We have one of the largest social-housing legal teams in England – this enables us to draw on sector-specialist advice covering all aspects of your asset and stock transfer projects.
We have led on innovative stock-transfer and stock-acquisition models, including the first arms-length management organisation transfer (from Warrington Borough Council to Golden Gates Housing Trust) and the first transfer to a “housing mutual” (Rochdale Borough Council to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing). Our depth of knowledge in relation to the social housing sector and specifically in relation to stock transfer and acquisition projects means that we are unphased by novel issues which can arise in relation to such projects.
We are leaders in the field of social-housing stock transfers, with members of our team having advised on over 50 large-scale voluntary transfers (LSVT), both pre- and post-ballot, acting for registered providers and local authorities. We also advise on tenant-led stock transfers under the Housing (Right to Transfer from a Local Authority Landlord) Regulations 2013.
In addition to LSVT projects, we have advised on several stock rationalisations and stock swaps. This includes:
- negotiating and advising on property transfers;
- advising on complex housing-management issues, such as rent increases and the transfer of rent arrears;
- giving advice in relation to TUPE;
- reporting on complex service-charge issues; and
- advising on novating key service contracts to ensure continuity of service for tenants.
Working with you
It is one of our key priorities to quickly establish an excellent working relationship with your project management team and project board. This is essential to us supplying the legal advice needed for projects of this size and complexity. Particularly in relation to stock transfer projects, preserving and developing the good working relationship between local authority and recipient landlord organisation is vital to the success of the project. Our experience in stock transfers means that we can easily identify key concerns likely to arise and help manage these without threatening the project, identifying these early so that they can be discussed openly and fairly.
We have found that good communication is key to the success of projects such as these. We seek to agree a regular communications plan and meetings schedule to ensure that emerging issues are identified and dealt with appropriately. Our breadth of experience enables us to quickly identify the relevant key issues that need to be focused on as part of these projects, enabling negotiations to be handled more efficiently and effectively.
Anthony Collins Solicitors used wisdom and experience in stock transfers and public regeneration projects to enable us to complete the transfer before the Government deadline. Their creativity and clear focus was particularly valuable in the closing stages of the transaction, when they managed some critical risk exposures for us as against the position taken by third-party lenders. This was done without losing sight of the need to complete the deal and not to undermine the Council’s ongoing relationship with Salix Homes. Through Anthony Collins Solicitors support, we have launched a new independent housing association attracting major external investment into the area, and safeguarding our financial position for the future.Neil Thornton, Director of Finance and Corporate Business, Salford City Council.
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.