Skip to content

The social housing group provides all the legal services the sector needs and our team understands the dynamic regulatory, funding and welfare challenges.

While funding changes and welfare reforms have accelerated the transformation of the sector, high demand coupled with financial constraints on delivery create constant challenges.

Whatever you are trying to achieve, we can help you. From advising on the setup and effective operation of the organisation and its people, through the acquisition and building of stock, to the ongoing management of estates and mergers and new organisational structures.

Focusing on your specific requirements, we have significant experience in providing clear and practical advice to providers just starting out in the sector, through to experienced operators.

So when you need specialist legal expertise, trust our team to provide a comprehensive service, you’re in safe hands.

Work we have done

Commercial
  • Advising on the consequences when a member (a social housing organisation) sought to amend the terms of a call-off contract under a framework administered for a consortium arrangement. We referred them to regulation 33 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which showed that the terms set out in the framework agreement and the procurement documents must be followed, but also identified some flexibility where the terms can be more precisely formulated. Agreement was reached on the extent of the changes and the call-off was entered into successfully without challenge
  • Assisting a sector client to develop a procurement strategy for non-typical services, such as appointing insurance brokers to procure contents insurance for tenants
  • Drafting documents to enable the client to set up a dynamic purchasing system, including the selection questionnaire, DPS agreement itself and the call-off contract
  • Providing advice when challenges have been raised by bidders to a framework agreement. The issues have usually been associated with transparency, and we have been successful in advising on mitigation strategies that have helped to satisfy bidders’ concerns
  • Assisting a Registered Provider in producing contract documentation for a £750,000 heating system procured and installed on an estate in Leeds
  • Advising a Registered Provider on a framework agreement in relation to recruitment services with a neutral vendor through which sub-contractor agencies would supply
  • Helping a Registered Provider take action in light of poor performance on the part of the neutral vendor in the form of service credits and/or threats to terminate for breach
Corporate
  • Advising on merger structures and procedures, including conversion of legal structures, to enable a more straightforward full merger, as well as advising on mergers creating group structures
  • Advising on acquisition of several charities to create a new registered provider and intra group arrangements
  • Advising a Registered Provider client on an acquisition pre-merger due diligence including attending board and audit committee meetings
Employment
  • Advising on complex TUPE situations involving SPC’s where contracts have been fragmented across multiple providers
  • Supporting significant organisational change to reduce costs, meet the expectations of the Regulator and reshape the focus of their organisation
  • Providing support on IR35, GDPR and The Governments Job Retention Scheme
  • Delivering training to the Northern Housing Consortium’s members on separate sessions on TUPE, Working Time Regs, IR35 and Covid-19
  • Advising on intricate LGPS bulk transfer pension issues, automatic enrolment, life cover and trustee insurance
  • Obtaining sponsor licences for recruits from outside the European Economic Area
  • Advising on employee relations issues such as grievances and disciplinary matters
  • TUPE/collective consultation training to an arms-length LACC housing provider
  • Representing clients in straight forward unfair dismissals as well as complex discrimination/protected disclosure Employment Tribunals
  • Challenging a HMRC NMW enforcement investigation in relation to sleep-ins/on-call allowances
  • Routinely advising on contracts of employment, policies/procedures including changing terms of employment
  • Advising on the management of redundancy processes involving employee and collective trade union consultation
  • Advising on board level executive terminations
  • Advising upon the interests of third parties e.g. families of vulnerable individuals, local safeguarding, CQC and the police
Housing Management

Within the last twelve months examples of work we have carried out includes:

