Find Lawyers in the United Kingdom for Real Estate Law
Practice Area Overview
The origins of real estate law in England and Wales date back to the Norman Conquest of 1066.
The law relating to land ownership has since developed steadily and land may now be held in one of three different legal “estates” – freehold, leasehold and the less commonly-used commonhold.
A freehold estate owner may use and develop the land as it wishes, subject to any restrictions within the estate title and any planning or other regulatory restraints.
The owner of a leasehold estate must also comply with the lease terms and holds the land only for a set period of time – a “term” – except where the term may be extended by virtue of various legislative Acts providing tenants with security of tenure if certain conditions are met.
Commonhold was introduced only in 2002 and enables freehold owners of plots in larger developments to share ownership of the communal parts with other owners through a shareholding in a commonhold association.
Rights may also be enjoyed over land owned by someone else, by dint of either agreement (express grant) or longevity of use.
Real estate lawyers in full-service firms such as Dechert typically advise on issues including:
- acquisition and disposal of interestsin the different estates of land outlined above. Different considerations apply depending on the industry sector involved, such as offices, retail and leisure, industrial and logistics, hotels, care facilities or specialist accommodation;
- planning, where development including the demolition or extension of existing buildings, or their change of use, is envisaged;
- negotiating and/or reviewing construction agreements and professional engagements for new developments or in the context of acquisition of interest in recently-constructed buildings, property under construction or property to be developed;
- ongoing portfolio management to maximise returns;
- title examination and due diligence on a property to the level determined by any underlying transaction (e.g., real estate financing or acquisition of real estate interest as part of a broader corporate transaction) and negotiating insurance to be put in place where title defects are discovered;
- tax-efficient structuring. Taxes payable on investments or disposals of property are a key consideration and subject to frequent change;
- joint ventures, real estate fund formation and related applicable regulation;
- cross-border transactions, involving liaising with lawyers in other offices of the firm or using external counsel, while navigating different legal systems, languages and cultures; and
- real estate litigation including landlord and tenant disputes, lease renewals, rent reviews, realisation of security, property-related insolvency, construction litigation and disputes arising out of the sale of land.
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David Evans is Chair of Goodwin’s European offices and a partner in Goodwin’s Real Estate Industry group. He is a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Evans' practice focuses on all aspects of real estate fund structuring and formation, as well as joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions in the real estate arena. Mr. Evans has considerable experience dealing with complex tax and real estate issues applicable to fund structuring, for both UK and pan-Europea...
Matthew James Priday is a Co-Chair of the GT London Real Estate Practice. Matthew focuses his practice on commercial real estate and has wide-ranging experience in investments sales and purchases, lettings and development projects. Matthew advises property industry clients across the real estate, retail and financial institutions sectors.
Alan Samson is an English and New York qualified partner based in the firm’s London office. He co-chairs the firm’s real estate group and heads the European real estate private equity team. He joined the firm in May 2000 as the firm’s first English law partner. Mr. Samson has more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of commercial real estate and real estate finance, including corporate and investment property acquisitions and disposals, acquisition financing and j...
Peter Sugden focuses his practice on real estate investment, finance and development, hospitality and leisure, real estate joint ventures and other corporate real estate transactions in the UK and across Europe.Longtime real estate transactional experiencePeter represents private equity funds, institutional investors, property companies, overseas investors, pension funds and hotel owners and operators. His transactional experience extends over more than 30 years and spans all asset classes an...
Timothy Webb is a partner at the firm’s London office. He is a member of the real estate practice group. Mr. Webb's practice is focused on real estate private equity funds, institutional investment and development, with 25 years' experience advising multinationals, local real estate companies and family offices on projects in the UK, Western Europe, CEE, SE Asia, Brazil and China. Timothy has advised clients including, Avanton, Bourne Capital, Caisson Investment Management LLP, Highbrid...
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