Carter Lemon Camerons has full in-depth expertise in all commercial real estate transactions including developments of commercial and residential property and acquisitions and disposals of city office blocks and multi-let buildings. Whatever the size of the deal we advise on every stage of your transaction to meet your goals.
- The acquisitions of investment and development of sites
- Commercial development documentation and joint venture agreements
- Setting up the Special Purpose Vehicles (corporate wrappers)
- Leases and landlord and tenant property management services
- Advising commercial landlords and lenders with their commercial real estate portfolios.
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.
Eleri Jones is a partner in the Commercial Property department at Carter Lemon Camerons, having joined in December 2019 from another City-based law firm.
She specialises in commercial property matters relating to the charity sector in addition to acting for a full range of commercial clients.
Eleri is experienced in acting in the sale and purchase of commercial and residential property, Development Agreements, Commercial Lease renewals and Licences, as well as advising on compliance with the Charities Act, charity governance documentation, the transfer of properties to CIO and the development and disposal of school land.
Amongst her notable cases, she negotiated and drafted a development agreement for a large residential development with leaseback to the freeholder, including provision of development by the purchaser and provision for overage. Eleri also acted on a large-scale financial restructuring of a care home business.
Eleri qualified as a solicitor in 1993.
Hinna Hussain joined Carter Lemon Camerons LLP as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2017 and qualified as a solicitor in 2019.
Prior to joining Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, Hinna was a Real Estate Paralegal at another London-based law firm.
She graduated from City University with an LLB Law degree and obtained her LPC with Distinction from the University of Law.
Holly qualified as a solicitor in 2018 and joined the firm in 2020 having previously worked at another law firm with offices across London and Hertfordshire.
With a speciality in Commercial Property and general real estate matters, Holly can assist with a wide range of issues including the acquisition and disposal of freehold, leasehold and unregistered property, licences, title separation, overages, secured lending and refinancing.
Holly has also assisted with portfolio management, overseeing legal work relating to client’s investment properties, including leasing, licencing and financing.
She has acted for lenders, charities, industrial and provident societies, companies and individuals.
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.
Recent property transactions include:-
- Advising in a complex transaction involving the construction of an extension to a house occupied by both the landlord and the tenant including a preliminary agreement to share construction costs and the grant of a new lease of the extended flat to the tenant.
- Acting on behalf of a land owner in connection with the grant of an option for a lease of a solar farm.
- Acting on behalf of a land owner 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 helps with his son’s junior football team. Ian has also been learning to play the guitar (for the past 40 years!).
James joined Carter Lemon Camerons in 2009 and qualified as a solicitor in 2011. He works in the Commercial Property team on a variety of Real Estate and related Corporate transactions with a particular focus on Real Estate Development and Development Finance.
- ‘Off-plan’ purchase of flagship office buildings to be constructed as part of a large-scale urban redevelopment – value circa £25m.
- Acting on the purchase and financing of several town-centre development sites in the South-East for the construction of between 25 and 102 residential units.
- Acting on corporate purchases of ‘enveloped’ properties both for investment and development.
- Significant experience on acting for both borrowers and lenders in relation to both commercial and residential development, bridging and mezzanine finance in relation to sites from 2 to 100+ units.
- Acting on a large portfolio refinancing for a commercial property investor involving a wide variety of properties all over the Country.
- Advising property developers on development opportunities and land acquisitions throughout the life of a project: from the taking of options over sites, through to the eventual unit sales and commercial pre-lets.
- Advising on lease transactions involving retail, industrial and warehouse properties.
- Advising on joint ventures, share buy-outs and buy-ins and investment structures; mostly for South African based investors.
James recently spent several years on the board of a Commercial Real Estate investment group in a non-executive capacity and then subsequently a year during which he split his time between legal work at Carter Lemon Camerons and an executive position at the group where he played a major role in the planning, negotiation and execution of a sale of the portfolio to a large pension fund.
Away from the office James’ main passion is travel (usually by motorcycle). He has explored most of Western Europe on his bike and his most exciting trip was a 20,000 mile journey from Argentina to Alaska. He also enjoys (watching) sport and spending time with his young family.
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.
Seamus Smyth is head of litigation and arbitration. His practice is primarily commercial with an emphasis on arbitration, financial services and work for South African and Italian clients.
His reported cases include RH Green & Silley Weir v BR (limitation period against 3rd party), de Bry v Fitzgerald (security for costs), Hartt v Newspaper Publishing (libel concerning a work by Michelangelo), Pearson v Sanders Witherspoon (valuation of loss of chance), Siebe Gorman v Pneupac (status of consent orders), Senate Electrical v NTL (liability of an employee for acquisition warranties) and Bendell v Smith & Others (a successful recovery action by a lender on a shared appreciation mortgage equity release – the only such case to go to trial).
Recently involved in enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, claims arising from the banking upheavals since 2007, a successful claim against a high street bank resulting from a banking error and a successful claim against estate administrators and their solicitors for wasting the estate funds on irresponsible litigation.
Educated (BA, LLB, Wits) and first qualified as an attorney in South Africa, he requalified in England in 1977, took an LLM at UCL and a Diploma in International Arbitration at QM, and became an FCIArb. He is chairman of the British South African Law Association (for the second time), chairman of Michaelhouse UK Trust, a trustee of Global Leadership Foundation (UK), a former President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and Trustee and President of Town Malling Cricket Club (established in 1827!). He was until 2012 a Visiting Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Arbitration at London Metropolitan University. When work and domesticity permit he plays some cricket and more golf (but – which is immediately obvious – not nearly enough).
Stuart Brennan is a partner within the Company Commercial team at Carter Lemon Camerons dealing with businesses and other non-litigious work and specialises in commercial property, company commercial and associated employment matters.
Previously Senior Partner at Metson Cross, Stuart has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial property matters including portfolio sales and purchases, development, security work leases and other landlord and tenant matters. Stuart has significant experience in acquisitions and disposals of businesses either by the sale also purchase of shares or assets, including TUPE issues as well as dealing with company, LLP and partnership formations, shareholders agreements and company restructuring including purchasing of own shares and revisions to memorandum and articles of association.
- Disposal of a 50% stake in a printing company to American investor involving not only the usual sale and purchase agreement but also shareholders agreement/compromise agreements new contracts of employment and property matters.
- Setting up of a representative office for in Moscow for a UK company setting up business in Russia; liaising with Moscow lawyers satisfying the stringent regulatory requirements of the Russian State Authorities.
- Liaising with litigation team in advising client on taking action against former employee setting up competing business utilising the clients’ valuable intranet based database and other know-how.
- Restaurant and pub sales purchases, leases and other leisure matters.
- Acquisition at auction of tenanted industrial estate to be held under declaration of trust taken by varying entities to (2 individuals, a limited liability partnership and SIPP trustees). Also power of attorney enabling an individual owner to manage the property.
- Directors and Shareholders disputes, Shareholders Agreements, including unfair prejudice, breach of directors duties, breach of authority and derivative actions.
Stuart has over the years been involved in many substantial property and business acquisitions and disposals including the acquisition of 87 public houses for a regional brewer, the compulsory purchase of a property as part of a dock reconfiguration together with representations to a public enquiry. He also represented a client against the Environment Agency following alleged pollution of a waterway.
Stuart was educated at Glasgow High School and Wilmslow Grammar School and Liverpool Polytechnic, trained in Manchester but has worked in London since admission as a solicitor in 1973.
Outside the office Stuarts interests are golfing, skiing, watching football and rugby, music of all kinds and playing the piano (in private). Also supports a well-known northern football club.