Sanctuary completes takeover of Cosmopolitan Housing Group (UK)

Cosmopolitan Housing Group (CHG) has become part of Sanctuary Group. CHG owns and manages around 13,500 homes across Merseyside, Cheshire and the North West. The move, which is fully supported by the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA)-the social housing regulator-and by Cheshire West & Chester Council, will see CHG and Chester & District Housing Trust (CDHT) become separate subsidiaries under the Sanctuary Group umbrella.

Sanctuary has appointed new boards and retained tenant and local authority membership on the board of CDHT as well as tenant membership on the board of Cosmopolitan Housing Association.

Financially strong, Sanctuary has a proven track record in supporting and improving the performance of ailing housing providers, and it will now resolve CHG’s cash flow difficulties to ensure that tenants’ and taxpayer’s interests are protected.

The net effect is financially positive to Sanctuary and provides the Group with opportunities to work in new geographic locations as well as adding to its existing student accommodation business.

The Regulator has been kept informed of progress throughout the process. Sanctuary Group Chief Executive David Bennett said: “Our priority is to work with partners to deliver high quality value for money services that meet the needs of local communities. “We only became directly involved with CHG in January this year, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank our professional advisors, funders, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and the HCA for their support in helping us achieve a successful outcome in a relatively short space of time.

“Whilst Sanctuary is entirely comfortable knowing what it has taken on, there is still work to be done to establish how CHG got into this position in the first place; and we will work with the Regulator in helping to review any lessons to be learnt by the sector.”

Matthew Bailes, Director of Regulation at the HCA said: “This is good news for both organizations and for the sector as a whole. Sanctuary and CHG deserve significant credit for the way in which they have worked together to protect the social housing assets. Nonetheless, there is no getting away from the fact that Cosmopolitan was in serious difficulties. We will be taking a long hard look at the lessons from the case.”

Source: Sanctuary Group

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