Real estate and construction in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

D. L. & F. De Saram has a first-rate team that advises on a myriad of real estate and construction issues such as restrictions on foreign ownership, land and condominium acquisitions as well as mortgage and lease deeds. In addition the group is adept at advising construction companies on mixed development projects. The group has been busy too in conducting due diligence exercises on real estate and is also well-regarded for its work on registering transfers of property and in obtaining all necessary local authority approvals. Senior partner Savantha De Saram along with Prabash De Saram and Aruni Marcelline head the department.


The team is responsive and commercial on fees. The lawyers are collegial, responsive and friendly‘.


Key clients

Ceylon Oxygen Limited

The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

GVR Lanka (Private) Limited

CMC Engineering Export GmbH

Elysian Mirissa (Private) Limited

Alpha Homes (Private) Limited

Rockland Distilleries (Pvt) Ltd

Arkeway Realty (Pvt) Ltd

EliSh Development (Pvt) Ltd

Expo Property Developers (Pvt) Ltd

Rentokil Initial Ceylon (Private) Limited

Tissa De Silva Trust

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on setting up an amusement park in Sri Lanka with an envisaged investment of $4.2bn.
  • Advised Elysian Mirissa (Private) Limited on all aspects of the condominium development project that was  undertaken by the company.
  • Advised the client on the sale of its property and drafted the legal documentation in connection with the sale.

Nithya Partners

The agile team at Nithya Partners advises on a broad range of matters from commercial, residential and agricultural property development projects to scientific development and conservation property matters for various local and international companies, corporations and individuals.  It also advises on any property issues as they arise during testamentary proceedings and on trust-related property matters. There have been changes to the team at a senior level. The former head of department Samadhi Gajaweera is no longer at the firm and Seanika Pulle who joined from an inhouse position now heads the team. Pulle has considerable experience of handling large-scale investment and infrastructure projects as well as advising clients on the transfer of land in Sri Lanka.

Practice head(s):

Seanika Pulle

Other key lawyers:

Oshini Siriwardhana

Julius & Creasy

Julius & Creasy handles the full array of conveyancing and real estate matters for predominantly developers, contractors and overseas investors and also assists its clients with planning issues. It is skilled too at advising on lease and tenancy agreements as well as on condominium property declarations. The practice is also strong for construction work and its expertise spans bidding preparation, contract negotiation in addition to financing issues. J.M. Swaminathan is a key member of the team who is particularly recommended on the contentious side. Rajika Louis and Thilanka Haputhanthrie are the other primary contacts.

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan)

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) has a broad practice that is well-equipped to advise on both real estate and construction transactional matters for many developers, landowners and purchasers  and on all aspects of condominium law, deeds of transfer and registrations of title. It also represents clients before the Land Acquisition Board of Review as well as any appeals of such decisions. The first-class team is adept at advising clients on any restrictions on foreign ownership as well as advising clients on other property matters as they arise during testamentary proceedings and any property-related trust issues. It routinely advises companies on commercial and retail leasing and on construction matters. Sashidevi Neelakandan and Saravanan Neelakandan are among the names to note.

Key clients

The Design Group Five International (Private) Limited

Taisei Corporation of Japan

China National Technical Import & Export Corporation

Keangnam Corporation of Korea

L&T Construction

Dunamis Capital PLC

Nextventures Limited

Kelsey Homes (Private) Limited

Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC

Lanka Hotels and Residencies (Private) Limited

Steradian Capital Investments

Mustafa Group of Singapore

Elisabeth Moir School

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for The Design Group Five International (Private) Limited on all legal matters including, due diligence and title clearance, joint venture and BOOT agreements, construction and architectural contracts and assisting it in the preparation of its bids and tenders.
  • Recently advised Elisabeth Moir School on its proposed acquisition of land and long-term leases of different lots of land with an option to buy the land for the purposes of the construction of a school.
  • Continuing to advise the developer of the Sheraton Hotel in Colombo since its inception in Sri Lanka.

Sudath Perera Associates

Clients of Sudath Perera Associates include developers, investors and lenders. The skilled team advises on all aspects of immovable property transactions and condominium projects. Its expertise spans from advising on acquisitions and sales of freehold and leasehold property (residential, commercial and industrial lease agreements) to due diligence exercises on land transactions. Department head Dharshika Herat Gunaratne is recommended for her vast experience in conveyancing, property and construction law.

