In its life, a commercial property site can present any number of different opportunities to different occupiers. Probably the most intensive time for expert legal advice is in the preparation for and during the development phase of a project. This is because the initial legal set-up of the site can have significant implications for later marketability and investment value.
We have a wealth of experience in guiding clients through this process and also managing their investment in the longer term be this negotiating commercial leases to tenants, or preparing for sale. Whatever your goals we are able to help you achieve.
- Purchase of development land
- Site assembly
- Negotiation and advice upon construction contracts and warranties
- Negotiation of lease grants, surrenders and assignment
- Preparation for sale of tenanted property
- Acquisition of multi-let investment property.
Meet the team
Chris Picardo is a partner in the Commercial Property team specialising in transactional property work and property management advice. Chris advises investors, developers, business occupiers and individuals on a variety of commercial property transactions including acquisitions, disposals, property finance, the negotiation of business leases and portfolio management. Chris is regarded by a number of clients as a member of their team. He adds value for those clients by retaining a knowledge of and an interest in their portfolio of investments, and their business needs, so that he can efficiently see ways to get results for them.
Recent projects include:
- acting for the buyer on the purchase of a chemical plant in North London, with involvement from the initial bidding process until occupation of the site, working throughout with the client’s environmental consultants
- leading the commercial property due diligence on the disposal of the shares in a group of investment and development companies owning in excess of £30m of office, retail and industrial property
- the sale of London industrial premises to a global drinks manufacturer
- representing a leading global shipbroker on the relocation of its London headquarters
- acting for a City of London investment management company on its exit strategy from leasehold premises and its acquisition of more than 23,000 sq ft of leasehold premises in Bishopsgate
Chris graduated in Law from the University of Reading and studied the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford.
Chris was admitted as a solicitor in 1999 and joined Carter Lemon working in the Commercial Property team.
In his free time Chris enjoys travel abroad (more recent destinations including Peru, Chile, Argentina, San Francisco and the South of France), reading, running and spending time with his family.
Ian West is a partner in the Private Client team. He deals with a wide range of matters including commercial and residential conveyancing, will drafting, trusts and probate and powers of attorney.
Private Client Matters
As well as obtaining grants of probate for UK estates, Ian has assisted personal representatives of foreign estates in resealing foreign grants to administer UK assets held by a deceased domiciled outside the UK. He has dealt with resealing foreign grants in jurisdictions as diverse as Holland and Iran. He has also advised on domicile in respect of deceased’s estates and regularly deals with the UK estates of persons who have died domiciled outside the United Kingdom.
Recent property transactions include:-
- Acting for clients on a lifetime mortgage as part of an inheritance tax strategy.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the grant of an option for a lease for use of the land for battery storage.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the sale of land for use as an electricity sub-station in connection with a wind farm project and grant of options for related easements.
- Acting for both landlords and tenants in respect of statutory claims for extension leases of flats.
Ian was educated at Brentwood School Essex, Manchester University and the College of Law London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and joined Metson Cross in 1982 becoming a partner in 1990.
Ian is married with two children.
As former Honorary Secretary of the Society of Old Brentwoods, Ian takes a keen interest in the affairs of the School and in various events and functions organised by the Society. He is also a keen follower of football and has an interest in classic cars. Ian is a member of the Mini Cooper Register. Ian has also been learning to play the guitar (for over 45 years!).
Leesa joined our Property Department as an Associate in March 2019. Her interest in the Law and in particular conveyancing began over 20 years ago while working at a southeast London firm. She then moved onto a firm in Lincoln’s Inn where she qualified as a Licensed Conveyancer in 2009 before joining a firm in Westminster acting for UK and overseas high net worth individuals and developers.
Leesa has gained a wealth of experience in all areas of residential conveyancing and secured lending with a particular emphasis on UK and non-UK based individuals and new build/redevelopment sites both within central London and across the Country.
Leesa has worked with large and small scale developers both from the UK and overseas providing a top and tail service from the acquisition of sites through to the plot sales on sites from 1-120 units.
Outside of work Leesa enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and cooking.
