Property

The nature of property is such, that most owners or occupiers of property are likely to require legal advice at some point.

We understand the need for practical solutions to property issues to be delivered promptly.

We’re well known for being adept at combining strong technical skills with a commercial approach.

We advise clients on a wide range of transactions involving the ownership and development of both freehold and leasehold land and buildings.  Work can involve individual properties, chains of stores, premises for larger companies and corporations through to major development projects.

We also have specialists in areas including strategic land, property guardianship, property disputes and the environment. Greenwoods GRM will ensure whatever your commercial property issue, we will be able to guide you towards an effective solution.

Use the list to find out more about our work.

Our specialist team contributes monthly articles to Business Weekly, which you may find of interest to read.

Commercial property issues may require input from other professional advisers particularly chartered surveyors, architects and accountants.  We have strong working relationships with a range of advisers; these relationships can, in some cases, help ensure the success of the venture.

Our service is effective, efficient and responsive achieved at a cost that guarantees success to all parties.

To find out how we can help you call contact Partner Karin Horsley.

 

The Legal 500 rates us as a first tier firm for our Commercial Property advice:

A ‘highly skilled and commercially aware firm’ that comes ‘highly recommended’ by clients, who are ‘happy to refer others to the firm’. (2017)

Directors Stephen Illingworth and Karin Horsley are well regarded for their ability to manage complex and high-value deals in a commercial way. (2017)

 

 

Is property your core business or do you need space for your business?

Either way, our expert property lawyers can help you.

When you have a business to run and have found the space you need, you want to get on with the deal so that you can concentrate on your work. We appreciate that delays cost money. Our property lawyers will work with you, your surveyors and funders to limit any delay.

If you have surplus property you want to complete a sale as quickly as possible. We can work with you from the moment you decide to sell to prepare a sales pack so that you are ready to go when a buyer is found.

Property transactions can be difficult as problems may arise from user restrictions, environmental issues, limited access and title complications.  We will give you clear guidance not only about the problems themselves but also the way they can affect your business, and work to provide a practical and effective solution.

Our team also has experience in auction work, supporting buyers, sellers on specialist acquisitions.

If you are considering your business needs, you should:

  • Involve us at an early stage so we can liaise with your agents on the heads of terms to avoid having to change terms for technical legal reasons;
  • Give us a clear indication of your timetable, including lead in times for ordering cabling, machinery, fixtures and fittings, so that we can move matters along;
  • Tell us about any special requirements so we can check whether the title or restrictions on the property may prevent you doing what you want;
  • If you need funding, let us know at the beginning of the transaction, and put us in contact with your funders so that we can work to satisfy any particular requirements they may have;
  • Let us know when authorised signatories will or will not be available – deals can be held up because the only person who can sign is on holiday!

To talk about how we can help contact Karin Horsley.  or Stephen Illingworth.

A lease is a contract: its terms can affect your business and it’s important to get it right.

Rent, service charges, insurance premiums, utility costs, business rates: the lease says who will pay for these and other costs.  If you are a tenant you want to know what the property is likely to cost you, as landlord you want to know that you can recover all costs.

You will also want to know whether you or your tenant can transfer the lease to someone else, alter the property, or use the property for a restricted purpose.

We shall work with you to advise you on these and other provisions of the lease.  Our experienced specialist landlord and tenant lawyers will negotiate the terms of the lease on your behalf, to achieve the best outcome possible.

Our team specialise in issues such as dilapidation, end of term obligations and responsibilities. We will ensure you are in safe hands,

When thinking about a lease why not:

  • Involve us as soon as possible. We can advise you and your agent on any legal technicalities before settling heads of terms;
  • Think about timing. If you don’t instruct us until you are ready to move in you may lose an opportunity to negotiate more favourable lease terms. Give yourself, and us, as much time as possible;
  • Decide what you want to do with the property. Cover points such as works you want to do to the property with the landlord or its agents as early as possible;
  • Obtain a survey. Tenants often think that a survey is not necessary as the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repair of the main parts of a building. You may not have to do any work to repair the building but you may have to pay for it.  Paying for a survey may allow you to avoid significant costs in the future or, at least, to budget for them.

