Knowledge and experience
Devonshires’ expertise in the wider property industry includes the commercial property market. The team act on the sale and purchase (acquisition and disposal) of commercial property as well as acting for both landlords and tenants on lettings across all of the asset classes. The team deal with the day to day asset management of a number of client’s portfolios including industrial, office and retail sectors as well as across all of the use classes. The team are also regularly involved in looking at alternative ways of extracting value from the assets, whether by redevelopment (including under the ‘54 Act legislative framework where applicable), regearing of leasehold interests or conditional contracts.
The team act for a broad spectrum of clients including:
- Property investors – buying and selling buildings and or estates as well as the day to day asset management of their portfolios -including redevelopment where applicable
- Registered Providers and their commercial property portfolios as well as their own corporate occupancy requirements
- Corporate occupiers – across their portfolios ensuring that they can concentrate on their core business dealing with new leases, renewals, termination as well as day to day management
- Retailers – acquisition and disposal of new space. The team bring a commercial focus to the negotiations between the parties with a practical ‘can do’ attitude to address the needs and risk profiles of the parties to conclude the relevant transaction in a cost effective manner. By acting for both landlords and tenants they are at the forefront of what terms are ‘market practice’ and where
The team bring a commercial focus to the negotiations between the parties with a practical ‘can do’ attitude to address the needs and risk profiles of the parties to conclude the relevant transaction in a cost effective manner.
Examples of our work:
- Sale of a retail block in Basildon with a worked up scheme for planning for a larger mixed use scheme as part of the wider regeneration in the area.
- Acquisition of office buildings in London and the rest of the country.
- Acquisition of industrial investment properties across the country from the South Coast to Newcastle and anywhere in-between.
- We act for a number of clients who have adjusted their property holdings post covid whether by taking new centralised space or by creating new core regional hubs
- Acquisition of development project in North London.
- Letting and disposals of mixed use scheme in Slough.
- Disposal of surplus retail properties from a portfolio across the country.
- Acting for a listed group of companies on all of their property requirements.
- Acting for a number of chain retailers (including the F&B sector) who are currently on an acquisition programme for a number of number of new lettings across the country.
We deliver a full service of advice and support, on matters including:
- Commercial Landlord and Tenant: Our team advises both tenants and landlords on a variety of matters from entering into Agreements for Lease (or Surrender) often conditional on planning, licensing, vacant possession or Landlord’s works, granting and taking leases to licences to assign, sublet or alter during the course of the term of the lease. This also includes evaluation of the terms of the documentation for both acquisition work (both corporate and property led) as well as reviewing terms to assess the impact of any liability between landlords and tenants.
- Business Leases and Renewals: We We advise in relation to both opposed and unopposed (also referred to as hostile and non-hostile) business lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. We work closely with our litigation team on hostile proceedings and any disputes between the parties.
- Investment Acquisitions and Disposals: Our lawyers have a wealth of experience across the investment sectors. Their ability to spot an angle and/or problem solve enables clients to conclude their transactions at the right risk profile.
- Development: Our experience ranges from small scale residential and mixed use infill sites through to multi-phase urban regeneration and infrastructure projects.
- Portfolio Management: Our clients need to actively ‘sweat’ their assets to generate better returns. Economic conditions dictate how this can sensibly be done. The team’s extensive experience helps clients to achieve this and we seek to provide a value added service to their portfolios – ironing out any wrinkles and identifying opportunities to enhance value.
- Structuring: Including LLPs, offshore entities and transferring the beneficial interests of asset ownership. Throughout this process, in conjunction with tax advisers, we look to find ways that simplify the structure whilst planning ahead for any anticipated exit strategy.
- Corporate Vehicles and Joint Ventures: Our team can readily call upon advice from corporate lawyers who bring specialist expertise in the establishment of joint venture vehicles and contracts for real estate development and management projects. We also regularly work in conjunction with our corporate team on asset and share sales as part of their due diligence work.
- Real Estate Finance: Our banking team works extensively on the whole real estate finance sector be that senior, mezzanine or development requirements for residential, commercial or industrial property stock or assets being acquired. We provide the due diligence and reporting on the underlying secured assets.
- Dispute Resolution: Our litigation team deal with all real estate disputes and, more importantly, how to avoid them. They are on hand to provide strategic advice from the outset before a potential dispute escalates and/or how to ‘deflate’ matters to enable parties to concentrate on their commercial aims.
- Redevelopment: We are regularly asked by clients to provide strategic advice as to how site can be redeveloped and how to deal with any occupiers to ensure vacant possession and implementation of the scheme as well as an awareness of site constraints, the relocation of tenants and/or any compensatory provisions payable.
Understanding your business: We focus on understanding your business and the markets within which you operate to ensure that you receive relevant commercial advice to help you implement your objectives.
Development and regeneration focus: Our breadth of experience benefits our developer and regeneration clients on mixed use projects. We are adept at tailoring commercial leases to ensure that they maximise the viability of the occupying business whilst minimising the impact on residents.
A specialist team
Our Commercial Property team sits within the Real Estate & Projects Department which has over 60 members of staff. It has built up experience in all legal and regulatory issues relating to:
- Sale and purchase of commercial property
- Conditional agreements for lease and/or surrender
- Asset management from new leases to surrender and the day-to-day management of assets.
- Real estate finance
- Site assembly
- Planning and negotiation of planning agreements
- Development of mixed-use properties
- Rack rent and premium leases
- Rent reviews
We are conscious that completing matters in a timely manner at the right risk profile is fundamental to our clients. The team has the resources to tackle all transactions quickly and efficiently, however unique or complicated – applying their commercial acumen and legal knowledge to the facts or circumstances to hand. Key contacts from our team can be found on the right hand side and below:
Dan Moan, Partner: Dan brings a pragmatic, commercially focused approach to his work with a ‘can do’ attitude – problem solving any issues to help the client get the transaction over the line with a risk profile they are comfortable with. Dan’s areas of expertise include:
- Acting for both landlords and tenants on commercial lettings
- Asset management work for a number of clients (both landlords and tenants) across their portfolios
- Investment properties – sale, purchase together with ongoing asset management
- Sale Contracts (conditional and unconditional)
- Conditional contracts, option, overage collaboration and distribution (profit sharing) agreements
- Development work
- Restructuring of ownership of assets for clients
- Secured lending including securitisation of portfolios
- Telecommunications leases – acting for landlords
Victoria Schofield, Solicitor: Victoria has broad commercial property experience, with particular emphasis on commercial and mixed-use acquisitions and disposals (both freehold and leasehold), commercial lettings (acting for landlords and tenants in new lettings and lease management) and secured lending (acting for lenders and borrowers). Victoria acts for a variety of clients, ranging from investment clients, registered providers, charities, religious organisations as well as private individuals. Victoria also regularly works with our Corporate team on share sales and asset sales, leading on the property due diligence aspects of such transactions.
Camilla Weston, Solicitor: Camilla recently qualified at Devonshires and acts for a number of clients on their landlord and tenant requirements. She also assists Dan and Victoria with various matters
We have published a number of articles as part of our IT’S THE LAW series, which are designed to be easy read publications that provide a basic knowledge on a range of topics. Examples include: