Residential property in London
Boodle Hatfield LLP’s first-class residential property team takes a ‘personal approach’ in its work for a mix of UK and international high-net-worth clients on the sales and acquisitions of prime central London property as well as high value country houses, farms and estates. The firm also expertly handles related issues such as enfranchisement, refurbishment and residential development. Shaima Jillood leads the Middle East team, which includes specialist Arabic speaking lawyers focusing on overseas clients investing in the UK. Practice head Saskia Arthur advises on all areas of property law and collaborates effectively with the firm’s tax, private client, corporate and construction teams to provide a comprehensive offering to clients.
‘I am impressed by their personal approach; the honest, long-term advice and the speed that they come back to me. Reem Al–Jumaily is fantastic and is an asset to the firm. I applaud the diversity and the amount of women working in the firm.’
‘Reem Al–Jumaily is one of the best lawyers I have worked with in over 20 years. I have referred so many clients to her who have also been blown away by her professionalism and determination. She is a testament to the firm.’
Farrer & Co is ‘far ahead of the rest‘ in residential property and secured lending work; the team acts for both buyers and sellers on some of the largest and most significant conveyancing transactions in the sector. Over the course of 2019, the firm continued to sharpen its focus on matters involving complex tax and structuring issues. Practice head Laurie Horwood is ‘one of the brightest sparks’ in the industry, with an impressive track record of both residential and commercial property work and strong relationships with the sector's largest lending banks. Laura Conduit has gained a reputation for working on some of the the most complex and fast-paced transactions, while senior associate Hugh Wigzell specialises in new build developments and has a growing reputation among major developers. Other key partners include the experienced Edmund Fetherston-Dilke.
‘I have worked with the real estate team at Farrer & Co for years – they are truly excellent. Professional, engaging, human yet very commercial and also aggressive when required in tight bidding situations. We have an excellent working relationship where they truly understand that every hour can count sometimes, and will drop everything to make it happen. That can really make or break a deal which we have sometimes spent many months in the lead up to, so when it comes to having a cracking team on board my preference will always be this team.’
‘Their transparency and efficiency has in my experience, put them far ahead of the rest. They are a cohesive, talented bunch that appears to match the energy and enthusiasm that I offer my clients.’
‘I have worked with many of the partners and associates at Farrer & Co and find them all to provide an exceptional and uncompromising service to clients. I work with many legal firms on property transactions and Farrer & Co are in my view the best at providing a very thorough and client focused service.’
‘The residential property team at Farrers really specialise in buying and selling expensive residential properties and have separate teams that focus on commercial property and rural land. This means that they are completely comfortable with all issues that arise on transactions of this nature and furthermore are used to the kind of clients that we all have the pleasure of dealing with on these transactions. They are, in my opinion, head and shoulders above their peers for private residential property work. As a team they are very collaborative and a pleasure to work with.’
‘Laurie Horwood, Laura Conduit, Annabel Dean and Edmund Fetherstone-Dilke are all pleasant individuals that I enjoy working with and I find their attention to detail of particular merit. All are easy to deal with and I believe provide clients with the confidence required to complete high value property transactions.’
‘Edmund Fetherston-Dilke brings a huge number of years of experience to the table and occasionally tells jokes that make me laugh. He is particularly good on complicated title issues or matters needing rural and agricultural expertise.’
‘Laurie Horwood is one of the brightest sparks I’ve come across. Incredibly measured and clients find him very reassuring.’
Royal Bank of Canada
Coutts & Co
Arbuthnot Latham & Co. Ltd
Citi Private Bank
Bank Julius Baer & Co. Limited
EFG Private Bank Limited
Schroder & Co Limited/Cazenove
C. Hoare & Co
- Acted on a complex matter involving an option agreement and the purchase of an apartment in a prime central London location for £20 million plus.
- Acted for a UHNW client on the purchase of a prestigious apartment in central London for over £35 million.
- Advised a major bank in relation to a £10 million plus loan facility for the purchase of a listed freehold property in central London, including due diligence and security issues.
The team at private client boutique Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP ‘provides a level of service one would expect from a larger law firm’, advising on high value residential sales and purchases in town and the country as well as financing issues on both the borrower and lender side. The team has a particular expertise in listed buildings and regularly provide ongoing strategic advice to high-net-worth families in respect of their property portfolios. Head of real estate Sarah Conway advises an international client base on complex and high value sales and purchases, as well as enfranchisement and lease extensions. Edward Burton, who together with Conway forms the ‘best property duo in the industry’, was promoted to partner in May 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very professional, proactive and knowledgeable team. Nothing is too much trouble and the advice is given in a very swift timeframe and has been well considered.’
‘Edward Burton and Sarah Conway stand out in their field. They offer a very high quality service. One can always rely on both Edward and Sarah for not only for the breadth of their knowledge but also for being commercial in practice, which is a valuable asset.’
‘MTG provide a level of service one would expect from a larger law firm but with a more competitive fee structure. Sarah Conway and Edward Burton are the best property duo in the industry in my opinion.’
‘Without doubt the duo of Sarah Conway and Edward Burton are amongst the very best in the business. Their collaborative approach means a combination of knowledge and talent but also phenomenal communication. Their ability as a team to find solutions to even the most acute problems puts them right at the top of the tree in my mind.’
‘Sarah Conway and Edward Burton are dynamic, personable and always available even when swamped in work. Clients like to the way they work so well together, as do agents, and they would always be my first port of call.’
Mishcon de Reya LLP is lauded for its ‘very high standard’ of knowledge of the London property sector. This is deployed to advise a range of clients including domestic and overseas high-net-worth individuals, as well as developers, investors, banks and onshore and offshore investment funds. Alongside extensive conveyancing work, the team offers services in refinancing, tax structuring, planning and construction. Practice head Sonal Thakrar’s specific expertise resides in purchasing or disposing of prime residential property in central London, often involving complex offshore structures and time sensitive lending requirements. James Liffen, made up to partner in 2019, advises on complex deals involving shared ownership, auction sales, portfolio purchases, tenancy and planning issues.
‘A very tight unit who often seem to work in tandem so I know that nothing will get overlooked. They are all highly professional so there is no difference in quality of service when switching between team members, which occasionally happens on longer transactions.’
‘I have worked on a high number of transactions with Sonal Thakrar over the last 10 years and the ability to simply get things done and over the line in an increasingly bureaucratic market is priceless. We have never failed to get a deal that I wanted to complete to a satisfactory conclusion.’
‘They look for solutions rather than obstacles.’
‘The firm’s knowledge of the property sector in London is of a very high standard. The firm always meets all of our deadlines, offers excellent advice and assist with the structuring of transactions and the drafting of documentation if so required.’
BDB Pitmans' residential property team, which spans the firm's numerous UK offices, advises individuals, corporates and investors on sales, acquisitions, refinancing and lease extension matters. In 2019, the firm secured instructions from substantial Middle Eastern banks looking to finance central London transactions. Practice head Hema Anand assists the firm’s most prestigious clients buying or selling properties in the central London market; tax structuring as well as right to manage and right of first refusal matters are particular specialisms. Tristan Ward, who joined from Macfarlanes LLP in 2019, makes use of his first-hand experience in the farming industry to lead the landed estates and agriculture team.
Other key lawyers:
‘Strength and depth. Brilliant to work with, highly knowledgeable and outstandingly thorough. Particular skill and experience in relation to enfranchisement and high end landlord and tenant work.’
‘Hema Anand has legal acumen, is hugely capable and is the best person I can think of to work with you through the rigours of litigation.’
‘Very friendly, personable, speedy and knowledgeable – they make you feel part of a team.’
- Acted for a lender in refinancing of freehold property in SW3 for £34m, involving a complicated facility agreement, due diligence and certificate of title and documents to consider and report on.
- Advised an ultra high end residential developer on the sale for £24m of Mayfair property involving both leasehold and freehold interests.
- Acted for a private international individual on the purchase for £6m of a large freehold house on a small development by niche developers in Chelsea.
