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Over the last 30 years, Hugh James has established itself as one of the leading social housing law firms. Our specialist social housing team has extensive experience and expertise, and we are committed to making a contribution to housing regeneration and creating neighbourhoods where people want to live as part of long-lasting communities.

By working in partnership with you our social housing team can help you to make real differences in local communities. We draw on experience and insight gained from advising providers of social housing services for many years.

Our client base includes over 40 housing associations and local authorities. We are therefore able to offer unparalleled strength and depth in our expertise and are able to provide a full legal service to all our social housing clients. Having watched the sector evolve, we understand the issues housing associations face, the market forces affecting them, challenges involved in regulation and their aspirations for the future. This ensures our advice takes into account the full picture, aligning with strategies for commercial and social value.

As a trusted business adviser, we facilitate conversations within the sector to assist collaborative working, engage thought leaders and develop innovative solutions.

Key contact

As a Partner in the Commercial Property team, Caroline O’Flaherty, specialises in acquisitions, disposals, property development and finance. Working across a variety of sectors, from office, retail, and industrial to leisure, Caroline has particular expertise in property portfolio management and leasing work.

Sector experts

Our team of social housing lawyers shares the sector’s passion for achieving social objectives and frequently work in partnership with clients on projects outside the legal field which have a direct impact on the communities they have helped to build. Some of our lawyers also act as board members for local housing associations which gives them a unique insight into the governance landscape that influences the decisions our clients must make. This level of involvement impacts the advice they give, as they are keen to achieve the most successful outcome for all involved – commercially and socially.

Our social housing team spans a wide range of practice areas, but they do not work in silos. Our team is engaged in constant dialogue to ensure their advice is tailored to the needs of each particular client and their ongoing activities in all areas, similar to an in-house team.

The team consider every instruction from the client’s perspective to ensure seamless advice is provided during times of organisational change, risk or growth.

Previous events

HJ Housing Week 2023

Running from 6 – 10 November, HJ Housing Week involves webinars, in-person events, videos and blogs focusing on:

  • Governance & treasury
  • Housing Management
  • Development
  • Employment & HR
  • Keeping tenants safe

HJ Housing Week 2022

Running from 7 – 11 November, HJ Housing Week 2022 involves webinars, in-person events, videos and blogs focusing on an area of housing every day:

  • Employment & HR
  • Housing Management
  • Commercial Property
  • Construction
  • Regulatory & Governance

Build & Nurture conferences | November 2021

Day one focuses on the theme of Build, examining package deals, JCT contracts for asset managers, private placements and whether you can ever sidestep the procurement rules.

Day two surrounds the theme of Nurture and how, having built beautiful homes, we can ensure the safety and prosperity of those who live in them and ensure those working with tenants can also flourish.

Our Social Housing team’s advice for the next 6 months in these uncertain COVID times

2020 has definitely been a year of uncertainty and change. Having advised the sector for over 40 years, we wanted to use that experience to provide you with a short, sharp dose of focus and clarity.

The Hugh James Social Housing team share their piece of advice for Chief Executives and Board Members of Housing Associations to think about for the next 6 months. What will your focus be?

Hugh James Social Housing team advice for the Social Housing sector for the next 6 months | HJ Housing Week

HJ Housing Week 2020

HJ Housing Week strives to cover the full spectrum of housing issues using our 40 years of experience advising the sector. Running from 23 – 29 November, involving webinars, podcasts, vlogs and blogs focusing on Housing Management, Development, Finance, HR, and Health and Safety amongst others, with guest speakers from Community Housing Cymru, Gambit Corporate Finance and Knight Frank, #HJhousing week has something for everyone.

Affordable Housing Review

Hugh James hosted the Affordable Housing Review: Panel Discussion on 23rd September 2019 in partnership with Positif Politics and Community Housing Cymru. The event brought representatives from across the housing sector in Wales together to discuss the review of affordable housing supply and how the recommendations will work in practice.

