• I am recognised as a leading housing lawyer specialising in corporate, finance and major projects. My clients are housing associations, local authorities, private companies working in the sector and funders.

    I have a wide range of expertise encompassing:

    Corporate:

    • Governance issues, regulatory compliance, charity law and powers;
    • Formation of housing associations, registrations with (and deregistrations from) the HCA, rule changes, transfers of engagement, amalgamations and conversion into companies (and vice-versa);
    • Group Structures, mergers, demergers, acquisitions and disposals and advice re commercial subsidiaries;

    Finance:

    • Bilateral and Syndicated loans to individual housing association and to housing groups;
    • Private Placements;
    • Public Bond issues;
    • Loan restructurings and refinancings;
    • Secured lending including development funding and bridging loans;
    • Security trusts;
    • Derivative transactions; and
    • Intra-group loans;

    Projects:

    • VAT Savings schemes;
    • Solar projects;
    • Cost sharing vehicles;
    • Joint ventures; and
    • Large scale housing stock transfers.

    Publications and conference speaking

    I am the author of the NHF's book: "Understanding Loan Documentation" for board members and officers and have contributed to the NHF's Housing Finance Manual.

    I have led workshops and spoken at the NHF Finance and Chartered Institute of Housing conferences on matters such as money laundering and new models of housing finance.

    Career Highlights

    • Leading the team on one of the first housing association bond issues outside of London and the South East: Longhurst Group's £250,000,000 bond;
    • Advising on the first metropolitan local authority housing stock transfer which became the model used on all subsequent ones;
    • I advised Halton Housing Trust on its debt restructure via several private placements totalling over £1,000,000;
    • I led our team that advised the Chevin, Prospect and Trans-Pennine Housing Groups on their merger to form the Together Housing Group; one of the largest groups in the North;
    • Advising Warrington Borough Council on its public bond issue (the first local authority bond issue in over ten years) and on its programme of loans to housing associations;
    • I advised Gentoo Group on its unique funding structure comprising a public bond, bank debt and bespoke loans from the European Investment Bank all governed under a common terms agreement which raised over £500,000,000 facilities for the Group;
    • Following the introduction of new regulatory regime for housing associations, I advised a non-RP charity on the formation and registration of a new housing association subsidiary including drafting bespoke provisions into the intragroup agreement to satisfy the Regulator's new requirements;
    • I assisted the board of a housing association to navigate a path back to full regulatory compliance following a major breach of the regulatory regime.

Hugo Stephens is highly regarded as "an industry stalwart" by market commentators, who praise his extensive knowledge of housing finance matters, notably group restructurings and joint ventures.

Chambers 2019