Practice head(s):

Dharshika Herat Gunaratne


Efficient problem solving. Better understanding of the client’s requirements. Easily accessible (email / mobile) -extremely fast turnaround time‘.

Deals with every requirement urgently and with a sense of priority. Always reachable with ease whenever the need arises. Extremely professional and courteous. Special mention to Ms. Nihara‘.

Highly personalised service. We talk to the relevant associates and generally the job is done without much complexity, but we can always connect with the managing partner if a need arises. Very professional approach in problem solving compared to the competitor firms‘.

The flexibility and the agility of team members set it apart from the competitors. Even if the lawyers have to go an additional mile, they would do it without hesitation. Mrs. Ridma Nagahawatte & Mr. Sudath Perera are always accommodating and it’s a pleasure to work with them‘.

The team provides a professional service and the lawyers are highly knowledgeable often offering advice by thinking beyond what a normal practice would do‘.

I work with Minushika Perera. Minushika offers me an excellent service. She has been going out of the way to offer me some value added services that I would have been unable to attend due to my other engagements. She always finds a way to do the job and is always willing to assist beyond what I can expect from another lawyer‘.

The entire team of professionals is well equipped in each person’s area or scope of work. Almost every single individual is very well experienced and capable of carrying out their duties proficiently‘.


Key clients

Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc

Foundation of Goodness

State Bank of India

Union Bank of Colombo PLC

Samsung India Electronics (PVT) Ltd

Huejay International Multiflora (Pvt) Limited / Huejay Development (Private) Limited

Maga Engineering (Private) Limited

MJF Leisure Private Limited/ MJF Group/ MJF Holdingd Limited (Dilmah Tea)

Zam Holdings Limited

Provident Capital (Private) Limited

Micro Construction (Pte) Ltd / Micro Cars (Pvt) Ltd / Micro Holdings

Indian Overseas Bank

Regus Lanka Number 1 Private Limited / Colombo Office Four Private Limited / Office Colombo Holdings Private Limited

Toyota Lanka (Private) Limited

Fonterra Brands Lanka Private Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting as external advisor to the bank in relation to the execution of staff housing mortgages, staff and corporate vehicle mortgage bonds and high-value corporate mortgages over land, machinery, and stock- it also plays a role in reviewing the bank’s internal legal documentation such as amended arrangement letters, client resolutions and client shareholder resolutions.
  • Retained by Union Bank of Colombo PLC as its external legal counsel for all real estate matters for the bank’s retail and corporate banking arms, with the primary focus being the drafting, execution and registration of mortgage bonds pertaining to home loan facilities, equity loan facilities and staff loan facilities granted by the bank in Sri Lanka.

Tiruchelvam Associates

The real estate and conveyancing practice at Tiruchelvam Associates is thriving. It has been busy advising various domestic and foreign clients on purchasing local real estate. The versatile team is skilled at handling property sales, leases and mortgage transactions under the leadership of Asanka Abeysekera.

Practice head(s):

Asanka Abeysekera

Other key lawyers:

Volya Siriwardana


Very professional & prompt. The lawyers were able to answer my queries and advise me on any concerns that I raised‘.

Always willing to help and pass on vital information to make sure the client is covered. Asanka and Volya are always ready to give great advice‘.

Key clients

Mr. W. Kundanmal

Mrs. Manouri Muttettuwegama

Galadari Hotels (Lanka) PLC

Dr. Harin Wijeyeratne

Mr. Adrian Cramer

Mrs. Sakuntala Kadirgamar

Mr. Kapila Ratnayake

Dr. Shri Maine

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading Swiss private investment bank on the implications of its acquisition of a subsidiary of a leading multinational manufacturer of power systems for the aviation industry – the team advised on the novation of the lease agreement and all other regulatory issues.
  • Advised a foreign company on its asset that is located on a State Land – Sri Lankan law prohibits the transfer of state land to non-citizens and also restricts the transfer of land in general to companies that have over 50% foreign ownership. The department  ensured that the client’s interest was protected even within this extremely restrictive framework.
  • The team has had to attend to several transfers of interest of condominium properties where the developer had either failed to acquire the necessary approvals or had errors in the fundamental ownership documentation.