Property Development

Our specialist solicitors are the experts when it comes to the legal aspects of property development.

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Property Development

Personalised commercially grounded property development advice

From site financing through to site assembly and plot sales, our specialist solicitors have the expertise to guide you through the legal aspects of property development.

We will provide you with ongoing personalised and highly commercial advice to help you deliver long-term property projects that meet your goals with minimal risk.

With over 100 years combined legal experience in the commercial property field, our team has a proven track-record in supporting landowners, developers, investors and construction clients across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and South East England.

Based in offices in St Albans and Luton, we have detailed knowledge of the property market locally and nationally, with many trusted relationships in the sector. We are experts on the complex documentation associated with financing, building, letting and disposing of assets, including the complete range of potential agreements and contracts.

In addition, as part of large full-service law firm, we can flexibly draw on expertise from other legal specialists in our wider team as the need arises to provide a complete and comprehensive package of support. For instance, by including the skills of our corporate team who can advise on JCT contracts and other construction-related documentation.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Options to purchase
  • Conditional contracts for sale and purchase
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Promotion agreements
  • Development contracts
  • Lease agreements
  • Grants and release of easements
  • Enforceability and removal of covenants
  • Uplift or overage provisions
  • Statutory agreements, including S106 planning agreements, S104 water agreements and S38 and S278 highways agreements

To discuss how we can help with your property development plans, please contact us to speak to a member of our specialist team in St Albans or Luton.




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Frequently asked questions

What should I look out for regarding access to a new site?

  • You should investigate whether the site abuts an adopted highway. A highways search shows where a site abuts a publicly maintainable highway and whether there is any intervening land between a property and the public highway.
  • You should find out whether you need to pay someone to obtain rights to get to the site in question. Proper access for you, your successors and construction traffic to the site will likely be necessary to carry out any proposed development.
  • You should also find out who maintains the road if it is a private road, as they are not maintained at public expense. In such a case it is likely that you will be obliged to contribute towards the cost of this maintenance.
  • You should investigate whether the site has or needs any rights over third party land suitable for the proposed development, not just in connection with access, but also rights to lay services, for example.  In addition, rights to overhang may also be required if any gutters or balconies overhang adjoining property.

How much SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) will I pay when buying a site for residential development?

The amount of SDLT that will be payable will depend on a number of different factors, so you should take specialist advice on this as soon as possible.

Do I need to worry about restrictive covenants?

Restrictive covenants are very common and should not be ignored. Restrictive covenants can prevent development completely or limit how many houses/units can be built on the land. If this is the case, you should seek advice on the various ways of dealing with restrictive covenants.

What do I need to consider when putting a planning application together?

  • You should check that the site plan actually matches the Land Registry plan.
  • You should make sure that the site plan includes all the land you need to carry out the development. Failure to do so could result in the planning granted being unimplementable, which is a huge issue for development, financing and ultimately selling the completed units.
  • You should not include land that is not within your ownership or control.

Will I pay VAT on the purchase?

Whether VAT is payable on the purchase of the site will depend on what the land is and whether an option to tax has been made. The option to tax is the way in which a property owner makes its election on how the land is to be treated for VAT purposes. This should be looked into early on within the transaction.


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