Housing governance

Penningtons has always been excellent at tackling issues that arise and they’re good at coming up with creative solutions.

Chambers UK
Housing lawyers

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With a proven track record across housing associations of all sizes as well as organisations working with them, our housing governance lawyers advise on the full spectrum of governance related matters. Our dedicated team has specific expertise in formations and registration with the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH), reviewing and updating constitutions, intragroup arrangements, charity law and co-operative and community benefit society law alongside company law and housing regulation.

Delivering a seamless, solutions-focused approach, we advise on the formation and registration of new corporate organisations including companies (limited by shares or guarantee), registered societies (community benefit or mutuals), limited liability partnerships, community interest companies and charitable incorporated organisations. We draft the constitutions and support our clients through the registration process as well as dealing with the legal formalities. We also assist on applications for registered provider status, offering our clients step by step guidance and helping them to provide the RSH with the necessary assurances. Our lawyers have registered both not-for-profit registered providers (RPs) and for-profit ones.

Group structures and draft intragroup agreements for RPs are another key area of focus. This can be for providers that are forming subsidiaries or for those that are being formed by non-RPs. In each case, we ensure that the appropriate control provisions are in place for the parent body and that any subsidiary RPs have the necessary degree of independence and support from their parent bodies to satisfy the RSH’s requirements. We also advise RPs on common/overlapping boards and the constitutional, governance and regulatory issues involved, including guidance on the avoidance of conflicts of interest and drafting suitable conflict of interest policies.

All the various forms of constitutional change fall within our remit including changes to a company’s articles of association or a registered society’s rules; adoption of charitable status and conversion from one corporate status to another (for example, company to community benefit society). This covers obtaining any necessary regulatory consents, such as from the Charity Commission, and compliance with the RSH’s notification regime. We are also appointed to deregister RPs by the RSH and on the winding up/dissolution of companies and registered societies that are no longer needed.

In addition to constitutions, our lawyers are well versed in related governance policies such as standing orders, conflicts of interest and board membership policies. Increasingly, we are assisting our housing clients on compliance issues linked to the new legal and regulatory changes applying to the maintenance and management of their housing stock and the provision of their housing service. We also provide training sessions on an array of corporate and governance issues such as the duty to comply with all law, payment of board members, the regulatory regime, obligations on charity trustees, board member duties and liabilities, and anti-money laundering. 

We offer expert advice on:

  • forming a housing association
  • registering a housing association with the Regulator of Social Housing
  • reviewing and updating constitutions
  • intragroup agreements
  • common or overlapping boards and conflicts of interest
  • community benefit society law including amalgamations, transfers of engagement and conversions
  • company law
  • charity law
  • policies and procedures
  • board training
  • regulatory regimes, guidance and best practice

Recent work highlights

Registration as a provider of social housing

Assisting a charity on its application to the Regulator of Social Housing to become a registered provider. We advised on the adoption of a new corporate status, the registration process, policy formulation and compliance with the regulatory regime.

Tailored regulatory compliance services

Using our bespoke toolkit to advise a large housing group on how to provide assurance to the Regulator of Social Housing that it was complying with all the relevant legislation.

Guidance on constitutional changes

Acting for a housing association which wanted to update its constitution using the latest version of the National Housing Federation’s model rules. This involved gaining the board’s approval and ensuring that fundamental existing provisions were transferred over to the new rules.

Board training on consumer regulation framework

Conducting a training session for the board of a housing association on the implications of the new consumer regulation regime and the changes to their housing management service that needed to be made as a result.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP