Because of the way in which the real estate market is developing and the growing complexity of transactions – due partly to the regionalization of a number of aspects of, among others, tax law and administrative law – a multidisciplinary practice is required.
In the transactional area, SIMONT BRAUN’s Real Estate team is involved in the full scope of operations relating to real estate projects, including financing and tax structuring. Our lawyers also provide comprehensive assistance on real estate management and reorganization, and take care of litigation in every specific area of practice, represent clients before all judicial instances.
The team’s lawyers assist institutional investors in the acquisition of real estate portfolios and banks, Belgian and foreign-based companies and private individuals in the sale and purchase of property or real estate companies. They help them manage and optimize their real estate portfolios. In this regard, the Real Estate department works closely together with the Tax and Labour Law team and with the Corporate, Banking and Finance team.
The lawyers in SIMONT BRAUN’s Real Estate department are particularly active in the following areas:
- transfer and purchase transactions: preliminary analysis of the project and its structure using real estate investment vehicles (SICAFIs, special purposes vehicles, joint structures); tax structuring and planning, carrying out legal audits into the various aspects of the operation (company and property law, lending regulations, town-planning and environmental law, insurance, analysis of short-, medium- and long-term risks, contracts, occupancy and maintenance, regulatory compliance) and coordination between these analyses and the technical and accounting audits; negotiation and drafting of the project contractual documentation (share transfers, merger agreements, split agreements, financing agreements, securities, sale/lease-back)
- negotiation and drafting of real estate project contracts (development contracts, architects’, engineers’, contractors’, sub-contractors’, project management and property construction per plan agreements, other typical contracts including leases)
- follow-up of town-planning aspects, environmental and regulatory compliance
- assistance in property commercialization including by means of negotiation and drafting the necessary contracts (brokerage, management, leases, long-term occupancy in the shape of real rights such as long leases and usufructs)
- assistance in joint ownership relationships
Recent significant cases led by the Real Estate team include:
- we assisted a Belgian property developer in structuring an important real estate project in Brussels, relating to the construction of several residential buildings, from incorporation of the company, negotiation of the contracts among the shareholders, sub-contracting of the works, follow-up of building and environmental permit applications, to follow-up of residents’ complaints and the negotiation of settlements
- we assisted a leading institutional investor in the acquisition of real estate portfolios in the sectors of housing and care homes
- we advised several Belgian property developers on development projects in France. We took part in negotiating and drafting the purchase contracts and the architecture and construction agreements. We also assisted in applying for the building and environmental permits
- we assisted a leading Belgian property developer in the acquisition of an office & housing project that, apart involving the drafting of purchase contracts, required the negotiation of additional contracts, notably relating to sub-contracting of the works
- we assisted an important institutional investor in the acquisition of several hotels in France
- we assisted a leading real estate operator in the sale of an office building to a foreign-based company. This transaction presented special features concerning the occupancy of the building (due to the presence of public authorities)