Residential development

Residential development

"Shoosmiths' proactive and commercial approach throughout the transaction, which was complicated, protracted and multi-faceted ... helped enormously to drive negotiations between all the stakeholders to a successful conclusion."

Andrew Lloyd

Chief executive, Rushmoor Borough Council

For many years, Shoosmiths has been recognised as a leading expert in providing services to the residential development sector.

There are many firms providing good real estate advice for their clients, and a few of them endeavour to provide a residential development service, too.

But very few firms can legitimately claim to be experts in the residential development sector.

We are one of the very few that can genuinely claim to be experts in this area. You know that if you instruct Shoosmiths to look after your residential development interests you will be dealing with people who really understand the area in which you are operating.

Shoosmiths has a team of more than 50 legal advisers focusing on the residential development market, acting for homebuilders, entrepreneurs, traders, investors and landowners.

We have a thorough understanding of all aspects involved, from planning and promotion complexities, right through to acquisition, construction and disposal.

Because we act not just for the developer, but also the landowner, we believe we can provide you with better advice, because we can look at any problem from all sides and bring our extensive experience to the table.

Our approach is confident, commercial, practical, and proactive. But we also have a keen eye for detail and recognise that the quality of what we deliver for our clients will enhance our clients' own offering. Our service is invariably partner led, as the issues involved are often complex and require great experience.

Shoosmiths' offering includes a large team of planning lawyers, two teams of plot sellers (including a national head of plot sales, plus dedicated legal advisers dealing with site set ups), and a number of teams of residential development legal advisers dealing with strategic and immediate acquisitions and disposals.

We believe our clients want us to deliver a cradle-to-grave service, which is why the planning, acquisition and plot sales services are an integral part of our offering.

It does not matter whether we are on a panel acting for one of the largest plc homebuilders in the country, or whether we are acting for a farmer disposing of a field for residential development by an affordable housing operator; whichever it is, we really know residential development, and clients can be confident that every job we perform is carried out by a firm and an individual with a thorough and real understanding of the sector.

Recent experience includes:

  • Acting for a major plc in the acquisition of a large part of an ex-MOD site from an LLP consortium. The site is owned under a sophisticated structure of freehold, leasehold and underleasehold interests, and has been in MOD ownership for more than 100 years. There are more than a dozen phases to the development ,and one risk area involves managing the contingent liability falling on every developer concerning a Planning Agreement that straddles all phases and which could lead to action being taken against any developer regardless of the phase they acquire
  • High volume ground rent reversionary disposals, acting for both homebuilders and investors. We have enormous experience dealing with portfolio disposals and can bring a streamlined, focused methodology to the client's acquisition or disposal process
  • Working with a developer to ascertain the extent of all residual pieces of land and other interests still owned or controlled by that developer anywhere in the country. The exercise was undertaken partly as a risk management exercise, partly to assist in the winding up of a number of subsidiary companies, and partly to look at creating value from old/unknown residual pieces of land. The work was carried out on a 'risk and reward' basis, meaning a nominal initial fee, but an enhanced fee for creating value
  • Entering into a series of hybrid promotion and option agreements with a developer looking to work with a series of landowners to obtain consent on a large area of land. The developer was primarily interested in securing an opportunity to develop residential areas only, while the landowners were critically interested in ensuring that best value was delivered overall. Test areas were sold in the open market to assist in establishing true market value
  • Sale of plots in a high value London development site to Far East investors, carried out through a local agent

Download: Residential development 'At A Glance'.