The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Four ACS project teams worked on the following five national, high-profile projects to complete for the 31 March, public sector year end:
- A multi-million pound regeneration project for Leicester City Council to develop 900,000 square foot of city centre office space into flats, shops, public space and create new transport links.
- A ground-breaking, residential property-leaseback arrangement for Derwent Living, with CBRE, unlocking, for the first time ever, legacy value in shared-ownership housing so that Derwent can undertake more affordable housing development in the future.
- £75m regeneration in Salford through the housing stock transfer of 8,500 homes from Salford City Council to Salix Homes. The transaction value was £210m with the project requiring government write off of existing debt of £50m.
- £20m investment in 4,800 homes in Gloucester through the transfer of homes from Gloucester City Council to Gloucester City Homes. The transaction value was £292m underpinning a 30 year investment and regeneration strategy with funding provided by RBS.
- Major new lease-back funding arrangement for Pennaf Housing Group with Aviva Investors to fund the development of more affordable housing in Wales.
The Derwent Living transaction is the first lease-back, funding transaction of its kind, never seen before in the UK. This particular model will allow housing associations to unlock additional funding capacity; it is likely it will be used for future funding deals in the development of more affordable housing, to help meet the national housing shortage.
The Gloucester and Salford projects, where ACS acted for the local authority on each transaction, were significant value transactions each at over £200m, and will deliver additional investment and regeneration programmes over the next five years.
The projects were not without their difficulties. Throughout the Leicester City Council project, particularly post-demolition of the office blocks, ACS advised the Council through challenging commercial negotiations to enable the project to be kept on track.
Peter Hubbard, Senior Partner at ACS, said: “The four teams working on these projects have delivered on impressive transactions to tight timescales. Having multiple transactions of national importance completing at the same time reflects our nationally-leading position on major public-sector regeneration, along with the strength in depth of our property regeneration and public sector teams.”
The completions follow on from ACS’s previous success in the financial year, which includes:
- The effective launch of its capital markets team with the completion of a publicly-listed bond deal worth £250 million on behalf of Walsall Housing Group to develop an extra 2,000 affordable new homes over five years
- Completion of two further private placements totalling £60m on behalf of Wulvern Housing and Shropshire Housing Group
- A 7% increase in turnover from £13.5m in 2012/13 to £14.5m in 2013/14 and an impressive 43% increase in profits.
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Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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