HB - The Legal Corner Magazine #Issue 5

Planning, Ownership & The Environment. A property focused issue for developers and landlords.


Planning, Ownership &

The Environment A property focused issue for developers and landlords.


In this Issue An introduction by Vijay Parikh, Managing Partner


Securing finance - What every developer needs to know By Ray Oshry, Partner, Head of Commercial Real Estate


HB case study


#TRENDS: How renewable energy is affecting the commercial marketplace By Rukhsar Aziz Senior, Associate Solicitor Commercial Real Estate


Empty properties and property guardianship schemes - The pitfalls By Faisel Sadiq and Philip Mariott, Gatehouse Chambers


Economic update By Bhavini Kalaria, Partner, Dispute Resolution, International


Recipe for Success - The story of Gail's bakery By Robert Souber, Partner, Commercial Property Retail & Leisure


Sustainable and eco-friendly design consideration in residential property sales By Deborah Mantell, Senior Associate Solicitor, Residential Property


Events: Harold Benjamin 70th Anniversary celebrations


Events: A tour of the historic Houses of Parliament with Lord Popat


Stay up to date with the latest news & editions. Follow Harold Benjamin on social!

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In this issue Welcome once again to the latest edition of Legal Corner magazine. This is perhaps one of our fullest issues to date. In this magazine our specialist solicitors discuss securing finance for developers, and the increasing important role that environ- mental considerations are playing in long term planning. This is a significant issue given the global climate crisis and the impact that international targets are having on gov- ernment policy. I hope that this proves to be an informative and interesting edition from that point of view. Moreover, we are grateful to our guest con- tributors from Gatehouse Chambers, for dis- cussing the pitfalls of Guardianship schemes for owners of empty properties. We are also grateful to Gail’s, with whom, Harold Ben- jamin has worked with for many years. We discuss their business success with Andrew Trigwell, Group CFO at Bread Holdings and Gail’s Bakery. Finally, we were lucky enough to have been able to host our Summer Party on the beautiful terrace of Somerset House. Instead of our usual podcast, we hope that you enjoy the video of this event celebrating 70 years of Harold Benjamin, as well as our specially created playlist >

VIJAY PARIKH Managing Partner


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Vijay Parikh, Managing Partner



SECURING FINANCE What every developer needs to know.


BY RAY OSHRY Partner, Head of Commercial Real Estate

Regardless of whether a project involves constructing a new property, or the conversion of an existing structure for commercial, residential, or mixed use, developers need to convince lenders that their project is sound. Recent legal changes mean this is even more important as properties cannot now be sold at auction without title defects being disclosed to potential buyers.



Lenders will simply not lend if there are questions about the saleability of a property on default. With this in mind, developers must be able to evidence a project’s soundness to improve their chances of getting better terms, and a better relationship, with their lenders.

warranty provider that is on the approved list of that lender. Generally a lender will need to see that the building was monitored by the provider that issues the warranty/ies. In cases where the warranties are provided by the contractors themselves, such as the building contractor, the architect, structural engineer and so on, the lender will expect warranties to be provided not only to the developer, but to the lender as well and for these warranties to be assignable on a sale. In the case of residential properties without warranties, many lenders will accept a Professional Consultant’s Certificate which is valid for 6 years. This can be obtained from the consultant such as the architect, surveyor, or structural engineer. who was involved in the build project from the out- set and who must confirm that they have visited the property at various stages of the construction. A lender will almost never accept a retrospective certificate where the consultant has not been involved throughout.

Ray Oshry explains how lenders approach these types of funding decisions.

Demonstrate Ownership First

Of foremost importance to lenders is ownership. Anyone looking to raise money against a property will need to prove that they own the property and that it is registered in their name to the Land Registry. However, in recent years the time taken between completion and registration has become substantially longer, primarily because of Covid-related issues. Given this, it is advisable for borrowers to wait until title has been registered before getting time- limited finance terms and placing themselves under undue time pressure. This can be very costly indeed as developers may need to obtain expensive bridging finance to deal with the registration gap. In appropriate cases an application can be made to expedite registration.