  • Large quantities of ASB action: injunctions and possession including mandatory possession claims
  • Advice on Human Rights Act and Equality Act problems, and all aspects of housing law advice, including succession, assignment, termination, supported housing schemes
  • Enforcement action for other tenancy breaches, including complex hoarding cases, through to access for gas servicing, electrical checks and fire safety works
  • Possession claims for a large metropolitan local authority for breach of agreement/unlawful occupation/succession, hoarding and other miscellaneous grounds
  • Trespass claims
  • Advising on rents and service charge setting
  • Drafting and reviewing policies, procedures, and agreements (tenancies, licences, management agreements)
  • Advice on de-pooling rent and service charges
  • Regulatory advice
  • Leasehold service charge collection/advice including a £1m s20 consultation exercise for a national Registered Provider
  • Achieving £300,000 savings for a Registered Provider on a £750,000 Dilapidations claim at the end of a 20 year apartment block lease
  • Housing management advice on several due diligence exercises as part of merger processes
  • Defending disrepair claims for several Registered Providers and local authorities
  • Possession claims under s21 (including defended claims), against trespassers and licencees
  • Responding to adverse possession claims through the Land Registry Tribunal
  • First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) applications including variation of lease provisions
  • Defending an action brought against a Registered Provider client for disability discrimination under a number of provisions under the Equality Act 2010 in relation to actions the claimant felt her landlord should have taken as reasonable adjustments in the provision of her tenancy
  • Advising a Registered Provider about a review of gas servicing non access procedure
  • Advising a Registered Provider on their allocations policy and how it underpinned their direct access allocations service, a choice based letting scheme they operated through their website
Planning
  • We advise Registered Providers, developers and local authorities across the country on various aspects of s106 agreements. In particular:
    • Acting for a Registered Provider on the National Housing Award 2015 site in Northumberland, advising on the form and content of the relevant planning application, and negotiating the s106 agreement that secured the issue of the planning permission
    • Providing strategic advice to a housebuilder on the impact of affordable housing obligations in relation to the management and funding of intermediate housing stock
    • Negotiating affordable housing S106 obligations from the perspective of Registered Providers to ensure the value of the housing stock and the ability to subsequently raise finance is not jeopardised. Ensuring the occupancy provisions are clear, measurable and feasible in terms of how occupancy will be taken up, and reducing the risk of voids
    • Advising a Registered Provider in respect of its acquisition from the City of York of 3 regeneration sites and the drafting of the necessary planning agreements which concern: the provision, mix and tenure of affordable housing; open space, public art and certain travel plan requirements and contributions. The scheme involved the provision of 195 new homes across all three sites
  • Successfully providing specialist highway advice and advocacy services to a Registered Provider client in relation to a local inquiry in to the confirmation by Secretary of State in relation to the confirmation of a Stopping Up Order at Haydon Bridge in Northumberland.  The scheme involved the demolition of 24 garages to make way for a 6 unit development together with  36 new parking spaces for the community
Property
  • Advising numerous Registered Providers on conditional site acquisitions from private and local authority landowners, and housing from housebuilders, involving options, planning conditions, phased draw down, building leases and compound licences, overage, collaboration agreements and all aspects of complex multi-party development transactions
  • Acting for a Registered Provider on developing their retirement living solutions schemes for use throughout the country, from site assembly to development, estate set up and freehold or leasehold disposals and advice on event and consent fees
  • Acting for numerous Registered Providers in the acquisition of development sites and the drafting of compliant estate set up and plot sale documentation for shared ownership schemes
  • Acting for a Registered Provider on over 200 schemes nationally, including funding and structuring arrangements with institutional funders. The schemes involve acquisitions,  nominations and management agreements with a variety of parties
  • Acting for numerous Registered Providers via our specialist housing and plot sales team on disposals of surplus stock on the open market, via auction or agreed sale; disposals of new build discount for sale units; shared ownership leases including the new models and CFG compliance; re-sales of shared ownership units and obtaining covenants; assisting Registered Providers with stair-casing procedures and statutory compliance
  • Acting for Registered Providers on Right to Buy transactions as seller
  • Acting for numerous Registered Providers on Joint Venture initiatives such as regeneration vehicles, VAT sharing, procurement hubs and stock management agreements, with public & private sector partners
  • Advising a Registered Provider in its ongoing partnership with a house builder to develop six sites for mixed tenure estates, using standard template development agreements

