Student accommodation has been a success story since the sector first emerged in the late 1990s and is now firmly established as a distinct, recognisable investment asset class in its own right. The sector continues to grow, providing much needed high quality accommodation stock, complimenting the UK’s world renowned higher education market and providing excellent opportunities for those operating in the sector.

Our philosophy

Our student accommodation team has the specialist experience, capacity and knowledge of this sector to tailor our advice for each of our developer, funder and investor clients across the UK. We strive to work alongside our clients and apply our commercial understanding of the market to help reach commercially desirable results, whilst keeping across all of the upcoming changes that may impact their businesses and operations. With teams based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, we are also able to advise where the rules differ between jurisdictions.

Our people

Our experts are experienced in providing focused advice on all matters related to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) schemes, including:

  • Site acquisition and site assembly
  • Development constraints, including “rights of light” requirements
  • Planning issues – from challenges through to HS2 requirements
  • The construction aspects of development (including procurement) as well as disputes
  • Tax advice on the structuring of transactions, including in relation to forward funding transactions, SDLT / LBTT mitigation through multiple dwelling relief and handling VAT lease requirements
  • Negotiating forward funding as well as “turnkey” agreements
  • Negotiating nomination agreements and property management agreements for completed PBSA schemes
  • Advising on any acquisition or exit of operational schemes (by way of corporate sale share and purchase or at asset level)
  • Advising funders into PBSA developments or investments

We pride ourselves on providing a seamless service and a dedicated team throughout a project from beginning to end, where we work collaboratively with our clients and their advisers, “project managing” complex transactions where required.

Our relationships

We act for numerous market leading businesses in the student accommodation sector, enjoying relationships with those clients as trusted advisers.

Clients in the PBSA market include:

  • National developers
  • National and international investors and operators
  • Institutional lenders

We pride ourselves on getting involved at all stages of the process, offering a commercial perspective from the early stages of the deal through to operation and disposal. We will engage at all stages and bring the experience of our multi-disciplinary team to guide our clients through all of the challenges that may be presented.

Through our Client Relationship Partners and our non-legal Client Relationship Managers, we are committed to investing in really understanding what matters most to our clients and to being focused on where we can offer best value in order to make our clients’ lives easier and the legal process as smooth and efficient as possible. Our service delivery is bolstered by feedback from client listening exercises, which we conduct at a national and regional level wherever possible. Client listening meetings or calls are hosted by our non-legal Client Relationship Managers, whose role is to assess how well we are meeting your needs. This transparent and open approach is what set us apart from the competition.

And the results

We have helped deliver and transact PBSA schemes up and down the country. We work with our clients to ensure timescales are met and schemes delivered to market in a timely fashion. The team prides themselves in working alongside our clients and understanding and alleviating any of the pressures brought by the legal process by focusing on their needs at every stage of the lifecycle. There is a great sense of achievement in seeing schemes delivered and occupied by incoming cohorts of students or from clients successfully meeting their investments’ aims.

The sector is ever-evolving and, as a team, we look to continue to reflect that change to ensure refinement and improvement of the product as it enters into the market.

Great breadth to the team both in their detailed knowledge, regional presence and ability to present situations in a clear and concise way.

Legal 500 2024

Daniel Halstead is great at quickly understanding the issues and providing clear, concise ways forward and delegating roles to the wider team.

Legal 500 2024


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