Trowers in £1.4bn Glasgow housing transfer

Trowers & Hamlins has bagged work on two massive housing transfers, including a £1.4bn transfer by Glasgow City Council, the largest to date in Europe.

The Scottish deal saw Trowers advising the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) on the acquisition of Glasgow City Council's entire 81,000-unit housing stock, which completed this week.

The firm was initially instructed in spring 2000, when Trowers' senior partner Jonathan Adlington was called to meet with project leader Bob Allan. It is understood that no other firms were approached.

“This has been technically one of the most complicated and the most politically-sensitive transactions we've handled,” Adlington said. More than £4bn is being invested into the housing stock owned by GHA, including £400m of grant funding. In addition, the Treasury will write off £900m of Glasgow City Council's housing debt.

So far, two interim interdicts – the Scottish equivalent of an injunction – aimed at preventing the deal have been turned down. There is a judicial review into the transfer scheduled for later this year.

A team from Harper McLeod, led by Robert Rennie, advised on aspects of Scottish law. Glasgow City Council was advised by Levingham Chalmers' Derek Hogg. A team from Clifford Chance, led by head of housing finance Despina Pantelia, advised a syndicate of banks that provided a £725m debt facility.

Trowers has also completed the bulk of the work on the UK's second-largest housing stock transfer, beating off competition from firms including Pinsent Curtis Biddle and Wright Hassall. The transfer of 25,000 new homes by Bradford Metropolitan District Council to the new Bradford Community Housing Trust Group has taken two years to complete.