The core of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s practice is high value property transactions in London and the south and west of England; from offices in London, Cheltenham and Guildford, the firm advises high net worth individuals on the sale and acquisition of prime city property, substantial country houses, large rural estates and farms. The team also advises lending banks on a range of financing issues. The 'outstanding' Thomas Moran leads the practice and advises on landlord and tenant matters including leasehold enfranchisement, lease extensions, mortgages and refinancing. Cheltenham-based Tristram van Lawick, made up to partner in 2019, focuses on the purchase, sale and refinance of agricultural estates.
Other key lawyers:
‘The residential property team is one of the most dynamic and professional teams in the industry. Huge experience comes with great communication and the ability to make deals happen.’
‘Thomas Moran is my most valued contact, with a track record that most solicitors would envy. He has the ability to make solid relations with a multitude of property professionals. What strikes me with Thomas is that he is prepared to look after clients with any requirement, whether it is a £2 million apartment through to a £50 million house. An expert in his field and also extremely humorous and charming to deal with.’
‘Tom Moran is a sage lawyer – never panicked and always giving excellent advice. He is brilliant with clients and you know that he has their best interests in mind at all times. He is top class.’
‘Tom Moran is an outstanding lawyer and I have no hesitation in recommending him for his hugely affable demeanour and sharp legal brain. Nothing ever seems like too much trouble for Tom and he will always try to make himself available. We have conducted many transactions together and he has been a delight to deal with on each occasion.’
‘Tom Moran is straightforward and pragmatic problem solver. He is easily contactable, and explains issues in a way that is easily understood, even when complex. He is a pleasure to work with and builds relationships with other professionals easily.’
The team at are thoroughly professional – responsive, proactive, knowledgeable and thorough. They stand out as one of the best in the business for their professionalism and approachability. Not only are they incredibly proactive but they are also the first to try and solve a problem before it needs to be highlighted.
‘The team here are calm, and have an ability to work through issues in a transaction to a successful conclusion. They have an eye on the commercial realities which ensures the best outcome for their clients. The firm has a wide range of specialisms which gives a holistic service, where required.’
Acting for high-net-worth individuals, investors, developers and banks, Forsters LLP provides a full real estate service. The team advises on lease agreements, bulk sales, freehold transfers, title issues, secured borrowing and lending. Lucy Barber leads the practice; Helen Marsh is notable for structuring work and secured lending transactions.
Other key lawyers:
The core of Howard Kennedy LLP’s practice is advising high-net-worth individuals, many of whom are based overseas, on the acquisition of prime central London property. Much of the team’s work involves complex offshore structures and time-sensitive lending requirements, while assisting trustees and trust companies based in the Channel Islands is an area of particular expertise. Practice head Pervaze Ahmed is recommended for his long-standing relationships with investors in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Kate Woodgate focuses on development work in London and other major cities in the UK, handling forward funding, forward sale agreements and complex coverage agreements.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised on the acquisition of the freehold of the old American Express Headquarters.
- Advised on the sale of the Royal Mail Site Nine Elms with simultaneous sale and novation agreements.
Keystone Law underwent significant expansion during 2019, and now has a significant presence in the prime central London arena. Ian Cooke and Sakhjit Randhawa arrived from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP; both have excellent reputations for advising high net worth individuals looking to make sales, purchases, or disposals on the prime London market. The pair’s client lists include high-profile individuals such as celebrities and the owners of large businesses. Katie Cohen is a specialist in leasehold enfranchisement and also assists clients with the sale and purchase of freeholds. Johnny Drysdale is another notable addition, having arrived from Macfarlanes LLP in 2019.
‘Ian Cooke and Sakhjit Randhawa are highly experienced, high-value property lawyers working absolutely at the top of the market and the top of their game. They are effective “deal-doers” who find solutions for clients and who offer world class legal advice – delivered commercially. They are pro-active, responsive, bright and switched-on.’
‘Ian Cooke and Sakhjit Randhawa are two highly skilled senior law firm partners at the pinnacle of their professional careers. They have recently established their legal offices in the heart of SW1 and are able to offer their clients very smart and confidential private offices within which to hold private meetings and to discuss clients’ business objectives and to work to secure the best interests of their clients at all times.’
‘Lawyers are up to speed with the latest legislation and case law, but one of the things that makes Ian Cooke stand out is he is thoughtful about upcoming changes that might affect a specific situation for case. Particularly with high end or complex cases this is a real advantage, and as a client allows much more sophisticated risk management of large deals, over long periods of time.’
‘Hugh Murphy is always contactable and you get to speak with a partner rather than one of the team. He takes a sensible approach to problem-solving rather than problem-finding.’
‘Ian Cooke and Sakhjit Randhawa are simply the very best in this industry within the central London property market. The ultra-high end of the residential property market is the sector within which they both operate at their optimum and where they really have no rivals, in my humble opinion. They have acutely bright legal minds, they are able to cut to the point swiftly and as a result, they are best able to deliver deals for clients quickly but safely in a way that other lawyers might struggle to match.’
Regent’s Crescent Property Holding
Mr Archie Riby-Williams and his Partner
Mr Al Jasmi
Hayashi Developments Ltd
Drayton Construction Limited
The Leaseholders of College Road
Birch Park Investments Limited
- Advised on the sale of all the apartments so far in the Regent’s Crescent development in Prime Central London.
- Advised on the complex refinancing of a major house in South Street, Mayfair for a wealthy entrepreneur from the Gulf.
- Advised on solutions to a complicated series of problems relating to the conversion of a former office block as residential apartments under the ‘permitted development’ regime, and the related infrastructure development tax liabilities.
The ‘hugely capable practitioners’ at Payne Hicks Beach advise on all types of residential property matters, including high-level conveyancing, financing and leasehold work. A significant part of the firm’s client base is made up of wealthy individuals based in the Middle East or Scandinavia. Andrew Berry leads the ‘exceptionally delightful’ team; he is experienced in aiding landowners in promotion, collaboration and development agreements to realise residential and mixed-use developments. The team has undergone significant recruitment in recent months, most notably Emma Copestake, formerly of Withers LLP, who arrived in July 2020 to provide her expertise in landlord and tenant matters, contentious and non-contentious enfranchisement and complex funding arrangements. Richard Stapylton-Smith leads the firm’s French desk.
‘One of the, if not the, leading private client firms in the country, with an immense history. Hugely capable practitioners and exceptionally delightful people to work with.’
‘Andrew Berry knows the market inside out, all the pitfalls and opportunities. There is very little he does not know about when it comes to real estate.’
‘They are efficient in responding and attending to detail and providing good advice.’
- Advised a Danish hotel owner in coordinating and facilitating with the client in the sale of a luxury Castle Hotel in Copenhagen.
- Negotiated heads of terms for a residential development in Yorkshire and settled the contract for sale conditional on planning and funding documentation.
- Advised on the lease of a new private members club in Mayfair, including a licence for alterations.
Led by 'highly skilled and knowledgeable' enfranchisement specialist Elaine Dobson, Taylor Wessing LLP acts for a variety of domestic and international clients on all aspects of residential, agricultural, landed estates and mixed-use property. In addition, the group works in close collaboration with the wider firm's real estate development and investment team, advising investors on residential landlord and tenant property matters within mixed use sites which are either being acquired or are under construction. Recent years have seen the firm increase its focus on overseas clients from the Far East and Middle East, while the build to rent and private rented sectors are also areas of specialism.
‘A great commercial sense for dealing with issues as they arise. Unusual in the world of property lawyers.’
‘Elaine Dobson is a highly skilled and knowledgeable property and private client lawyer.’
‘Excellent communication and attention to detail.’
‘Very thorough, approachable, patient, great communication and always available to speak.’
- Acted on the acquisition of a freehold property in Ladbroke Square.
- Advised on the purchase of the show apartment in a new build high end development in London.
Wedlake Bell LLP’s residential property team ‘stands at the top of the industry‘, advising a stellar range of clients on purchase and sales, lease extensions and landlord and tenant matters. Leasehold and enfranchisement work, led by Jonathan Achampong, is a specialism; the team handles a large number of such transactions, including collective enfranchisement in the prime residential market. Tom Allfree, who has driven the team’s growth in recent years, leads the practice and maintains a broad practice across all aspects of high value residential conveyancing. ‘Super efficient‘ Nick Stone arrived from Child & Child in 2019 to increase the team's activity in the prime central London market.
‘The residential property team provides a very high standard of professional service to clients.’
‘Tom Allfree has an ability to identify and resolve challenging legal issues in high value and complex transactions.’
‘Wedlake Bell’s practice stands at the top of the industry. They cover sales and purchases of all types of residential property but focus on prime property and complex transactions. Their key strengths are undoubtedly their people.’
Tom Allfree is intelligent, calm, personable and experienced.’
‘Nick Stone is highly regarded throughout the industry. Proactive, fast paced and diligent.’
‘A team that has grown over the years and has established itself as one of the best. They conduct themselves professionally and with excellent communication. There are not many firms that give such excellent service.’
‘Tom Allfree is a seasoned professional; his forensic approach to all transactions he deals immediately puts his clients at ease. His attention to detail never compromises timescales and he communicates regularly throughout any transaction.’
‘Nick Stone, Tom Alfree and Jonathan Achampong are all professionals and class acts.’
‘Nick Stone is super efficient, prompt and always looks to resolve any issues in a timely manner.’
Withers LLP’s residential property team sits within the wider real estate practice and focuses on advising domestic and international clients on acquisitions in London and in the regions; a recent focus has been advising on the purchase of commercial property to be modified for residential use. Henry Stuart, the practice head, advises on transactions across numerous jurisdictions, often involving complex holding structures. Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall is a farms and estates specialist; he focuses on advising landowners and estates on a wide variety of management and succession issues including the sporting, agricultural and commercial aspects. Nicholas Vaughan leads the Italian team.
‘One of the most approachable and user-friendly City firms. They offer well considered and commercial advice and are a joy to work with.
‘Nicholas Vaughan has carved an excellent reputation in his area of practice and, particularly with complex and high value transactions, is known to be one of the best in London.’
‘Very strong and well respected firm.’
‘Henry Stuart is a very well respected lawyer and hugely experienced. He always gives good practical advice and is always available.’
Child & Child takes a ‘creative approach to problem solving’ in advising a range of clients on matters pertaining to high-value property in central London. Goli-Michelle Banan, who leads the practice alongside the ‘well-regarded and well-connected’ Zach Reynolds and Mo Hakim, is active on the London residential market in property sales and acquisitions; as well as the acquisition of commercial/mixed-use land for residential development. The firm has numerous foreign desks covering regions including the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Italy, Spain and Greece; new arrival Guy Fernback leads the specialist new build team.
Other key lawyers:
‘The individuals I have dealt with at Child & Child are always highly motivated and have a sense of getting the job done. The teams talk to each other so that when a more junior member is looking after a case you know that a senior teammate is overseeing and assisting.’
‘Mo Hakim has always made time to ensure he makes himself available – his ability to get the job done with his team makes them a potent firm that I am happy to recommend.‘
‘Child & Child have been my lawyers for many years – they place an emphasis on retaining personal client contact, meaning as a client you feel as though you are part of their family.’
‘Goli-Michelle Bannan is good to deal with. She fights her corner for her client but with a view to getting the transaction done without fuss or drama.’
‘A small but very tightly knit team that co-ordinates well and keeps in close contact with clients.‘
‘Zach Reynolds is a deep thinker and very well regarded solicitor. Well connected and much liked. Thinks outside the box.’
The team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish handles all matters relating to residential freehold and leasehold properties, covering everything from sales and purchases to alterations and refurbishments, SDLT and tax structuring. Robert Barham leads the London office and advises on the residential aspects of domestic and mixed-use schemes. Alyson Thornton-Clark arrived from Child & Child in 2019, bringing experience of real estate finance and property management work while also developing expertise in Islamic finance.
