At Myerson, our award-winning team will assist you with all aspects of your residential development. We believe that development projects are team efforts, both internally within our real estate team and, more importantly, with our clients, their contractors and their professional teams. We know that one of your prime concerns is likely to be timescales and managing cash flow. Our team is responsive and proactive and will work to solve any problems quickly to avoid funding gaps and keep your project on track. Our clients include housebuilders of all sizes, student accommodation specialists, regeneration specialists and first-time developers.
Our residential property development solicitors are experts in all aspects of residential development and will work with you to achieve your objectives, whatever the size of your project and your level of experience. We provide a truly start to finish service and can advise you on projects from the strategic site assembly stage, through to the construction, delivery and plot sales of completed units and the ultimate sale of the freehold interest in the building to an investor.
Our team are very experienced in dealing with developments of all types, whether acting for the developer, a land promoter or the landowner. This means that we are best-placed to anticipate the issues which will concern each party and to understand the most appropriate negotiation tactics to use at each stage of a transaction. We approach every development with a bespoke service tailored to your commercial objectives and with the aim of maximising value whilst minimising risk.
- Provide practical advice on title issues affecting the viability of the proposed development and work with you to overcome potential obstacles to development.
- Assist you with reviewing and finalising heads of terms once an agreement has been reached.
- Help you to acquire the development sites by way of options, conditional contracts, promotion agreements and purchases.
- Where property is subject to third party occupational interests, work to obtain vacant possession to allow development to proceed.
- Ensure that sites are accessible to service media and work with your services engineers to procure acceptable rights where required.
- Deal with oversailing rights, works compounds, rights to erect scaffolding, party wall and rights of light issues.
- Deal with development funders and forward funding agreements.
- Liaise with our corporate team in the use of joint venture vehicles for development with third parties
- Work closely, in conjunction with our construction team, with your project manager, architect, planning consultants, contractor and professional team to assist them with legal issues that arise during the development and prepare and negotiate appropriate documentation.
- Advise you on the particular issues associated with taking over a part-completed development, where appropriate.
- Advise you on any issues with “common parts” in a building including rights of first refusal, collective enfranchisement and residents’ rights to manage etc
- Work closely with your technical and sales team on site set up, to develop a comprehensive suite of sale documents. Our input at this stage will simplify and streamline the sales process, helping to move the development more quickly to a successful conclusion.
- Advise on and implement estate management solutions including the formation of residents’ management companies and the grant of leases of the reversion for the overall management of the development, where the portfolio of grant rents is to be sold.
- Liaise with your property managers to ensure that the use of common facilities and the charging for services is in accordance with their plans for post-completion management of the property.
- Deal efficiently and effectively with the sale of the plots within our dedicated plot sales team
- Prepare for the disposal of the scheme including contracts to dispose of the freehold reversion.
Examples of recent transactions
- Acting for a developer client in connection with a substantial development funding facility for the construction of a 270-unit residential scheme in Salford, Greater Manchester
- Acting for developers in relation to the purchase of an industrial site in Salford. This also included the development and sale of 400 apartments.
- Acting on the purchase and development of a Manchester city centre residential development site on behalf of developers and the forward funding arrangements for the whole block with a PRS fund.
- Acting on behalf of a developer client in connection with a scheme to build more than 1,000 houses. This included dealing with adjoining landowners to facilitate the access to and servicing of the wider development area.
- Acting in relation to the purchase, funding, site set up and ultimate plot sales of a number of residential development sites in the Home Counties ranging from 3 units to 26 units.
- Acting in relation to the purchase and conversion of an old mill, site set up and plot sales of 14 apartments.
- Acting on behalf of the land promoter on the promotion of a substantial parcel of greenfield land for residential development, then subsequently acting for the promoter and landowner in connection with the sale to a national housebuilder for an eight figure sum.
- The sale of a substantial freehold reversion portfolio to a specialist ground rent fund.
- The acquisition of a site in Salford for a development of over 600 residential properties including site assembly from several different landowners, dealing with development funding and then managing the sale process to end purchasers.
- Acting for a developer in relation to the development of high-value apartments in a prestigious Cheshire location. This included securing the site by way of a contract conditional upon planning. Our specialist plot sales team also advised throughout the sale of the completed apartments to individual owner-occupiers.
