Real Estate & Construction

United Kingdom

With a recently strong UK real estate market struggling to keep up with demand, competition for prime assets is higher than ever. In addition to availability, landlords, developers, asset managers, investors and occupiers face a range of challenges and opportunities in the current climate.  These include the increasing globalisation of the real estate investment market, the growing demand for а high quality built environment with continued focus on achieving sustainability, and the increased use of technology and rising cyber security risks.

With one of the largest real estate teams in the UK, we have the resource and expertise our clients need to respond to this fast-paced market. Our lawyers provide decisive, pragmatic solutions allowing clients to react quickly to seize opportunities. With dedicated planning, finance, tax, construction and dispute specialists as part of the group, we are able to ensure that our clients are realising the most value possible from their assets.

We are one of the few City-based firms able to offer clients a truly full UK-wide service with offices in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, and Aberdeen.

In addition to our UK offering, with over 460 lawyers, across over 65 offices worldwide our Real Estate and Construction Practice is one of the largest specialist teams worldwide.

We are very proud to be working with some of the most dynamic real estate businesses around at the moment. Our clients range from large international and private investors to developers, universities, utility providers and occupiers.

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They're very responsive and when things are urgent they're dedicated and dynamic. They have a hands on and pragmatic approach.

Chambers UK, 2015

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    Whether you are an employer/owner, contractor, funder/investor or you are buying an interest in a project that is under construction or has recently been completed, you need documents that reflect your risk profile, protect your interests and promote collaborative working and optimum project delivery.

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    Whether you are a developer, utility, investor, owner, occupier or authority, obtaining planning permissions and consents that are implementable, flexible, bankable and fit-for-purpose is essential to ensure a successful project.

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    Real Estate

    The UK real estate market has been strong for the past couple of years, and with development struggling to keep up with demand, competition for prime assets is higher than ever. In addition to availability, landlords, developers, asset managers, investors and occupiers face a range of challenges and opportunities in the current climate, including the increasing globalisation of the real estate investment market, the growing demand for а high quality built environment with continued focus on achieving sustainability, and the increased use of technology and cyber security risks.

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    Real Estate & Planning Disputes

    As a developer, landlord, contractor or occupier, when a real estate project or transaction becomes contentious, it is essential that matters be dealt with as quickly and calmly as possible to ensure there is minimal disruption to your business and that you maintain the value of your asset.

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    Real Estate Development

    Competition for sites, access to funding, changing legislation, achieving planning consent, rights to light issues and community infrastructure levy are just a few of the challenges facing developers in today’s real estate market. Whether your development is mixed use, commercial, residential or an urban regeneration project, our team of real estate specialists can help you navigate the entire development cycle from site acquisition right through to lettings and disposal.

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    Real Estate Energy

    We are one of the few London-headquartered real estate groups to have a dedicated real estate energy team. With a market-leading energy practice, we provide advice from an informed industry perspective. Our client base is diverse and ranges from major energy companies such as National Grid and SSE and landowners such as Scottish Water to a wide range of developers and investors in the renewable sector such as Aviva and Luxcara.

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    Real Estate Finance

    Our real estate finance specialists work with lenders and borrowers on a wide range of investment and development transactions. The underlying assets may include commercial and/or residential real estate, ground rent investments, hotels, healthcare assets, theatres, logistics portfolios, shopping centres, house building or supermarket developments.

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    Real Estate Investment

    With demand for prime assets higher than ever, real estate investment is becoming an increasingly global market. Being able to respond quickly to investment opportunities, in whatever jurisdiction they present themselves, is essential. Whether you are looking to make your first investment in the UK or adding to a growing portfolio across Europe, at CMS we have a team of lawyers with exceptional experience across the full range of investment sectors, including the more specialist alternative asset classes.

