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Acuity Legal advises on innovative housing scheme

Acuity Legal have advised Mears Limited, one of the UK's leading social care and housing providers, on an innovative long-term venture with Waltham Forest Council to provide housing for the homeless in the borough.

Under the scheme, the council will buy 400 homes to house people in temporary accommodation and those for whom the council has accepted homelessness duty.

The deal will secure the properties for 40 years, giving households in need a sense of long-term safety and security. The partnership provides the council with an alternative, affordable housing supply, rather than continuing to rely on temporary accommodation.

The joint venture partnership will raise the £88m needed to finance the purchase of the properties by issuing bonds. All of the properties will be brought up to the Decent Homes Standard, the UK Government’s standard for social housing. Under the contract Mears will carry out refurbishment works and act as managing agent for the portfolio. The purchase and refurbishment phase is already underway and will continue over a period of 24 months.

Waltham Forest Council has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle the housing crisis in London. It has the highest provision of affordable new builds between 2013 and 2016 and is in the process of building 1,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

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