Contact a specialist

John Murray

John Murray

Partner | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3113

+44 (0)790 049 4700

Email John Murray

Read bio

Julia Thomson

Partner | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3120

+44 (0)792 188 5944

Email Julia Thomson

Read bio

Mitch Brown

Consultant | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3107

Email Mitch Brown

Read bio

Colin Hewitt

Colin Hewitt

Partner | Head of Commercial

+44 (0) 330 137 3402

+44 (0)797 985 8315

Email Colin Hewitt

Read bio

View all contacts

What people say

  • We have worked with the planning team at Ward Hadaway for many years and have been continually impressed with their friendly and knowledgeable attitude and approach and the ease with which they seem to readily understand what matters most to their clients and to look for and provide sound and pragmatic solutions.

    Vince Walsh, Karbon Homes
  • Full-service firm with expertise in property, employment and housing management. Increasingly relied upon by clients for data protection advice. Noted for the provision of training to housing professionals and in-house lawyers.

    Chambers & Partners
  • Well-known team providing a full social housing service to its registered provider clients. Handles housing management cases, transactional property matters and a wide range of finance issues, among other matters.

    Chambers & Partners
  • They're knowledgeable, confident and confidence-building. They are able to maintain a friendly, tailored, customer-focused service.

    Client quote, Chambers & Partners
  • They're widely respected by a number of housing associations.

    Chambers & Partners
  • The firm is excellent in understanding our requirements and helping us to achieve the required outcomes.

    Chambers & Partners
  • We have an excellent relationship with John Murray and his team and have always found them committed to our needs as the client. Their knowledge, along with their willingness to provide quick advice when its needed, is invaluable to our work and our ability to make quick decisions.

    Ilyas Lunat, Income Services Manager, Connect Housing
  • What we look for from our legal advisors is a thorough understanding of the sector in which we operate, underpinned with sound legal knowledge and an ability to come up with timely, proactive solutions that really work 'on the ground'. This is exactly what John Murray and his team at Ward Hadaway provide. Their friendly yet professional approach, combined with responsive and focused advice continues to prove a great help to Yorkshire Housing in all our activities.

    Adam Greenwood, Anti-Social Behaviour Manager, Yorkshire Housing
  • John Murray has provided legal advice and strategies for complex major works consultations, arrears cases and lease interpretation. He has also provided bespoke leasehold training which was well received. He is approachable and always responds very quickly to queries. John has in depth knowledge of leasehold, especially within the context of the social housing sector and fully understand the issues we face, his support has been invaluable during a difficult and demanding year.

    Tara Lyon, Customer Service Manager Leasehold, Home Group

What we're thinking

Value added services

Speed Read

Our weekly update on essential housing law and policy news, delivered to your inbox each Monday. Sign up here.

Housing Management Law School

Twice a year, the School delivers training to Registered Providers of Social Housing across the country, educating and update housing management staff with the legal knowledge that they need.

In a format which mixes learning with networking, experts from Ward Hadaway and invited special guest tutors deliver:

  • comprehensive updates on latest developments and news affecting the sector
  • a special focus on a Hot Topic of the moment
  • a Revision Session looking in-depth at frequently encountered situations
  • an interactive Q&A session allowing you to quiz the experts

Click here to be added to our mailing list.

Teams Forum

The housing management team at Ward Hadaway host an online Teams forum covering a range of issues, allowing you to ask us or your colleagues in the sector questions pertaining to your day-to-day housing matters.

Click here to sign up.

Northern Housing Consortium leasehold, disrepair and ASB forums

In partnership with the NHC we run regular forums on leasehold, disrepair and ASB. Network with members of the Ward Hadaway team, along with colleagues from NHC and the wider sector whilst discussing the hot topics of the and gain valuable insight on how to deal with legal challenges.

Click here to sign up.