Real solutions for all your property objectives
Property is at the centre of every business, whether you occupy it, trade from it or it is your livelihood. The turbulent times have redefined the UK property market, bringing unforeseen pressures and obstacles to those involved in property development, investment and management. Our experience advising on all types of property transactions over the past 30 years puts us at the forefront for assisting clients in uncertain times and taking a proactive and pragmatic approach towards their real estate interests.
The real estate legal team at Tughans has evolved and grown to produce a department of energetic and dedicated solicitors with a wide range of experience practising property law in three distinct markets. Our senior partners have individually gained three decades of experience in the Northern Ireland property market and have expanded their team strategically by uniting specialist property lawyers
from top UK and Irish law firms to offer clients technically excellent advice across a broad spectrum of expertise.
We are proud of our reputation as a friendly, approachable, creative and energetic team. We appreciate that clients require commercially focused advice, communicated clearly and concisely. It is important to us that we understand our clients’ short and long term objectives and how best to achieve them efficiently and economically.
What we do
- Commercial and residential development: acquisition, development & funding
Whether we are acting for the landowner, developer or lender, we bring a wealth of experience to the project from start to finish. We advise on heads of terms, the best structure for site acquisition, conditional agreements, joint venture and profit share arrangements. We also deal with site assembly, development, forward funding, letting and forward sale of completed developments as well as dealing with land and title issues such as third party rights, easements, restrictive covenants, indemnity insurance, and utility agreements. By working alongside our planning
and construction law
colleagues we can also advise on procuring planning consent and appointing the professional team.
- Asset management: industrial, office, retail and residential portfolio advice
We act for both landlords and tenants in managing their portfolios of industrial, office and retail premises, enabling us to find fair commercial solutions for each party and agree compromises in order to complete deals while maintaining income streams. We are highly experienced in drafting development and lease agreements, leases, licences, re-gears, rent reviews, variations, surrenders, rent deposit deeds in addition to advising on landlord and tenant legislation (business tenancies, disability discrimination, EPCs, fire safety, asbestos regulations) in both Northern Ireland and England & Wales.
- Refinancing and restructuring advisory services
Our specialist real estate finance team
takes a pragmatic approach to advising on funding acquisitions for commercial property, funding structures and investment arrangements, as well as structuring and restructuring property portfolios, development loan facilities and funding development projects.
- Asset Acquisition and disposal
Whether a client is buying or selling a single asset or a large portfolio of mixed assets, we advise on how to maximise the value of that transaction from choosing the most efficient vehicle from onshore or offshore partnerships, JPUTS, limited liability partnerships to pension funds or unit trusts, as well as the best way to structure the deal to benefit from tax advantages. Our services include structuring sale and leaseback arrangements, reorganisations and corporate support. We have developed unrivalled expertise over the past 25 years in the acquisition, management and disposal of shopping centres and retail parks in both Northern Ireland and more recently in England & Wales for Northern Irish clients.
- Real estate, landlord & tenant litigation
Where disputes arise, we combine our property knowledge with the decisive practical approach of our property litigators, to understand our clients’ concerns and provide commercially realistic advice. We can provide guidance on the best forms of dispute resolution where common ground and compromise is achievable by co-operating parties, such as contractual disputes on acquisitions, developments and disposals. In some cases, all that is required is tactical advice on business tenancies’ legislation. However, in a significant number of cases, enforcement of covenants is necessary, such as rent and service charge arrears, tenant insolvency, dilapidation claims, forfeiture action, recovery of possession and landlords withholding consent to dealings. We have experience in advising on breach of contract cases on residential and commercial developments.
- Regeneration Pojects Legal Advice
Our direct involvement in the largest regeneration project in Northern Ireland to date has enabled us to garner the knowledge and expertise to structure joint ventures involving public and private sector organisations, on the regeneration of derelict land and brown field sites. The projects involve appointing a bespoke Tughans team to advise on land and development issues, to include vesting and CPOs, environmental and contaminated land matters, the planning process relating to a development site, construction agreements, building contracts, appointments and warranties. We also advise on funding structures and any grant aid for regeneration projects.
- Licensing for public house, hotel and leisure sectors
Liqour licensing in Northern Ireland is a complex area of law and our team has considerable years of experience, particularly since the law in this area was revised in 1996. Our team has the expertise to guide our clients through the maze of current legislation and we can advise on all aspects of liquor licensing including acquisitions and disposals of pub and off-sale licences, applications for pub, off-sales, hotel and/or restaurant licences and club licences. We are also experienced in dealing with objections to applications for new licences, as well as the transfer of licences brought before the courts by third party objectors. We act for two of the largest independent off-licence chains in Northern Ireland, leading publicans and major hotels and restaurants. We work closely with planning consultants (where appropriate) and architects to ensure statutory compliance when applying for liquor licences or when varying the extent of the licensed premises.
Our property lawyers are unanimous in their approach yet unique in their experience. We provide the full range of property legal services to a wide range of clients – from public and private companies, British and Irish property-owning institutions, family businesses, UK property funds, specialist property developers and investors, funders and private individuals and national retail chains.
We strive to establish lasting relationships, evidenced by the fact that a significant number of our clients have been advised by our team for more than 15 years, including Tesco and Corbo Limited. In recent years we have also been involved in some prominent property developments, including the Laganside and Titanic Quarter development (Europe's largest waterfront development) and Ilex VRC Limited, the first urban regeneration company in Northern Ireland. The team is led by Phyllis Agnew, Senior Partner.
Now more than ever, clients need to see value for money and we are committed to providing a genuine combination of price and quality. We work with each client on the fee structure which best suits their business and are innovative in our provision of fixed or capped fees, rebates and success/failure arrangements.
"There is a determination to get the job done. The service provided is exceptional.
" (Chambers UK 2014
Clients are impressed by the group's "speed of response and commerciality, which sets them apart."
The global legal rating agency, Chambers & Partners, acknowledges the team as Tier 1 in Northern Ireland and commented in its 2010 edition,
“Bucking market trends, Tughans has enjoyed a busy year, acting for numerous established retailers and handling high-profile development and land assembly work for public and private sector clients. It is currently advising several new clients on the regeneration of Derry City and is also closely involved in the development of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. On the retail side, it acts for Boots, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.
Sources Say: “This is a diligent and thorough team.””