Changing demographics make housing solutions in the UK more diverse than ever. Whether it is traditional residential new-builds, PRS development, student accommodation, care or later living, we have experienced teams to assist you

Clients are increasingly seeking law firms who understand the specific nuances of the Living sector, not just in terms of today’s legal issues, but also future opportunities for diversification and innovation.

Shoosmiths has invested heavily in this sector for over four decades and we now have one of the largest national teams, advising on schemes the length and breadth of the UK. We are able to offer a truly “cradle to grave” service for all residential requirements, supported by experts in tax, planning, environmental, regulatory and real estate ligation, amongst other specialist departments.

We aren’t stuck in our ways, though. We are instead ready to deploy our knowledge to drive new solutions in a changing market. As a result, we attract the best legal talent, whose shared experience means we relate quickly to your goals in a way that is expert, savvy and commercial.

We act for a wide range of clients including niche and regional developers, promoters, investors, large homebuilders and new entrants to the sector. Our understanding of all aspects of the sector means we are used to dealing and working within tight timescales, including in relation to housing developer year-ends and the increased pressure and volume of transactions they bring.

Key to Shoosmiths’ approach is the ‘full-house’ span of its legal services and specialisms, from which clients can pick to dovetail with their own in-house capability, or that of their other panel law firms. We have experts for every phase of a project:

  • Strategic land
  • Planning
  • Remediation
  • Finance and forward funding
  • Site assembly
  • Acquisition and disposal
  • Investment and development
  • Construction
  • Plot sales
  • Affordable housing
  • Real estate disputes

In addition, we have strong environmental expertise to handle tricky brownfield and infill sites, as well as specialist tax advice to ensure your scheme is structured as effectively as possible.

We can also deal with the plot sales, affordable sales and any mixed use unit together with part-exchange work. Indeed our plot sales team has handled over 12,000 reservations and completions in the last 12 months, and has tenacity, sector knowledge and experience. We have a state-of-the-art plot sales system together with a friendly service-orientated feel, which has provided not only rapid growth but strong client loyalty, evidenced by the fact that three out of the four national house builders for whom we act have been clients for 20 years or more.

Specialist teams

Specific areas of experience include:

Housebuilding - Shoosmiths has true UK scale, depth of resource and a range of specialisms to offer a consistent service across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, delivered locally and with full account management and flexible reporting/MI to meet the needs of in-house legal teams.

Student accommodation - We act for a growing number of student living providers and have a wealth of scalable know-how and expertise in this area.

Affordable housing - Our teams are well-connected, bring cross-disciplinary experience and a commercial outlook and approach, as well as a good knowledge of current best practice in the affordable housing market, whether your requirements relate to development, funding, stock transfer, asset management or tenant management.

Strategic land - Our specialist team works nationally and seamlessly to offer clients a single point of contact across various disciplines, wherever in the UK they are operating.

Later living - From ongoing change in social care policy to stretched public finances to an ageing population, the retirement living and care market has seen significant change in recent years. Our credentials mean we have the necessary experience to guide developers, funders and operators through any development project, be it a retirement village, a traditional care home, extra care or sheltered housing. We are seeing increased activity in this sector as long income funds shy away from the High Street and Hotel, and Leisure/ Logistics yields harden.

Build to rent (BTR) - The BTR market has in recent years has been booming. However, the ability to buy land at the right price is becoming ever more challenging for investors. With the work often being highly complex, Shoosmiths’ knowledge of the build to rent market and our multi-disciplinary approach means we have the capability and resource to deliver strategic advice in a highly commercial way.

Versatile skills and distinctive style, very personable, and relaxed working relationships.

Legal 500 2024

The team provides clear, practical and commercial advice.

Legal 500 2024

Case studies

Related services

Meet the team


Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.