Southern Housing Group has completed its first major asset acquisition of 2022 with the transfer of 803 homes in Surrey and West Sussex.
Arthur Merchant, chair of Southern Housing Group’s Board said: ‘We are delighted to have completed our largest stock acquisition to date. Horsham and Elmbridge are important locations for the Group. We look forward to working closely with residents, local authorities and other stakeholders as we achieve our ambition of creating better housing options for local people.’
The stock acquisition, which completed yesterday (21 March 2022), adds 672 homes in Horsham and 131 in Elmbridge to Southern Housing Group’s existing portfolio of over 30,000 homes across London and the south of England. The acquired properties are mostly social housing. The transfer also increases Southern Housing Groups stock of sheltered homes, which provide supported living for older people, adding accommodation for 86 in Horsham.
Alan Townshend, Group Chief Executive, commented: ‘Yesterday’s announcement marks a major step in our strategic plan. The acquisition of 803 homes from L&Q underlines our commitment to the communities of Elmbridge and Horsham, where we already have a significant role as a housing provider and development partner. We are committed to helping to improve the availability of affordable homes for local people while ensuring excellent service for our residents and value for money for the taxpayer.’
Southern Housing Group already manages over 400 homes in Elmbridge and more than 700 in Horsham and has maintained its regional offices at Horsham’s Spire Court since 2007.
Councillor Tricia Youtan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Protection at Horsham District Council said, ‘The Council has good relations with a number of Registered Providers working throughout the district. We are pleased that Southern Housing Group, an organisation with a local workforce, is demonstrating its commitment to Horsham in this way. We look forward to working with them as they build on the good relations they established with their new residents during the consultation.’
Negotiations with housing association L&Q Group commenced in 2021. An important part of the due diligence process was a comprehensive consultation with the residents who were asked about the tenancy and the housing services that they needed. The overwhelming majority of responses supported the transfer to Southern Housing Group.
The transfer is the latest deal to emerge from L&Q’s stock rationalisation programme, which is focused on exploring opportunities to transfer homes to other social housing providers in areas where it has a limited presence or development pipeline, or where an opportunity to deliver a great service for residents whilst supporting a locally based provider has been identified. The transfer will support L&Q’s programme of reinvestment in residents’ homes and services in its core areas, alongside its strategic growth plans, as it builds out its 32,000-home development pipeline.
John Lumley, Director of Strategic Sales at L&Q added: ‘We’re delighted to have completed this transfer with Southern Housing Group, following on from similar successful agreements with Phoenix Community Housing and settle last year. This transfer will ensure residents receive a great service from a provider with a strong presence in Surrey and Sussex, whilst consolidating our stock footprint as we continue to invest in our existing homes and services and pursue strategic growth across the country.’