Top firms act on pioneering social housing transfer

by Sol Dolor07 Apr 2017
Three top firms have acted on the government’s landmark transfer of social housing properties in Tauranga.

Anderson Lloyd acted for Accessible Properties New Zealand, MinterEllisonRuddWatts advised Westpac New Zealand and Westpac Banking Corporation, and Bell Gully advised The Treasury in the deal, which is the first transfer of social housing to a non-government community housing provider.

The deal between the Ministry of Social Development, Housing New Zealand and Accessible, which closed on 31 March, saw more than 1,100 social houses and tenancies transferred from the government to Accessible Properties, which will also manage their tenancies for an initial term of 25 years. With the move, the government is encouraging more diverse ownership within the sector with the hope of improving access to social housing.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“This is the first regional, large-scale transfer of government-owned social houses to a community housing provider. They are a major plank of our plan to improve social housing,” said Amy Adams, Social Housing minister. “While the ownership of these social houses in Tauranga may change, nothing changes for the tenants – the house is a social house before the transfer and remains one after it, but the sale proceeds can be used to build even more social houses in the areas of most demand. The programme is designed so that we will get more houses overall, while ensuring tenants are better off.”

The Treasury and the Ministry of Social Development are planning further transfers, with next projects proposed including the transfer of up to 2,500 social houses in Christchurch. The Tamaki regeneration program is also expected to deliver more than 7,500 new homes, including 2,500 new social houses.

The Anderson Lloyd team that advised Accessible was led by partners Holden and Geoff Busch. The MinterEllisonRuddWatts team that advised Westpac, which provided financing for the deal, was led by partners Steve Gallaugher and Tom Fail. The Bell Gully team that advised The Treasury was led by partner Hugh Kettle.

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