advice is practical and pragmatic, and we work closely with other advisers and consultants across tax, funding and asset strategy to ensure that we deliver the optimal structures and solutions for our clients. A key area where many housing associations need advice is around delivering their development programmes and using subsidiary companies for VAT, tax and procurement efficiency, and charity and regulatory compliance.

Our approach to diversification and commercial activities

Our breadth of experience in the social housing sector means we can quickly pinpoint hurdles and issues that affect delivery and offer sensible, practical and (where necessary) creative solutions and structures. Our strong sector focus allows us to bring to bear our knowledge and networks spanning social business, health and social care, education, local government and charities, as well as good, clear commercial business sense.

Government-driven policy changes in the housing sector have increased the pressure on housing associations to grow their income from non-traditional sources. More and more housing associations are looking to diversify their businesses and move into profit-making areas. We have been at the forefront of advising clients on these types of diversified interests for over a decade.  We have devised models for development (outright sale, commercial, market rent and mixed tenure), for service provision (construction, repairs and maintenance, estates management, back-office supplies and social enterprise) and in other areas, which are now widely used across the housing sector.

If you are thinking about diversification and commercial activities for your organisation, please contact us to see how we can support you. 

Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.

Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.

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