Nikki joined Carter Lemon Camerons in April 2023 as a solicitor in the Property Department. She specialises in bridging finance and secured lending, residential sales and purchases, refinancing, transfers of equity and drafting and negotiating leases.
She graduated with LLB honours from London Metropolitan University, she then went on to complete the LPC at The College of Law.
Having worked for many years as a freelance property consultant, and a sales and letting agent, Nikki gained a strong commercial insight into the estate agency sector before pursuing her legal career as a conveyancer in 2018. Nikki is fluent in Farsi.
In her spare time, Nikki enjoys yoga, swimming, skiing and spending time with her family.
- Commercial property transactions
- Purchase and sales of commercial properties
- Grants of commercial leases
- Property aspects of M&A transactions
- Over 40 years working in all areas of immigration and nationality
Robert studied Business Management before converting to Law and attending the College of Law in London. Robert qualified as a Solicitor in 1983.
Before qualifying as a Solicitor in March 1983, Robert worked as a property agent and played football at a semi-professional level.
Robert has earned himself the reputation of being both commercial and caring in his approach to clients.
He is a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and The Lawyers Christian Fellowship.
Robert speaks Armenian and Farsi.
Rufus Ballaster is Senior Partner and specialises in secured lending for both lenders and borrowers, within Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s commercial property team.
Rufus’ team is able to assist lenders with putting in place effective protection for their loans, including advising on the form of security that is needed, arranging reporting systems between lawyer and lender, preparing documents, raising enquiries, examining title and making the appropriate searches.
Rufus is also experienced in assisting borrowers, advising on the risks involved in the transaction and negotiating the best possible terms.
Where appropriate, having carefully looked at professional rules governing conflict of interest, Rufus can act for both the lender and the borrower in a single transaction.
His detailed technical legal knowledge and ability to crunch numbers are great assets both transactionally and as Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s spreadsheet obsessive.
Recent transactions include:
- Secured Lending Portfolio Refinance for a group of clients shifting lending from one international Private Bank to another international Private Bank with full Certification of Title across 7 Central London Properties both commercial residential (or mixed) use – aggregate value £30M approx.
- Phased purchase with development finance of site for over 40 new homes in SW London for a group of clients which has also bought and sold many other units in the region with Rufus and his team acting.
- Short term (2 to 18 month) lending by a Wealth Management company into a variety of development projects taking first or second charge security over those sites or collateral security elsewhere.
Career highlights include:
- Stepping into the panel of speakers at a course for which he was understudy – at only 3 years qualified
- Representing most of the sets of barristers’ chambers at one of the Inns of Court in lease renewals with that Inn
- Drawing down finance to purchase a SW1 development opportunity (offices to flats) by an off shore company at a price exceeding £120M (for a group of clients for whom previous deals were at values ranging from £7M to £220M)
- Drawing down finance to purchase a group of off-shore vehicles which owned of a City office block let to a blue chip investment bank – loan exceeding £300 million, split into senior and junior debt.
Rufus combines client focused views of legal issues with more holistic ones. This is clearly visible from his writing (having contributed to many journals and been a co-author of the Landlord and Tenant Factbook and more recently of a Practical Guide to Drone Law) and from his lectures and seminars on banking, commercial property, artificial intelligence and other topics.
Asked what he likes most in his work, Rufus will talk of his role as a “trouble-shooter”. He enjoys being asked by clients and colleagues what he thinks about something and trying, with them, to work up structures or strategies achieving a desired result at the lowest sensible cost/ tax-hit/ risk. He travels within Europe and beyond (Arabian Gulf, South East Asia, Southern Africa) to see clients and contacts face to face and says working with people he has met is always preferable to hiding behind email and telephone for client contact!
Rufus was educated at Reading School, Wadham College Oxford and Chester College of Law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1988.
Outside the office Rufus has a full and active life with commitments to two Christian Churches, family (wife and three now adult children), RBS Rugby Football Club (for whom he plays as a second row forward) and RBS Lawn Bowls Club which is more suited to his age.
Stuart Brennan is a former partner and is currently a consultant, non-practising solicitor.