To talk about how we can help call contact Partner Kelly Peck.

You want your investment in property to be profitable.

With our property and landlord and tenant expertise we can help you achieve your goal.

Any investment property has to be well managed. One important aspect of this management is the relationship between us, your legal team, and the people managing the property, usually your managing agents. Our lawyers appreciate this and aim to work as part of your property ‘team’, liaising with you, your managing agents, your funders and, of course, you, to ensure that everyone is kept up to date.

We can create and advise on standard documents for the property so that lettings can be dealt with quickly. To help your managing agents, we are happy to establish standard procedures and regular reports so that, not only the progress of lettings, but also of licences, lease terminations and renewals is reviewed regularly.

We enjoy working with our clients on this basis and take great pleasure in completing transactions which add value to your investment.

Our work for investors includes:

  • The legal aspects of the property purchase;
  • Setting up standard leases, and, if necessary obtaining funders’ approval to standard documentation;
  • Establishing procedures for taking instructions, reporting and completing transactions with your managing agents;
  • Lettings: granting leases, licences to assign and licences for alterations;
  • Lease renewals both under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and otherwise;
  • Terminating leases and dilapidations.

To talk about how we can help call contact Karin Horsley or Samantha East

Sellers, buyers, developers, funders, contractors and occupiers all play an important part in developments and all need expert legal advice.

Development is like a jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece of the puzzle has to be put together to create the final development as a success for everyone involved.

Whether you are the first piece of the puzzle, a landowner whose property could be developed in the future, or the last piece, the tenant who will occupy the completed house, office, shop, warehouse or factory, or anyone in between, we can help you see the whole picture and your part in it.

Our Strategic Land team can assist you if you are in the initial stages of a development idea.

We will help you and advise you on the sale and purchase contract, development agreement, lease terms and matters such as planning obligations and adoption agreements for roads and sewers.

Do you know that even a small straight forward development may involve:

  • Planning applications including wildlife surveys, archaeological investigation, environmental reports and highway studies, which can create delays and are expensive;
  • Sale and purchase contract which may be conditional on planning or require the buyer/developer to pay an additional amount (overage) to the seller/landowner if planning permission is granted and the development takes place;
  • A development agreement setting out the way the development is to take place,how long it will take, who is to provide warranties and guarantees and the arrangements for any letting of the finished property;
  • An agreement for lease and lease with a tenant, setting out the way in which rent is to be calculated, the timing for the grant of the lease, and dealing with any works that the tenant wants;
  • A funding agreement with the person or company financing the development and/or the ultimate investment owner of the property.

To talk about how we can help contact Stephen Illingworth.

If you are buying, selling, letting or taking a lease of property you should consider contamination and other environmental issues.

If you are buying or leasing a property you want to be sure that you are not taking on an environmental problem such as toxic substances under the ground or Japanese Knotweed growing on the property.

If you are selling a property you need to be prepared for a buyer to make full enquiries about the environmental position, and be able to answer those questions.

If you are mortgaging your property, your bank, building society or other funder will want satisfactory information about environmental issues.

In conjunction with our environmental specialist lawyers, we will help you consider what action you need to take or draft contracts and leases to clarify responsibility for environmental issues.

If there is an environmental problem consider:

  • Whether you want to carry out further investigations;
  • Who is responsible?
  • What can be done about the problem?
  • Whether you should appoint an expert environmental consultant.

To talk about how we can help contact Kathryn Gilbertson.

 

The Legal 500 commends regulatory specialist Kathryn Gilbertson as:

 

“The ‘experienced and efficient’ Kathryn Gilbertson…. is a leading regulatory specialist.” (2016)

“ ‘Thorough, knowledgeable, attentive and readily accessible’.” (2015)

 

Our nationally-recognised Property Disputes team offers specialist, practical and commercial advice on all problems associated with land and property.

