Essential legal tips for commercial property developers

Posted: Monday, 15 October 2012 @ 19:36

With commercial property development in the doldrums the last thing you want on the development projects you do have going forward is to experience problems with the legalities of the deal.

Whether it’s problems with the access rights to the land, concerns over the legal structure of the finance deal or the need for a speedy completion you don’t want to be held up by legal misunderstandings or confusion.

Here are three essential steps to completing commercial property deals swiftly and without losing out financially.

  1. Check planning applications and approvals carefully

    Check all letters of objection in relation to any planning applications for the site that were withdrawn or refused. These may reveal legal rights over the site claimed by neighbours that might prevent future development.

    If buying a site with the benefit of planning permission check that any drawings supplied by the seller are the approved drawings stamped by the Local Planning Authority or referred to in the Decision Notice.

  2. Take nothing for granted

    Overlay the legal title onto the site layout plans to make sure the two match. You’d be surprised how often they don’t.

    Check rights of access to the property, paying particular attention to whether the frontage abuts the public highway. If there’s land between the development plot and the public highway you could be held to ransom by a third party.

    Confirm access to services on the site and if none are available obtain quotes for laying services before starting the negotiation process.

  3. Insist your lawyer visits the site with you

    A site visit is essential if you are to receive full advice on all the potential legal considerations. Without this site visit you’re relying on the plans and mentioning the issues that you think are important.

    Without this site visit, ideally before you’ve started the ball rolling on buying the land or started the process of development, your lawyer couldn’t possibly spot tricky issues for example with access or indeed identify discrepancies with the plans and the legal title.

To maximise profit from commercial property developments, especially in this tough financial climate, you need to get the best deal when you buy land and the best deal when you sell the units post development. A good commercial property solicitor can advise you throughout this process and should be seen as a key member of your team on each development.

I’m happy to discuss any legal questions you may have concerning your commercial property development – call me on 01926 629 005.

Steve Petty
Commercial Property Solicitor

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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Thank you. Your response is great, very straight to the point! Hopefully this will bring an end to the matter. I will certainly be recommending your services as I am very impressed with the prompt dealing of this matter.
Janet Burbidge

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