The political agenda recognises that housing forms the foundation for health, social care and criminal justice policies. Challenges such as the Scottish Housing Quality Standards and welfare reform ensure that housing is at the centre of an ever changing environment for our Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and local authority clients.
We have a specialist and dedicated Social Housing Team which can meet all the needs of the ever more sophisticated RSLs or local authority as a “one-stop-shop”. As part of a law firm with a wide range of experts across all fields, working with our team brings all the benefit of a smaller niche legal practice whilst being able to call on specialists from other areas to provide clients with quick, and specific advice.
We have a wealth of experience in our housing practice which covers both the public and private sectors. Our Housing Team consists of dedicated specialists who meet all the legal needs of our clients in the sector including traditional core property work and housing management advice. We understand that housing associations and local authorities are developing their roles and require advice to meet new and innovative challenges. We support our clients by providing high quality legal advice together with workable and practical solutions at all times.
How can we help?
Social Housing – Housing Management & Anti-Social Behaviour Proceeding
Our Social Housing team advise RSLs and local authorities daily on all aspects of housing management including allocations, anti-social behaviour succession, neighbour disputes, assignation, repair and maintenance obligations including the ‘right to repair’ and compensation for alterations and improvements and factoring issues. The team has extensive experience in other more unusual aspects of housing management including the licensing of ‘houses in multiple occupancy’ (HMOs) with particular reference to supported accommodation and has raised and conducted appeals against the granting of HMO Licences in the sheriff court. We have dealt with sensitive cases involving the management of registered sex offenders, understanding the legal responsibilities under the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.
We provide pragmatic and authoritative advice on managing anti-social behaviour to both RSL and local authority clients. The options for ASBOs and eviction are carefully considered depending on the seriousness of the case, the behaviour complained of, the effect on neighbouring tenants, whether support is in place and the perpetrator of the behaviour. We can advise relative to a diverse range of tenants and owner-occupiers including those with mental health issues or learning difficulties, drug or alcohol issues and on cases involving a range of behaviour ranging from nuisance to criminal behaviour, including drug dealing, sexual offences and violence to others (including staff). We can also advise in relation to the possible option of conversion to a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy after a full ASBO has been obtained.
Property & Development
We act for a number of RSLs and major housing developers in the acquisition and development of land and the redevelopment of existing buildings for housing. We provide comprehensive advice to our clients on all aspects of the procurement and completion of properties including acquisition and site set up, construction, planning and the environment. We have significant experience of the practical and legal issues which arise which we would apply to assist you in achieving its development programme.
- Our Property Team regularly advise RSLs in connection with the acquisition of sites for the development, including:
- negotiating and concluding contract for the purchase of the site;
- examining and reporting on title;
- drafting and agreeing terms of Disposition;
- examining searches;
- negotiating and agreeing Development Agreements;
- reviewing and reporting on Building Contract, Professional Appointments and Collateral Warranties; and
- preparing and registering Deeds of Conditions.
- Our Property Team, with the support of our Planning and Construction Teams, has all the expertise RSLs and Local Authorities need to progress any new build construction projects.
We are experienced in looking at innovative ways to secure successful developments such as the Resonance Funding Model. We can use this experience to assist you in achieving your development targets.
Cross-subsidisation of new social housing is on the increase and we have significant experience in acting for RSLs in both mid-market rental and renewable energy projects.
Eviction & Arrears
We are well experienced in dealing with arrears and eviction actions for all forms of tenure used by RSLs and local authorities through the Summary Cause Procedure and, where necessary, the Ordinary Cause Procedure. As eviction is a last resort we can give advice as to what steps should be taken in order to try to avoid eviction whilst at the same time satisfying the reasonableness test to evict.
Raising and pursuing eviction actions on various grounds of recovery including anti-social behaviour, criminal conviction, succession, false statements or information during the allocation process, failure to use the house as an only or principal home or by a person without needs where the house is so adapted, etc. is core to what the team do on a daily basis.
We have extensive experience in presenting cases under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 for eviction. We can give detailed and pragmatic advice in relation to proofs fixed on the reasonableness of granting orders for eviction on grounds of rent arrears. We routinely deal with eviction and rent arrears actions in respect of Temporary Accommodation Agreements and other types of unsecure tenure used by RSLs and Local Authorities.
We have a highly rated and dedicated Property Litigation team with expertise in the full range of property litigation in the commercial, housing and agricultural sectors. We regularly advise RSLs and property factors on the interpretation and enforcement of Management Agreements and Deeds of Conditions in the context primarily of responsibility for maintenance and repairs. We have a broad range of experience in property, title, and factoring advice litigation in all the Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland, the Court of Session, the Scottish Land Court and the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. We can advise Grampian on all factoring or development management issues including liability for charges, responsibility for common areas and interpretation of titles.
The Team is regularly involved in:
- Claims for dilapidations
- Damages actions e.g., property subjected to repeated flooding of raw sewerage resulting in land becoming contaminated.
- Applications for compensation for compulsory purchase with complex legal and valuation issues in close collaboration with our Planning team
- Actions for declarator of irritancy, recovery of possession and arrears of rent of commercial premises.
- Access and servitude disputes
- Actions for Professional Negligence.