Planning Conditions

Next, all planning conditions must be adhered to. Planning conditions can be pre-development, meaning that the condition should have been satisfied before works commence; or pre- occupation, meaning that the condition should be satisfied before occupation. Often work is started before the pre-development conditions are satisfied, or the premises are occupied before pre- occupation conditions are fully completed, resulting in innumerable issues and delays. Pre-development planning conditions can range from things like the provision of refuse areas through to more fundamental items such as the materials used in the construction. Where these pre-conditions are not complied with, there is a risk that

Obtain Warranties & Building Control Certificates

Lenders will expect all necessary building control certificates and build warranties to be in place before drawdown. For example, lenders will want to see a building control completion certificate confirming that the property has been constructed/converted in accordance with the building control consent and to acceptable building standards. Warranties are also almost always required. These are normally for 10 years and must be given either by an NHBC registered contractor for residential properties or by a


the local authority will enforce the condition, which could potentially include demanding that the building is taken down. In some circumstances, lenders can be persuaded to agree to planning pre-con- ditions being satisfied within a given timeframe, with the failure to do so being treated as a default event. It is notable that despite this leeway, conditions that go to the heart of a development, such as approval of fire safety materials, are unlikely to be acceptable in this way. On the other hand, conditions such as installing a cycle store are less concerning. It is useful in these situations for the planning consultant employed by the developer to provide detailed information about any submissions made to satisfy relevant conditions, how long it is likely to take to satisfy them and the likelihood that the conditions will be satisfied at all. "Of foremost importance to lenders is ownership. Anyone looking to raise money against a property will need to prove that they own the property."

that they have control. This can happen where one spouse has been added as a director and owner, but in fact it is the other spouse that has direction and authority. Where a property consists of several leasehold flats and the freeholder is a connected party (including common directors/shareholders) the lender will also usually ask for a legal charge over the freehold (often referred to as a comfort charge). Where the freehold is already charged to another lender this first lender’s consent will be needed and documented within a deed of priority. This process should be undertaken as early as possible to avoid delays. Lastly, the lender will want to be convinced that the loan can be serviced. Renting out the property on commercial leases and/or assured shorthold tenancies is the most common way in which this occurs. In these cases, the lender will ask to see that letting agreements are in place, together with all the necessary statutory requirements such as gas certificates, electrical condition reports, energy performance certificates, fire risk assessments, asbestos reports and so on. In short, at a time when finance is becoming harder to obtain, developers must be able to show that they are savvy and knowledgeable if they want to secure terms for building projects. This means having properly drafted documentation and ensuring that loan terms are adhered with. Please contact Ray Oshry if you would like any further information about the issues covered in this article.

Security & Servicing loans

A lender will, of course, take a legal charge over a property that is offered as security.

Where the borrower is a company, the lender will almost always also require personal guarantees from the directors/ shareholders of the borrowing company and possibly a debenture (a floating charge over all the assets of the borrower). It is useful to note that even where an individual does not appear as having an interest they may still need to provide a guarantee for example, if it can be shown


Connect with Ray on LinkedIn




The secured lending team, led by Ray Oshry, was instructed by a bank client in a deal involving a loan against an office block that was being converted into more than 100 flats. A significant feature of this transaction was that the developer had not yet obtained the building control completion certificate or dealt with some of the pre-occu- pation planning conditions, and as a result the warranties had not yet been issued. Had these issues been known earlier then a more sensible timeframe for completion could have been advised. In these circumstances the team had to take steps to ensure that the lender was comfortable with the warranties being issued, and the pre-occupation planning conditions being satisfied, after drawdown which took place shortly after the

building control completion certificate was issued.

