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housing associations

Housing Associations operate in a heavily regulated sector and have a unique set of needs when it comes to property matters. Even the most straightforward transactions have an additional layer of complexity because of the need to comply with social housing laws, together with rules which potentially flow from having a not-for-profit or charitable status.

Our property team understand the legal framework within which housing associations must operate, and are able to draw on their knowledge to provide a specialist service that is tailored to the needs of social housing providers and those who supply affordable homes.

We also have links to other professionals who work within the social housing sector, including tax and VAT specialists, who can be called on to provide additional advice where required.

The housing associations that we act for are based throughout the UK and are a mixture of companies, registered charities, trusts, co-operatives, and industrial and provident societies.

To find out more, please contact our department head, Darren Millis, on 01908 689314.

Our services

Our experienced team can assist with:

  • land acquisition and development;
  • property purchase and redevelopment;
  • site assembly and property construction;
  • social housing sales and lettings; and
  • estate and portfolio management.

Our expertise extends to dealing with a broad range of housing types, including social rented and affordable rented homes, shared ownership properties, and supported specialist housing.

Property acquisition and development

We provide an end-to-end service for housing associations which have secured the funding to acquire and develop a new site, whether acting alone, in partnership or through a joint venture.

Our service includes dealing with the initial land acquisition (including any compulsory purchase elements), providing legal input into the planning process, negotiating section 106 planning obligations, advising on the terms of infrastructure agreements, placing construction contracts, handling completed plot sales and agreeing the terms of tenant lettings.

Property sales

We regularly receive instructions to facilitate stock transfers between different providers, and to deal with the disposal of older stock on an ad hoc basis in order to realise funds to carry out property maintenance and improvement works, or for reinvestment into new projects.

Working in conjunction with our residential conveyancing team, we also deal with:

  • the sale of shared ownership properties, including through staircasing arrangements;
  • sales to tenants exercising a right to buy, a right to acquire or a right of first refusal; and
  • the sale of market homes.

Estate management

Once an estate is established, it needs to be carefully managed to ensure that it remains in good condition and that residents feel happy and safe. Tenants need to be encouraged, and if necessary forced, to comply with their tenancy obligations, and those living on the estate who seem intent on causing damage or annoyance need to be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

We can help you to carry out your management functions by:

  • drafting comprehensive and robust tenancy agreements;
  • dealing with tenant requests, including applications for the mutual exchange of housing association properties;
  • resolving tenant complaints, including those relating to nuisance;
  • tackling property disrepair;
  • dealing with the legal aspects of property maintenance and improvement programmes;
  • collecting rent arrears; and
  • instigating possession proceedings.

Why choose Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors?

Our highly regarded property team has experience in acting for housing associations. We have in-depth knowledge of housing association regulation and a true understanding of how this has an impact on business operations and the approach taken to property matters. This means that when we say we appreciate the unique needs of housing associations and other social housing providers, we really do mean it.

And because we are a full-service firm, the advice and support that we are able to offer our clients extends to so much more than just property matters – it also includes the negotiation of commercial agreements, the structuring of partnerships and joint ventures, the setting up of special purpose vehicles, funding arrangements and the resolution of all types of dispute.

As Adrian Sinha, former director of assets at Jephson Homes Housing Association (now Stonewater) said prior to his retirement ‘we are finding that we are using a broader range of Geoffrey Leaver’s services as it is apparent they offer such a wide range of expertise.’

We also appreciate that budgets within housing associations are often tight, which is why our pricing for social housing providers has been set at an affordable rate and one which compares favourably with other local and national specialist commercial property firms.

To find our more, please call 01908 689314 or send an email to Darren Millis or Richard Willis.

You may also like to sign up to receive our newsletter,  or visit our resource hub.


What our clients say:

“I would like to say it has been a pleasure acting for you both & also working alongside Richard who was able to add a rational legal perspective in proceedings, that seemed to be lacking elsewhereMax Pollock

For more information about how we can help, you can read testimonials from our commercial property clients


Accreditations

The Legal 500:  “Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s commercial property team is well versed in the areas of construction, property investments, planning and property disputes. Its clients include housing associations and occupiers (landlords and tenants). The practice is headed up by Darren Millis and Richard Willis.”

Legal 500 2020 Leading firm

The Commercial Property Team

  • Darren Millis Partner
    Commercial Property 01908 689319
    Darren has over 25 years’ experience in dealing with commercial property work.  Darren has concentrated in the last few years on the more complicated land acquisition and development work including:

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  • Richard Willis Consultant Solicitor
    Commercial Property 01908 689315
    Richard specialises in Property Law, representing clients from small family businesses to large PLC’s’ He also acts for local Councils, Parish Councils, landowners, investors, developers, lenders, Housing Associations and Charities. 

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  • David Barton Consultant
    Commercial Property 01908 689395
    David Barton joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors in 2014 along with his planning and property development team from Williams & Company in Ampthill. David is widely known for his expertise in helping farmers, landowners and property developers grow houses on their land.  David now assists the team as a Consultant.

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  • Georgina Page Solicitor
    Commercial Property 01908 689361
    Georgina joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors in October 2014 from Williams & Company in Ampthill.  Georgina completed the Legal Practice Course at Sheffield University after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a 2:1 in Law (LLB) and qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2020.

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  • Michael Harrigan Trainee Solicitor
    Commercial Property 01908 689328
    Michael Harrigan is a commercial property paralegal who joined Geoffrey Leaver in March 2019.  He is an LPC graduate who also holds a Masters in Taxation from the University of Law.

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