Commercial property

Commercial property law and property finance requires a thorough understanding of various aspects of our law including land registration and conveyancing, leases, servitudes, construction law, town planning, insolvency, finance and financing structures, mortgage and other securities, company law, the law of contract, the rules of the JSE and taxation.

Bowman Gilfillan offers specialist advice in relation to all commercial property transactions including:

Land acquisitions and disposals
These transactions constitute ‘the bread and butter’ of any commercial property law department. Although some transactions may seem to be relatively straightforward, there are frequently issues to trap the unwary. We strongly urge clients to seek professional advice regarding all land acquisitions and disposals. Years of experience have taught our lawyers to ‘see around the corner’ enabling clients to avoid problems before they occur. We are able to assist clients with all property acquisitions and disposals, ranging from individual properties to entire property portfolios.

Company mergers and acquisitions
Frequently properties and/or property portfolios are held through companies or other legal entities rendering the merger or acquisition of such companies to be expedient. Such transactions can give rise to a variety of issues from taxation to employment law. Our lawyers have extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions of property owning companies.

These may range from leases for multi-tenanted buildings to triple nett leases for particular financing structures. We have advised tenants and financiers regarding the intricacies of the acquisition of land through ‘leasehold title’ and the financing thereof. We frequently advise prospective tenants regarding potentially onerous terms that may be included in leases. We recognise the diverging interests of landlords and tenants.

Property developments
Our clients include major property developers. Our lawyers have acted in a wide range of property developments including ‘A’-grade office developments, regional shopping centres and prestigious golf course developments. We provide expert advice regarding development contracts, development leases, project management agreements and matters ancillary thereto.

Due diligence
We cannot adequately emphasise the importance of conducting a thorough due diligence investigation before a property is acquired. We are able to investigate all relevant aspects ranging from onerous conditions of title to relevant town planning issues. The conduct of a due diligence investigation is of invaluable assistance in determining appropriate contractual terms for the transaction.

Every commercial property transaction gives rise to various taxation issues. Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of transfer duty, value added tax, capital gains tax and income tax in respect of property transactions. Particularly, they are able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of a team of specialist taxation lawyers within the firm. Every commercial property transaction is structured having due regard to the taxation consequences of the transaction.

Property finance
We act both for lenders and borrowers and have a thorough understanding of their commercial and legal requirements. We have acted in a number of property financing transactions including syndicated loans for purposes of the acquisition of major property portfolios to be listed on the JSE, typical ‘bare dominium’ financing structures and the financing of property developments and major industrial projects.

Fractional ownership
Fractional ownership is a generic term for various alternative forms of shared property ownership or use. These range from share block schemes to joint ownership in undivided shares. Generally such transactions require careful structuring and scrutiny. We are able to provide advice on the consequences, including the taxation implications, of the various alternative forms of fractional ownership.

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