We have a diverse client base ranging from companies with hundreds of properties to manage, either as landlord or as tenant, to individuals with niche investment portfolios.

Our clients include household names in the retail sector, developers, local authorities, social housing providers and other public bodies.

We also act for agricultural clients who farm in hand, as well as those who let their land out or have diversified into other areas.

We value our clients and they reciprocate the investment we show in them by staying loyal to us for many years, sometimes through generations of the same family.

You can expect a responsive and efficient service from the moment you contact the Greenwoods GRM Property Disputes team.

Our focus is resolving your problem according to your specified needs and objectives in a timely, cost effective and efficient way.  Throughout your time with us we will continually review progress as against costs and our original time estimate for completion.

People often associate contacting a lawyer with litigation, but the reality is that today disputes rarely reach court because of the variety of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures available. Examples include mediation, arbitration, adjudication and expert determination.  Our head of Property Disputes, Caroline Gumbrell, is a qualified mediator.

Our team also provides support to our commercial property experts on issues arising in the course of transactional matters, such as on a sale and purchase or in agreeing the terms of a lease.

When a case crosses over into different areas of law our team taps into the skills and experience of our wider disputes team.

We deal with:

  • Business lease renewals
  • Rent and service charge recovery
  • Dilapidations claims
  • Disputes over breaches of covenant including forfeiture/relief applications
  • Service charge disputes
  • Recovery of land or premises from unlawful occupiers/squatters
  • Injunctions
  • Lease surrender negotiations
  • Disputes over consent to assignment/sub-let/change use/alterations
  • Boundary disputes and disputes over easements (e.g. rights of way, rights to park; rights to light), breaches of covenant, trespass, nuisance, adverse possession.

The team also advises landlords in matters involving residential lettings and has a strong reputation for our work in the social housing sector.

We provide:

  • Prompt, professional and practical advice on all aspects of contentious property matters;
  • Dispute resolution advice that is clear, concise and cost-effective;
  • Expert advice on landlord and tenant disputes;
  • Swift resolution of property management issues, possession proceedings;
  • Economical and effective lease renewals and terminations;
  • And the speedy and efficient resolution wide range of other forms of real estate disputes.

For advice on any disputed property issues contact Michelle Cox.

 

The Legal 500 commends us for our Property Litigation advice:

‘The service, advice and professionalism is second to none’, according to one client who also rates the firm’s ‘first-class advice and exceptional response times’. (2017)

We provide specialist legal advice for companies who operate the fast-growing property guardianship model.

Our specialist and experienced team offer a full range of legal services to businesses that use the property guardianship business model. Importantly, we understand how your business model works and all the issues you may encounter.

Our Property Guardianship lead, Kirstie Goulder, has been described as ‘an encyclopaedia of knowledge on the complex issues of property guardianship.’

Property guardianship is a fast-growing alternative housing model in the UK and across Europe. It involves private individuals protecting empty buildings through their occupation. The demand for living space has priced many out of the market, especially in the City. The guardianship model offers these individuals the ability to secure housing for comparatively low cost, and the building owner the security that comes with having someone occupy their property.

Our Advice

Our specialists can assist with:

  • Advisory work and training to educate best practices within the sector
  • Drafting or reviewing standard documents such as licence agreements, terms and conditions and commercial agreements with the property owner
  • Issuing notices to determine and/or warning letters to guardians
  • Commencing trespass proceedings against guardians who fail to vacate on expiry of the notice to determine. In particular we have comprehensive experience of common “licence v tenancy” arguments made by guardians and property guardian agent’s arguments in response. This knowledge and experience is supported by a bespoke case management system which we have developed based on innovative case-scripting technology
  • Advising in respect of enforcement of possession orders or money judgments
  • Dealing with potential commercial disputes with property owners for failure to hand back properties on time
  • Knowledge of HMO and Health and Safety requirements supporting the business model
  • Employment advice for personnel issues

Adding value to your business

As sector specialists, we are able to offer in-house training to ensure personnel at all levels understand how the business model works and best practices to minimise the risk of inadvertently creating tenancies. We will also issue email alerts to clients on matters affecting the sector.