If I am approached by a developer who is applying pressure on me to sign an agreement now should I sign?
No, not without taking any professional advice. Your land is a valuable asset and you should seek professional help before signing any agreement. If you are being pressurised to sign something, please feel free to telephone us and we can provide immediate initial advice to you.
What are heads of terms?
The heads of terms are the main terms agreed in principle between you and the developer before the preparation of the contract. They should set out all the key details relating to the amount of land being sold, the valuation method for that land and the timings for the transaction. They would normally be prepared by a land agent or surveyor.
What is the difference between an option agreement and a conditional contract?
An option agreement is an agreement between you and a developer under which the developer can purchase the property on agreed terms at any time during a specified period. Sometimes the developer will pay a fixed fee to you for entering into the opinion agreement. Under an option agreement, you have no guarantee that the land will be sold to the developer during the option period.
A conditional contract, in contrast, is a contract that is binding on both parties to sell and buy the property provided that certain conditions are satisfied. We often find with the development of residential property that the key condition will relate to the grant of planning consent for the proposed residential development. Under a conditional contract, if the conditions are satisfied, then both parties will be bound to sell and buy the property.
If I enter into an option agreement or conditional contract, can I expect the developer to pay an option fee and all my professional costs?
This will depend on the terms negotiated between the parties, however many landowners are able to agree option fees. These might compensate you for the restriction on selling your property to any other party during the period of the option agreement and any other restrictions the developer might want to impose on what you can do with the property.
Landowners are often able to negotiate the payment of all or part of their professional costs in dealing with an option agreement or conditional contract and this would be negotiated on your behalf by their land agent or surveyor.
Can you recommend a surveyor or land agent to act on our behalf?
Yes, we have experience working with many property professionals including specialists in the sale of land which has potential for residential development. We can make recommendations to you of professionals who might be suitable so that you can speak to them and decide whether or not you would like to ask them to act on your behalf. The decision as to who you wish to act on your behalf is entirely yours.
Will the developer want access to my land before a contract is exchanged and what would they want to do to it?
It is quite likely that before committing to purchasing land or incurring costs in putting forward a planning application, the developer might wish to carry out ground investigations to ensure that the land is not contaminated and to ensure that the actual land will be suitable for building. Access would normally be granted to the developer in a licence document, which would include restrictions on when the land can be accessed. It would also include obligations on the developer to make good any damage caused during the investigations.
What is overage/clawback?
The terms overage and clawback are used to describe the situation where land is sold by you to a developer for a fixed price, but further payments are made by the developer to you in the event that agreed conditions are satisfied at a later stage.
The most common condition for the trigger of an overage payment is the grant of a planning consent for development of the property. The use of overage allows you to sell the property for an immediate income but with the comfort of knowing that on the future grant of planning consent and development of the land a share of the enhanced value of the land will be passed back to the you. The terms relating to overage agreements can be complex and would include agreement on how to calculate any increase in value and the further payments then due during the overage period as well as how often and in what circumstances a payment will be triggered.
What are restrictive covenants and how might they affect my land?
Land is often burdened by agreements made in the past which continue to affect the land. Restrictive covenants are often used to restrict the future use of land and can be a barrier to development. Common restrictive covenants might require that the land is not used other than, for example, agricultural use. We can examine and advise on the title to the property and discuss with you the best approach to take to deal with such covenants. Other title issues that might be of relevance would include access to the property, and the effect of an increase in use of an existing right of way or right to use service media which run through the land.
Do you just deal with property in the Altrincham area?
No, not at all, we act for landowners all over England and Wales and will be able to assist you no matter where you are within those countries.
Meet Our Specialists
Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.
Joanne is a Partner and Head of our Commercial Property Team
Mark is a Partner in our Commercial Property Team
Andrew is a Partner in our Commercial Property Team
Ian is a Legal Director in our Commercial Property Team
Charlotte is an Associate in our Commercial Property Team
Emily is an Associate in our Commercial Property Team
Sarah is an Associate in our Commercial Property Team
Sidrah is an Associate in the Commercial Property Team
Donna is a Legal PA in our Commercial Property Team
Vikki is a Trainee Solicitor within our Commercial Property Team
Karam Bhatti is a Trainee Solicitor in our Commercial Property Team