The team were also involved in finalising the loan documentation, providing for these matters to be conditions subsequent to drawdown within a time period that the lender felt was a reasonable period to allow. In the absence of this resolution, it is unlikely that a project like this can be completed, with the developer incurring on-going costs in obtaining expensive finance as an alternative.


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How renewable energy is affecting the commercial marketplace: The problems facing Landlords and SMEs and the the solutions to tackle them.

BY RUKHSAR AZIZ Senior Associate Solicitor Commercial Real Estate




SMEs make up more than 99% of businesses in the UK. They make up half of private sector turnover and almost two thirds of UK employment. But alongside these huge positive contributions to the British economy, SMEs unfortunately also make a substantial contribution to businesses' environmental footprint: 50% of all commercial carbon emissions. SMEs make up more than 99% of businesses in the UK. They make up half of private sector turnover and almost two thirds of UK employment. But alongside these huge positive contributions to the British economy, SMEs unfortunately also make a substantial contribution to businesses' environmental footprint: 50% of all commercial carbon emissions. As the drive to look to renewable sources of energy, and “go green” has grown in recent years, businesses nationwide are trying to find more ways to become environmentally responsible, and alongside the benefits to the planet, switching to greener alternatives could also give businesses an opportunity to benefit their bottom line. However, a lack of access to non- domestic smart meters, as well as a lack of commitment and investment by some SMEs themselves, is hindering the development of innovative solutions for energy sustainability and efficiency. Businesses will need to find more ways to improve their approach to sustainability and utilise renewable energy, such as employing legal means and agreements, relying on smart energy services and using innovative business models in order to cut their energy costs and carbon emissions.

rated less than E. At present, there are proposals for the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for newly rented commercial buildings to rise from E to C in 2025 and then to B by 2030. If the proposals proceed as planned then 85% of non-domestic rental properties will need to improve energy efficiency by 2030 or landlords will be prohibited from leasing them. But landlords are often reluctant to invest in energy saving measures - after all it is their tenant who will receive the financial benefits, such as lower energy bills. Despite the strong case for cost saving, the Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency (BASEE) programme identified that only a minority of landlords or SMEs had invested in improving the energy efficiency of their properties, whilst some lease agreements even limited the actions a tenant could perform. Compounding this problem, it is also more difficult for SMEs to access cheaper finance to fund energy efficiency upgrades - granting them loans is seen as fundamentally more risky due to their weaker credit ratings and uncertain business longevity. Even when SMEs can eventually go forward with improvements, there are no standards or requirements to guarantee quality control for non-domestic energy efficiency measures, with the varying quality between providers and installations not always subject to due diligence procedures.

The Challenge for Developers

The BASEE project found that a large proportion of developers making energy services for SMEs needed them to have smart meters. However, only around 12% (168,000 out of 1.4 million) of non-domes- tic properties currently use them, and with information on deployment rates across certain areas or geographic lo- cations being unobtainable, developers have had difficulties finding out which businesses belonged in that small group.

Landlords and SMEs – The issues they face

Unless a valid exemption is in place, it is unlawful to let a commercial property with an EPC rating of less than E and since April 2023 it has also been unlawful to continue to let a commercial property with an EPC


"Only 12% (around 167,000 out of 1.4 million) of non-domestic properties

currently have smart meters."

This has meant that it has proven difficult to find developers willing to engage with the process of deploying smart meter schemes. In addition, the cost of creating services offering smart energy solutions for individual SMEs (which could comprise site surveys, en- gineering designs & performance verification) frequently damages the commercial viability of plans.

These schemes normally have compulsory regulatory requirements such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK deemed a large undertaking. Any UK company that employs 250 or more individuals or whose annual turnover is more than £44 million with an annual balance sheet of more than £38 million is regarded as a large undertaking. However, nearly every system that is utilised by energy suppliers and energy brokers rewards greater consumption of energy and does not incentivise clients to save energy instead.

Current Energy Service Providers

Although there is a market of current energy service providers, such as energy brokers and energy suppliers, they usually focus their attention on schemes aimed at larger businesses.