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    Real Estate Occupiers

    As an occupier in today’s market, there are a number of key issues to consider. These include establishing strategies for disposal of surplus properties, whether by way of outright sale of freehold interests or termination/assignment of lease arrangements, ensuring that a tenant is adequately protected on a new headquarters letting, and making sure that the appropriate wayleaves are in place at the time the tenant needs them for communications equipment – essential for business continuity.

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    Real Estate PRS

    Residential property in the UK has never seemed a more attractive investment. With a shortage of quality rental properties available and development struggling to keep up with demand, there is tremendous competition for the right assets. Nevertheless, there are opportunities available, and the returns on a good, well-managed scheme can be attractive - particularly to long-term income generating investment requirements, such as pension funds.

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    Student Accommodation

    Student housing has moved from the “alternative” asset class firmly into the mainstream in recent years. Whilst student housing is a high performing and extremely attractive asset, fierce competition for land, coupled with increasing Government regulation in the sector, means that commercial, pragmatic legal advice is more important than ever.

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    Law-Now: Real Estate & Construction
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    13 December 2016
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang confirm Practice and Sect...
    FCA consults on illiquid assets held by open-ended funds
    The FCA is consulting on the future of illiquid assets and open-ended investment funds (Discussion Paper 17/1).   This follows the well-publicised suspension of redemptions by open-ended property funds in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum.
    CMS Real Estate Finance Guide
    Islamic Finance and global shipping and aviation markets
    The asset finance market in the Middle East has seen increasing use of Shariah compliant finance to fund transactions. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) made shipping news headlines in December 2016 when it advanced a USD350 million senior secured Murabaha facility.
    CMS UK launches Brexit checklists
    Housing White Paper: “Fixing our broken housing market”
    Introduction After much press speculation and delay, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has today published the Housing White Paper “Fixing our broken housing market” and its accompanying consultation.
    CMS Guide to Real Estate Transaction Costs in Euro...
    Airports NPS – Fasten Your Seatbelts
    The Secretary of State for Transport has today published a draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) for consultation. As expected, the NPS frames the policy position for the Northwest Runway Scheme at Heathrow, together with proposals for new terminal.
    CEE Property Today (Issue 3)
    Amendments to business rate demand notices published
    The Government has published a number of changes to the requirements for business rate demand notices. Billing authorities are now required to serve a different demand notice for different financial years and to publish explanatory notes on their website.
    What are the key European real estate investment s...
    A comparison of issues related to tax, status of i...
    Limited Partnerships: UK Government call for evidence on Review o...
    Readers may be forgiven for thinking that Government reviews of limited partnership law are much like the proverbial bus, you wait ages (decades even) for one to come along and then two come at the same time.
    CMS advises Land Securities on sale of Scotland’s...
    The new private fund limited partnership vehicle
    UK limited partnerships are one of the most common and popular vehicles for investments in various sectors in Europe, including private equity, real estate and infrastructure, offering a flexible, tax-transparent vehicle that provides the protection of limited.
    Breach of alienation covenant and the registration gap (Reiner v...
    It is common to see in residential flat leases a covenant which prohibits the tenant from assigning without the previous consent of the landlord, which is not to be unreasonably withheld. Where there is a right to manage company (an “RTM company”) in place,.
    Planning Reform: A New Year’s Revolution?
    On 10 January 2017, the Scottish Ministers published and launched a consultation on 20 proposals for improving the Scottish planning system. These proposals are the latest stage of the Scottish Ministers’ review of the planning system, which commenced in September.
    Public interest may trump breach of legal obligations
    A housing development has been allowed even though it was built in breach of a restrictive covenant on the land, on the condition that the developer pays a sum of money in compensation to the party with the benefit of the restrictive covenant.
    Asda kept on the hook by using one wrong word in a development ag...
    The case Dooba Developments Ltd v McLagan Investments Ltd [2016] EWHC 2944 (Ch) involved an attempt by Asda (through its subsidiary McLagan) to walk away from a conditional development agreement affecting a site on the edge of Worksop in Nottinghamshire.