Property Development

Property Development

If you are looking to either buy a property to develop, or to develop your existing property, our commercial property solicitors can help to make sure that the legal decisions made along the way are the right ones.

Why do I need a solicitor for property development?

We will ensure that we are on hand to advise you on how to get the best return out of property development, with services including:

Options and conditional contracts

An option is a contractually binding agreement under which a landowner is obliged to sell land to a buyer, if the buyer requires the landowner to do so by serving notice to that effect within an agreed period of time.  More complicated options may include conditions which need to be satisfied, such as obtaining planning permission, before the option can be exercised.  The option could be for a fixed price, or it may be that the value has to be agreed or determined.

A conditional contract is a different form of binding agreement

Generally once the condition is met, the buyer will be obliged to buy the property by an agreed date.  In such a contract, it is important to have clear conditions and timescales that the parties can understand and comply with.  Whether you are the landowner or the potential buyer, we will advise you on the terms of the option or contract; how to protect the agreement; and on how to exercise it.

Investigation of sites

There are generally several elements involved.  The legal title to the site needs to be checked, to see whether it is affected by matters, typically restrictive covenants or rights enjoyed by third parties, which would hinder the development of the site; making and reporting on searches in relation to the site, such as the local search, which may reveal matters which would add to costs, such as a liability to pay sums to the local authority; and raising appropriate enquiries of the landowner and reporting on those replies which range from establishing boundary ownership to whether VAT is payable on a transaction.

Assistance with funding

The bank or other institution lending against the site will want a clear report on title.  The solicitor’s role is to liaise with the lender and the borrower and any other professionals involved, such as the lender’s valuer, to ensure that any issues are resolved and lending can proceed.

Overage provisions

In simple terms, this involves an agreement by a buyer, typically of undeveloped land, to pay a further sum of money to the seller if certain situations arise. Such agreements tend however to be more difficult to document in practice, and could lead to unintended consequences for the parties, such as a liability to pay money if a third party obtains a planning consent over the land affected.  We can advise either the seller or the buyer on the terms of the agreements; Its implications; and the potential have to make or receive a payment.  We can also advise the buyer on the potential additional liability of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and the possibility of deferring the additional SDLT.

Agreements with service providers e.g. easements, wayleaves and Section 104 agreements

Not only is it essential to a development to put in place the necessary arrangements, it is often time critical to do so.  For example, while it may be possible to lay electric cables and connect them to a substation, unless the necessary legal agreement is in place, the electricity supplier will not commission the supply.  Our role is to liaise with you, the relevant company or authority and any other parties involved in the process, for example where land is owned by a third party, the landowner and their lender, to ensure that the agreements are both satisfactory and delivered on time.

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