We know that successful partnering is built on strong relationships, but that at times it can be challenging for charitable and not-for-profit housing organisations to know how best to protect their interests, particularly in unfamiliar territory.

Every time you decide to work with another organisation you have to choose how best to make that relationship work. Whether you are setting up a loose collaboration or a formal joint venture it is imperative that you review the options, bear in mind the legal rules, and find the right way for you. Our specialist team can guide you through every step of the process.

Our commercial and corporate expertise means we approach negotiations pragmatically to achieve the best outcome for housing associations, without damaging the underlying relationships that are so crucial. We act for housing providers on their collaborations with other organisations, whether through formal joint-venture companies, contractual consortium agreements, special purpose and cost-sharing vehicles or more informal arrangements. Our experience includes development and investment joint ventures, repairs and maintenance cost-sharing groups, coterminous governance and operations between parallel (non-grouped) organisations.

Throughout our many years of experience, we have been at the forefront of innovation in collaborative working and joint ventures. We acted on many of the first cost-sharing arrangements (for VAT purposes) in the housing sector, as well as ground-breaking regeneration projects involving multi-party collaboration. We are acting on a joint venture between a G15 housing association and a housing association, which will generate hundreds of millions of pounds of development finance for new affordable and multi-tenure housing. This will provide a sustainable investment model that can be used throughout the housing sector and as a platform for the future.

How we can help you with joint ventures and collaborative working

One of the first, and most important, decisions you will make is the structure that best suits your particular needs. Each type of business structure involves different legal requirements, and it is important that you understand the difference between these to enable you to choose the best one for you. We have advised on:

  • Informal collaborations, including memorandum of understanding.
  • Contractual joint ventures.
  • New joint venture companies or partnerships.
  • Full mergers or acquisitions.

At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we will advise you on how best to work together with other organisations, and how to manage issues that might arise, such as: 

  • Management of the venture.
  • Finance and resourcing, including staff and premises.
  • Shares of any profits or losses.
  • Intellectual property.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Tax consequences.
  • Dispute resolution.
  • Possible exit routes.

Our advice is practical, clear and we will work with you to guide you through every step of the legal process. Our experienced teams have extensive housing sector knowledge and experience to help you through periods of uncertainty, change and difficulty.

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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