To talk about how we can contact Kathryn Gilbertson.

The Licensing Act 2003 covers a whole host of activities that need to be regulated, including the sale and supply of alcohol and music and dancing.

Having the right licence for your required activities can ensure a smooth running of your business.  We can assist and advise on the full spectrum of issues that arise under the Licensing Act 2003.

We offer a complete start to finish service to ensure your licence application covers all your business and event needs, ensuring compliance with the strict advertising requirements and conditions to meet the licensing objections in relation to public safety and the protection of children from harm and ensuring service of the application on all responsible bodies.

We handle any representations that are made against any new or existing licences and represent applicants at hearings before the Local Licensing Authority and any subsequent appeals before the Magistrates Court.

Kelly Peck and Michelle Cox lead our Licensing Team and together they deal with all aspects of the licensing process.

If you need:

  • Premises Licences
  • Personal Licences
  • Club Premises Certificates (CPC)
  • Temporary Event Notices (TENS)
  • Variations to Premises Licences and CPC’s
  • Transfers of Licences.

To talk about how we can help contact Kelly Peck.

 

The Legal 500 commends us for our Licensing advice:

The firm “is known for its practical advice on new licence applications, including pre-application guidance on the suitability and viability of a proposed licence.” (2017)

“Kelly Peck and senior solicitor Michelle Cox are recommended for licensing applications and disputes respectively.” (2016)

What is Strategic Land?

Strategic Land has the potential to increase in value either through its promotion via the planning system or through its particular location, and often both. Strategic Land development is the process of unlocking and realising that value by landowners and/or developers.

What do we do?

We advise landowners and developers in respect of the legal aspects of Strategic Land Development.  Realising value can be a complex and lengthy process. It requires detailed understanding, experience and legal knowledge of the development, planning and construction processes. Understanding the end product, be it a housing estate, offices, warehouses or a shopping centre,  means we anticipate end users’ requirements from a project’s inception through planning, funding, building and disposal.  Understanding the commercial arguments and legal solutions on both sides of a negotiation keeps the legal discussion focussed and relevant.

Strategic Land team

The Strategic Land team combines over-arching legal experience and specialism in Development with particular experience in funding, construction, infrastructure and potentially complex matters.  The specialisms and experience are directly relevant to fully understanding and advising on Strategic Land projects:

  • Jeremy Stanton leads the team of 5 experienced Property Development lawyers and draws on his residential and commercial development experience gained acting for national housebuilders to ensure we do the job properly, quickly and cost effectively
  • Stephen Illingworth provides a wealth of experience and resource to the team in potentially complex matters such as infrastructure, overage, ransoms, easements, highways and restrictive covenants
  • Samantha East brings her extensive funding experience into play, able to anticipate a risk averse funding lawyer’s requirements, making sure when the moment arises there are no hitches to the sale. Sam also provides advice as to how best to take security where there are for example deferred payments or overage
  • Neville Drummond is a very experienced development lawyer with 18 years’ experience of large and small residential and commercial developments, who gets the ball over the line and touched down
  • Katrina Bretten’s construction expertise applied in a development context is an essential tool particularly when considering for example passing on of obligations relating to infrastructure, taking planning preservation steps and understanding practically for example how long a developer does need to put a road in to base level

Fee Structuring

Understanding the development process and working with developers means we understand the risks, both commercial and legal.  We work with clients to structure fee charging approaches which help meet their requirements, business models, and a transaction’s financial profile.  Most advice is provided against a fixed estimate which allows clients to feed legal costs into appraisals with confidence.

Transactions we cover

  • Promotion agreements
  • Option agreements
  • Conditional planning agreements
  • Pre-emption agreements
  • Overage agreements
  • Landowner consortium/collaboration agreements
  • Developer consortium/collaboration agreements
  • Buying and selling development land

If you would like to know more, have any questions contact Jeremy Stanton.

Get in touch with us

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