Solutions for Improvement

Business Models - The use of innovative business models can also help to bring smarter energy services to SMEs. This can be done through measures such as specific tariffs that correspond with a client’s needs (on cost or carbon), integrated data-driven energy efficiency projects (including installation and finance) and other ways of optimising efficiency by having access to usage data. Energy services must also be simple to understand and access, with a focus on the benefits. Furthermore, combining SMEs to expand services and lower the price to serve can help to reach economies of scale. This would offer cheaper access to energy supply contracts, energy efficiency installations, low carbon technology and finance.

Legal Agreements - The use of ‘green leases’ can offer a more climate-progressive legal approach. Green leases promote collaboration between landlords and commercial tenants, with key principles such as sharing data on energy consumption or more progressive joint investment strategies. A greater use and standardisation of such lease agreements would quicken the decarbonisation of privately rented, non-domestic building stock. Green leases also have additional provisions that impose obligations on landlords and

tenants to control and moderate the environmental impact of a property through various improvements.

Additionally, a more flexible alternative to a green lease is a memorandum of understanding. This is an agreement entered into between landlords and tenants that details how the environmental impact of the property should be managed. A memorandum of understanding is not legally binding but it is simpler to update and amend than a lease and is a faster method for agreeing environmental objectives between parties. Smart Energy Services - A new report recognising the findings from the BASEE programme found convincing opportunities for innovation in supplying smart energy services to SMEs. Smart energy services identify when energy is being used the most and adapts to shifts in use. These give SMEs more financial certainty with regards to energy bills, investment returns and payback periods for energy efficiency measures. These services can also identify fast and easy energy saving measures, such as systems calibration or behavioural measures, and may provide additional revenues like proposing demand side response for flexibility markets. Service providers such as energy companies or brokers should also use these live energy statistics to provide better schemes for SMEs that improve client relationships and credibility.


Finding ways to cut costs and take advantage of a great return of investment are essential to a successful business. Renewable energy can cut down a business’ energy costs in the long term as well as offer an easier solution to their utility needs. While landlords and tenants may be apprehensive at first to adopt or adapt to greener methods in a commercial setting, there may eventually be a need to do so and in time they will see the benefits of taking ownership of such methods.


Connect with Rukhsar on LinkedIn


LANDLORD & TENANT WEBINAR: Pitfalls & Potential of Property Ownership - an overview of recent reforms

18 Oct 2023 | 18:30 - 20.00

Join us at our online Q&A session and webinar for landlords covering the following topics:

Upcoming changes to section 21 evictions Late or Non-Payment of Rent/ repairs issues Security Deposit Use/ Legal Disputes Inheritance and contentious probate matters

We will be welcoming questions on the day or attendees may submit their questions beforehand via email at marketingteam@haroldbenjamin.com*


*Please note that to accommodate questions from the audience we will be limiting registration to 100 attendees



Empty properties and Property Guardianship Schemes - The Pitfalls.



FAISEL SADIQ Barrister, Gatehouse Chambers

PHILIP MARRIOT Pupil Barrister, Gatehouse Chambers



Even before the Pandemic, a walk through the average town centre was rather bleak. Online shopping had reduced many to a parade of charity or pound shops. The pandemic did for office space what Amazon had done to Debenhams. For the owner of commercial properties, voids present several problems. Firstly, a lack of rental income. Secondly exposure to liability for non-domestic rates. Finally, the costs of securing empty sites from trespassers. In recent years, one increasingly popular solution has been the use of property guardianship schemes. Typically there are three elements to these schemes:

The owner contracts with a third-party for property guardians to occupy the property.

The guardians pay the third-party rent, which is then shared with the owner.

The third-party applies to remove the proper- ty from the rating list and argues that as the property is now used for residential purposes it should now be subject to the significantly cheaper council tax regime. The attraction for the property guardians is they get somewhere cheap to live - often the properties let under these schemes are centrally located at rents that can be ½ of the rent that would usually be paid for such a location. The benefit for the property owner is they receive an income and avoid rates liability.