‘Cripps Pemberton Greenish consistently demonstrate the particular skills and insight needed in the conveyancing of prime country residential properties, farms and estates. We know that we can rely on them to progress matters without cutting corners, and to give their clients concise advice – backed up by colleagues with specialist tax, planning and estate management knowledge.’
‘Fiona McIntosh has deep insight in the conveyancing of prime country houses.’
‘This firm has a commanding position in the Chelsea property market with an outstanding reputation in all fields. It has always been a pleasure to know all the partners of this exceptionally reputable firm.’
‘Their experience with enfranchisement in particular is exceptional.’
‘They have a very good reputation, and are very strong on the residential side of the business. The firm has a strong history and their staff are very experienced. They give good practical advice and are very accessible. It is also helpful that they are well located and this often helps with face to face meetings.’
‘Charlie Mieville is very strong. Very approachable, gives good practical advice and is very solution driven. Widely respected in the market, and very strong work ethic.’
The Crown Estate
Cadogan Estates Limited
Baylight Properties Limited
John Lyon’s Charity
The Ilchester Estate
Legal & General Assurance Society Limited
Battersea Power Station Development
- Advised on the sale and purchase of various houses and flats on the Cadogan Estate in Chelsea and managed its leasehold matters with tenants.
- Advised Queen Court Freehold Limited, as nominee purchaser, in proceedings to establish its entitlement to acquire, as part of its claim, leases of the subsoil, airspace and parts of the basement of the premises.
- Instructed in relation to the preparation of a sale pack for 10 luxury new build apartments behind an existing façade in Prime Central London.
Fladgate LLP advises high net worth individuals, as well as corporate entities such as offshore banks and investment funds, on the acquisition and sale of prime City property and country estates, as well as landlord and tenant matters, such as licences to alter, lease extensions and enfranchisement. The team also advise banks and offshore lenders on financing matters. Helen Curtis-Goulding, who joined the firm in 2018, leads the team and frequently advises on multi-jurisdictional and time constrained real estate transactions.
‘I received very prompt levels of service. Compared to other lawyers I have worked with on real estate transactions, they are readily available and provide quick responses to my queries.’
The ‘personable, highly efficient’ and ‘knowledgeable’ lawyers at Kingsley Napley LLP are frequently instructed to handle the most challenging aspects of residential conveyances, including investigations into title, land valuations, Licence to Alter agreements and tax structuring issues. The firm is known for advising high-profile clients from the worlds of sport, politics and media. Bethan Owen is ‘unfailingly proactive’ in co-leading the team, advising on high value residential transactions and working with commercial clients on residential site assembly. Fellow co-head Paul Harbour operates a broad practice covering complex commercial and residential transactions.
‘The team has extensive experience of acting for high-net-worth individuals and those in the public eye. These can be some of the most challenging clients to work for. Not only do they have the expertise in this area, they are adept at handling such clients and matters sensitively, with utmost discretion and with a very genuine personal touch.’
‘Bethan Owen’s ‘can do’ attitude is inspiring and she is the most efficient operator I have ever worked with. She motors through her workload, with care and precision, maintains excellent communication with her client base and is unfailingly proactive, always striving for a great result for her clients.’
‘Paul Harbour really knows his industry. Charming, clever, hard-working, skilled and a great lawyer. I could not recommend him more highly!‘
Alongside high-value residential conveyancing for a wide variety of clients, RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP’s team is highly regarded for its leasehold enfranchisement work. Practice head Karen Mayne specialises in the purchase, sale, letting and management of high-value residential property for owner occupation, investment and development by both domestic and overseas clients. The team has a dedicated China desk; Ping Leung, who speaks fluent Cantonese and Mandarin, advises on investment from China into the UK and acts for Hong Kong banks in respect of refinancing.
Other key lawyers:
‘Speedy, efficient and reliable.’
‘Friendly; approachable – not stuffy. Sensible on fees.’
‘The team is both knowledgeable and approachable, with a wealth of experience in both contentious and non-contentious residential real estate matters.’
‘Lead by Karen Mayne, the department is effective and prompt.’
The Church Commissioners for England
- Represented an institutional landlord who received a claim under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 for the freehold of a high value central London property, three days before the lease expired.