The video looks at the key dates within the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply and hears from key panellists at the event, capturing the views of a broad spectrum of stakeholders on the review.

Housing Law Conference 2019

Our 2019 Housing Law Conference was packed full of advice and guidance for our clients, focusing around the key issues facing the sector. The conference featured interactive sessions looking at real life examples from the sector, using live voting technology, as well as a host of other topics, including, “no fault” evictions, service charges, flytipping on estates and mindfulness and well-being.

Hear what some of our attendees thought of the Housing Law Conference and their key takeaways from the event.

Housing association finance

The banking team is recognised for its exemplary service, knowledge and experience in this sector. We have been providing specialist advice to social housing providers on all aspects of their funding requirements for in excess of 20 years. We understand the unique needs of our social housing clients and tailor our advice and approach to suit the particular commercial requirements and regulatory framework within which our clients operate.

We regularly advise housing associations on:

  • a range of bank facilities for different purposes including acquisition, refinance and development loans
  • documentation including Loan Market Association form loans, bank form documents and amendment and restatements
  • regulatory, compliance and constitutional requirements in relation to funding


We understand that you need to invest in training. It’s an essential part of nurturing your team’s skills, increasing innovation, reducing risk, boosting performance, as well as giving you competitive advantage. We also find there is no better way of really understanding a client’s culture.

That’s why we offer bespoke training tailored to you and your organisation’s needs. Our expertise across a range of legal disciplines means we can offer targeted training on specific legal topics or give you a more general overview; it’s entirely suited to your needs.

We also host regular training events in the form of conferences and seminars, covering a variety of engaging topics facilitated by leaders in the field. Our training and updates can be focused on a particular issue a team struggles with, and small-scale roundtable where thorny issues can be chatted through with an open and informal approach or more general “how to” guides depending on the needs of our clients.

We also provide online webinar training in addition to our face-to-face delivery at clients’ premises or hosted at our training suite in central Cardiff. All our training is delivered by qualified lawyers who advise the housing sector on a regular basis, with an approachable style that allows “off script” topics to be explored properly when they are relevant to the group. A lawyer facilitator means that learning can confidently be applied to the specific circumstances of a client’s own case studies, taking into account the most recent legal developments and options for strategic solutions properly explored. Many of our clients have also found it useful for us to provide assistance in a project management capacity to help teams prioritise matters, identify which matters can be resolved internally and where our external help might be used most effectively.

Examples of training we have delivered to the housing sector:

  • Getting Partnership Working Right
  • Procurement and Understanding the Contract Lifecycle
  • Contractor Insolvency
  • JCT and Common Amendments
  • Innovative approaches to housing: modular and modern methods of construction
  • The Equality Act for Housing Managers
  • Data Protection and Social Media
  • Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – What will be the Impact and When?
  • Disrepair
  • Infrastructure and Agreements planning
  • Enforcement of breaches of covenant
  • Shared Ownership
  • How to solve a problem like the Appraisal
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • Antisocial Social Media
  • Recruitment procedures
  • Bullying and Harrassment
  • The Role of the Investigating Officer
  • Dealing with bereavement as a Housing Management Professional

If you would like to discover more about our training options and how we can work together, please get in touch.

Emma is a key influencer in the social housing sector with a genuine understanding of what we are trying to achieve. She is someone I am keen to involve in projects due to her combination of creative input as well as knowledge of the legal landscape.

Jonathan Huish | Chair at Trivallis

When appointing a team of consultants to work on our new development projects Caroline is our first call

Rhianydd Jenkins | Coastal Housing

I have worked closely with Hugh James over the last few years and have always received a first class service, highly professional, with the provision of good, sound and practical advice relating to various matters and projects. Informal advice is always forthcoming, backed up with very educated formal responses to all queries, I look forward to working on other schemes in the future.

Ian Gillespie | Adra

They are all high-calibre individuals who are easily accessible to their clients. I feel very reassured when the team is on our side.

Chambers & Partners

The firm is very hardworking and willing to take on urgent cases at a short notice.

The Legal 500

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