Two recent cases have highlighted the dangers for property owners of such schemes. In the Ludgate House (2023) litigation, a landowner of a large office in Central London sought to avoid an annual non-domestic rates bill of several million by using a property guardian scheme. Once the guardians went into occupation an application was made to remove the property from the rating regime and into the council tax regime. If this scheme had been effective, the owner would have saved millions. However, to avoid the risk of giving


have changed the nature of the office building from commercial to residential and the property guardians were held to be almost akin to security guards and so occupying for the landowner. The liability to pay business rates was restored and the landowner was left with a large bill for rates and legal fees. The other case is the decision of the Upper Tribunal in Global 100 v Jimenez (2022). In Jimenez, the question for the Upper Tribunal was whether properties used for property guardianship schemes are capable of being houses in multiple occupation, and therefore subject to licensing and criminal penalties for not having a licence. The Upper Tribunal held (having regard to the policies underlying the Housing Act 2004) that they could be HMOs. Since the Jimenez case there have been a raft of local authority prosecutions seeking fines against commercial landowners who have used property guardianship schemes. In the view of the authors, properly structured property guardianship schemes can provide benefits for owners of commercial property, but they need to be carefully designed and it is sensible for legal advice to be taken as to both the likely efficacy and pitfalls before entering into any such scheme.

"Property guardianship schemes can provide benefits for owners of commercial property but they need to be carefully designed." the occupiers a tenancy with security of tenure/have to apply for planning permission for the change of use, the owner placed duties on the property guardians to live at the property for a certain number of days, limited the extent to which they could have guests staying over, and required them to report intruders. This litigation resulted in two trials before the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and the Court of Appeal (with which the authors were involved). The result was that the scheme was held to not

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One year on from the mini-budget, we have revisited the economy in a series of polls to consider how our professional audience on LinkedIn views the current economic climate on the anniversary.

Interestingly, in the context of the recent changes announced by Rishi Sunak with

What are the key factors affecting the UK economy?

Skills Shortage 13%

Inflationary Pressures 44%

Brexit 38%

Other 6%


OMIC UPDATE regards to meeting net zero targets, it seems that the polls reflect two positions. The first that people are concerned about costs and the cost burden, reflected in the fact that in - renewable energy sources to tackle these costs. Maybe, this is seen as once again placing the burden on consumers, and not on energy providers?

flationary pressures and interest rates continue to be a bother; and that people feel that utilities should be taxed more. The second poll result which is interesting is that our audience doesn’t believe that the priority for the government should be on

As with the poll we ran earlier in the year, a skills shortage and staffing continue to be significant factors impeding growth. Clearly this remains a priority for businesses.

What should the Government’s priorities be leading into the next two quarters?

Which of the following are the greatest impediment to investment in your business?

Staffing 33%

Skills & Labour 29%

Taxing Utilities 43%

Interest Rates 50%

Energy & Renewables 0%

Energy costs 0%

Other 29%

Other 17%



Recipe for


r success.

The story of Gail’s Bakery steady rise to become one of the UK’s best known neighbourhood bakers.

