International real estate

Our market leading team advises clients from across the world on their property transactions and disputes.

Regardless of size or complexity our highly skilled and commercial approach goes beyond ‘the law’. This team advises on both inbound-UK real estate matters, as well overseas and UK clients involved in real estate matters outside the UK. 

UK property

The UK’s real estate environment is constantly changing to meet the demands of an ever-changing world. In England and Wales, there are two types of property ownership: freehold title (outright ownership) and leasehold title (ownership for a limited period of time, subject to the terms of the lease which is granted by the owner of the freehold title or the owner of a superior leasehold title). There are two stages to the ‘purchase’ process: exchange and completion.

Requirements for surety

Often, if the tenant is a new UK limited company, the landlord will require a guarantee from a third party. Therefore, the foreign parent company may need to act as surety for its subsidiary’s liabilities and obligations under the lease.

Planning law and environmental law

Local authorities have the responsibility for the development, maintenance, and enforcement of planning law, subject to the direction of central government. Any negotiations to purchase or lease a property must include a full review of the planning permissions for the property and surrounding land. Environmental law provides for the remediation of contamination in respect of land, water, and air.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

We can advise clients on real estate issues in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, there is a separate legal system of property ownership and transactions as well as a different property tax, known as Land and Buildings Transactions Tax.

In Northern Ireland property ownership and transactions are similar, but not identical, to England and Wales. Similar to England and Wales Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is payable on property transactions.

International Real Estate

We have longstanding relationships with the Real Estate departments of firms across the globe, and we regularly advise on cross border matters.

Clients benefit from a ‘Shoosmiths wrapper’ in terms of our project management of international real estate projects. We ensure it is as close as possible to doing a deal in the UK. No matter where clients are in the world, with whom we are working, we are able to give them the advice they need to get the deal done.

Our recent experience advising overseas clients includes:

  • Advice to a global pharmaceutical company who had merged with an existing client of ours. Following completion of the merger, we assisted both companies with the integration of their respective property portfolios, including clinics, offices, and warehouses. This involved coordinating advice across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas
  • For the last 15 years we have acted for Jacobs Engineering, managing a wide array of real estate transactions in the UK and globally

In addition to our relationships with our international partner firms, we regularly co-counsel with international firms based in London. Our specialist team frequently advise US firms and clients with UK real estate issues. Several firms rely on our expertise in the corporate occupancy, investment, and development field.

International services