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.
At CMS, our lawyers have worked in the residential sector for over 20 years. We are also one of the few law firms with representation on the BPF’s Residential Committee. This track record gives us a real understanding of the market. We act as a sounding board for a wide range of clients, offering pragmatic advice and solutions to help them navigate the complex issues, regulation and taxes peculiar to the private residential sector.
We regularly advise clients on issues relating to forward funding/forward purchasing on a leased or direct-let basis, development and property funding.
The right tax advice is essential in the PRS, given the complexities around VAT (particularly in relation to forward funding) and we have a dedicated real estate tax team which covers the whole of the UK. We also have resource in areas such as data protection, employment, debt collection and eviction, and are able to offer clients advice in relation to investment, acquisition and forward funding, joint ventures, asset management and disposal.
We have carried out some of the largest PRS transactions in recent years, acting for a number of significant players in the market. For example, we acted on behalf of RBS in the sale of their GBP 210m residential portfolio to the US private equity firm, Apollo. The transaction involved the sale of some 1650 PRS units and 150 ground rent units, with 163 assets from individual flats and houses, to groups of flats and houses ranging to blocks with up to 160 flats across Scotland, England and Wales, making it one of the largest PRS transactions ever to take place in the UK. We also advised Aberdeen Asset Management’s Aberdeen Property Trust on one of the largest ever single purchases of existing stock in the PRS in the UK – the GBP 60m acquisition of 180 Stratford High Street.