ROBERT SOUBER Partner, Commercial Property Retail & Leisure,



Harold Benjamin has worked with Gail’s Bakery for many years. We discussed their business success with Andrew Trigwell, Group CFO at Bread Holdings and Gail’s Bakery. Andrew has been with the group since 2017. We covered Gail’s history and what it takes to grow a food business operating out of retail premises. The '90s and early '00s fused Britpop energy, mega boy bands, and everything from Rod Stewart, through to Britney Spears, TLC and the Prodigy. Against this soundtrack, which seemingly collided an old world with a new one, London became a centre-point for a food renaissance - the opening of new restaurants, chefs on TV and ‘superstar’ brand endorsements, sat alongside a renewed interest in artisanal products. With the optimism of that time, Yael (Gail) Mejia started her commercial bakery, The Bread Factory, in North London. With its emphasis on locally sourced and handmade produce, it soon attracted other like-minded people. Though the craft bakery was initially a supplier of quality baked goods to London’s top chefs and restaurants, by the early 2000’s, it was clear that Gail had created something special. In 2005, Gail’s opened its first high street store in Hampstead. Gail’s has since opened more than 100 bakery stores. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the more recent global economic turbulence, Gail’s continues to perform strongly. With over 2,000 employees and a turnover approaching £200m for many, the key to Gail’s success has been a dedication to premium quality. Additionally, Gail’s has expanded by attracting credible investment partners and working with experienced professionals.

As a business that occupies commercial space at a time when there are pressures from many directions (rents, rates, and energy costs to name a few), Gail’s relies on excellent legal and financial counsel. Harold Benjamin has been a long-standing partner of Gail’s and has helped fashion and implement its commercial property strategy. Commenting on their success, Andrew Trigwell explained, “We choose our key partners across the board. For any business there are so many moving parts. One of the most significant in a regulated industry, with hundreds of premises and employees, is having excellent legal advice. To that end, we are pleased to work with Harold Benjamin, who have provided great support throughout our growth particularly with their commercial property team in the West End” Gail’s is a case study for entrepreneurs. Product resilience, strategic business thinking and premium professional advice are all key ingredients to Gail’s on-going success.

For more information about Gail’s Bakery, please contact Andrew Trigwell.

For information about our commercial property services, please contact Robert Souber. extent to which they could have guests staying over, and required them to report intruders. This litigation resulted in two trials before the Upper Tribunal (Lands Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn Connect with Robert on LinkedIn


Connect with Faisel on LinkedIn Connect with Philip on LinkedIn "Harold Benjamin have provided great support throughout our growth, particularly with their commercial property team in the West End."



Embedding Sustainable and Eco-friendly design in Residential Property Development

BY DEBORAH MANTELL Senior Associate Solicitor Residential Property


2. On-site Energy: Install solar panels or other renewable energy systems to generate clean electricity on-site. This can help reduce the property's dependence on fossil fuels and lower its carbon footprint. 3. Insulation: Make sure properties are well- insulated, reducing heating and cooling needs. Double-glazed or low-emissivity windows can improve energy efficiency by minimising heat transfer. 4. Water: Implement water-saving fixtures and technologies, such as low-flow toilets, taps and showerheads. Consider installing rainwater harvesting systems to collect and reuse rainwater for irrigation purposes. 5. Eco-materials: Use eco-friendly and sustainable materials for construction and finishes, such as bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, recycled glass, and low-VOC paints to improve indoor air quality. 6. Planting: Choose native plants for landscaping, as they require less water and maintenance than non-native species. Native plants also support local biodiversity and ecosystem health. 7. Think Smart: Integrate smart home systems and technologies that enable better energy management, such as smart thermostats, lighting controls, and smart plugs. 8. Passive Design: Incorporate passive design principles to optimise natural lighting, ventilation, and heat gain, reducing the need for artificial lighting and mechanical cooling and heating. 9. Waste: Implement proper waste management systems, including recycling and composting facilities, to minimise properties’ waste outputs. 10. Certify: Obtain green building certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or ENERGY STAR, which can add value to the property and demonstrate its eco-friendly features to potential buyers.

Despite the recent announcements from the Government, the push towards net zero carbon emissions and carbon neutral buildings is growing. Developers are focusing on constructing or retrofitting properties to achieve a net zero energy balance by integrating renewable energy sources, energy efficient technologies and sustainable building materials. Sustainable and eco-friendly design considerations in residential property sales have become increasingly important as more people seek to reduce their environmental impact and live in eco-conscious homes. Incorporating these features into any property, be it new or old, can make it more appealing to potential buyers as well as help contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. In thinking of making your property more sustainable, there are four key considerations, all of which are interconnected. Sustainable development requires a balanced and equitable approach to social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors. Truly achieving sustainability requires balancing and integrating actions across all four of these dimensions, working to meet the needs of the present without compromising the wellbeing of future generations. Sounds daunting! However, if we really want to design properties sustainably and with awareness of our environment, we can start by considering the following areas: 1. Energy Efficiency: Ensure properties have energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and HVAC systems. Consider using LED lighting, programmable thermostats, and Energy Star-rated appliances to reduce energy consumption and utility costs.



11. Location: Choose a location with good access to public transportation, biking or walking paths, and nearby amenities to promote a sustainable lifestyle for residents. 12. Community: Create communal spaces that encourage residents to engage in sustainable practices, such as community gardens or shared composting facilities. By incorporating these sustainable and eco-friendly design considerations into residential property sales, you can attract environmentally conscious buyers and demonstrate your commitment to creating a greener living environment for the future.

Incorporating energy-efficient high quality windows, lighting and heating, ventilation, insulation, and energy-efficient air conditioning HVAC systems can increase the initial construction costs. These may involve higher upfront costs but can result in lower energy consumption, reduced utility bills over time and improved comfort for occupants. Using eco-friendly and sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood, bamboo or low impact materials, which may be more expensive than conventional materials, can add to the overall construction costs. However, there are often long term benefits such as improved indoor air quality and durability.

Costs & Benefits

The cost of land and its location can significantly impact the overall price of

Obviously there are a number of costs associated with sustainable development and design. Costs of sustainable real estate in the UK can vary depending on various factors such as location, property type, size, and the specific sustainable features or certifications being implemented. A cost benefit analysis should be carried out before starting on such projects to assess the long-term savings and environmental benefits that sustainable features can provide. Obtaining green building certifications, such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Passivhaus involves additional expenses for assessment, documentation, consulting services and certification fees in the short term but can be recouped by the demand for environmentally friendly housing from eco-conscious buyers and tenants. Incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines can be a significant upfront cost but in the long run, can provide long term savings on energy bills and potentially generate income through feed in tariffs or incentives.

sustainable real estate projects. Prime locations with good access to public transportation and amenities may come at a premium. Creating eco-friendly landscapes and outdoor spaces, such as rainwater harvesting systems, native plantings, permeable surfaces like green roofs or living walls, can add to the upfront costs for design and implementation. However, these have gained in popularity since they offer improved insulation, stormwater management and increased biodiversity in urban areas. Incorporating waste reduction and recycling systems may involve some upfront expenses but they can contribute to sustainable waste management practices and potential cost savings in waste disposal. In the same way, installing water saving fixtures such as low flow toilets and rainwater harvesting systems may require an initial investment but can lead to lower water bills and more efficient water use. Retrofitting or upgrading existing properties to make them more sustainable can be costly, depending on the extent of the modifications required. However, the long-term benefits will mean lower bills and energy consumption.

It should also be noted that government, local authorities, and financial institutions are


important to work with experienced professionals such as architects, contractors, and sustainability consultants to assess the potential costs and benefits of incorporating eco-friendly features into new and older homes. There are so many advantages to designing sustainable and eco-friendly properties. So long as strategies such as energy monitoring and efficient waste management practices, tax breaks and grants for eco-friendly projects, constant focusing on reuse and regeneration of existing buildings and developments, repurposing of under-utilised spaces, as well as promotion of green spaces and landscaping, are incorporated into property development and management, we can create a more sustainable and eco-friendlier environment. For questions about any of the matters discussed in this article, please contact Deborah Mantell "Although sustainable real estate may involved higher upfront costs, these can be offset by long-term saving in lower operating costs, reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance expenses."

providing financial incentives and grants to promote eco-friendly developments which can help to offset some of the initial costs and make sustainable real estate more financially viable for developers and homeowners alike.

Growing Lifestyle Demand

Generally, although sustainable real estate may involve higher upfront costs compared to conventional buildings, these costs can be offset by long-term savings in lower operating costs, reduced energy consumption, improved occupant health and well-being, as well as lower maintenance expenses. All of these can, as we have seen, result in a positive return on investment over time.

Sustainable and community-oriented developments that foster a sense of

community, prioritise green space, are walk and cycle friendly and give greater access to public transport are becoming more and more popular as people seek living environments which emphasise occupant health and well-being, improved indoor air quality, access to natural light and outdoor spaces.


Connect with Deborah on LinkedIn

Sustaining Sustainability

If properties are to be designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, it is




GOING PLATINUM As part of our celebrations of our 70th year anniversary, Harold

With a live band entertaining clients with classics, interspersed with songs from a specially created playlist celebrating the firm’s platinum anniversary, the weather held for the open terrace location and the sun set over a peaceful looking Thames. Amongst the guests Harold Benjamin were pleased to welcome retired and current colleagues, clients, friends and long standing partners.

Benjamin was thrilled to host our Summer Party at Somerset House. This venue proved a stunning backdrop to a beautiful evening. Vijay Parikh, the managing partner of the firm, addressing guests commented on the fact that it looked like London Fashion Week attendees seemed to be among the 400-strong crowd, as Harold Benjamin staff and guests partied the night away in their most glamourous outfits.

Click here to play our playlist >



"I'm humbled by the fact that the firm has remained truly independent for the past seven decades and that's testimony to the founders, everyone at the firm and our clients. I am a custodian of the business and I believe that within our business there is already the individual or indivisuals who will take this firm into its 100th year."

Vijay Parikh Managing Partner







Harold Benjamin tours the historic Houses of Parliament with Lord Popat


Harold Benjamin’s Young Solicitors Group, together with our managing partner, Vijay Parikh were invited to tour the Houses of Parliament by Lord Popat earlier this month. Lord Popat guided the group explaining the origins of Parliament, its function, and the role of the House of Lords specifically. As part of the visit the group observed a debate on the Illegal Migration Bill, being examined by the Lords. This review process is a fundamental part of the way in which laws are considered and tested. In particular, the Lords play a crucial role in making sure that large-majority governments cannot simply rush through legislation without proper scrutiny. Additionally, the team were able to view the Magna Carta, the principal document which helped establish the modern relationship between people and government, and which was the first to enunciate the notion that everyone is equal before the law. The Magna Carta has remained located within our democratic institutions since its inception in 1215 and commenting afterwards Vijay Parikh reflected on its foundational role in forming property, as well as the individual rights: “Harold Benjamin, is celebrating 70 years of practice. It is fascinating to see how a deal that was struck in another time is implemented everyday by our own practising solicitors so many hundreds of years later”. The historic nature of law-making is reflected in the physical architecture of the Parliament buildings. The way in which the old and the present day continue to collide - from the scaffolding clinging to the outside, through to modern-day additions such as video screens telling lawmakers what debates are happening – can be observed while walking around the building. Additionally, whilst lawyers today may be used to using digital databases, the truly consequential character of the Houses of Parliament is revealed by the fact that it holds archival documents dating back over

700 years. It is incredible to contemplate that the legislation and laws currently being deliberated will also contribute to these records and will themselves become a part of this rich history. The development of the rule of law, and democratic norms via Parliament has enabled social change. This is recognised by the fact that both the law-making and the reviewing chambers of the Houses of Parliament now have members with many different cultural heritages. Lord Popat himself came to the UK from Uganda. Rishi Sunak’s premiership is a testimony to these changes, which have happened in no small part because of progressive statutes over the years. We are grateful to Lord Popat for his time, and our team was thrilled to have a first-hand account of the work this incredibly significant place does. The tour demonstrated how our firm can be at once situated in tradition, whilst at the same time be a vehicle for on- going change.



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