Ensuring legal compliance when turning buildings into assets

Ensuring legal compliance when turning buildings into assets

Brachers have had the pleasure of acting for the Frasers on a number of occasions over the years, helping with various property and commercial matters. We are pleased to have assisted them during the diversification of their farm buildings, which they have turned into thriving assets, including a restaurant and fabulous wedding venue.

Whilst they were in the process of diversifying, our Corporate and Commercial Team helped Frasers to update their terms and conditions of business. We undertook a review of their standard terms and conditions for guest house rooms hire and accommodation in order to tighten them up and ensure they were legally compliant. In addition the team was asked to make amends to the terms and conditions for external suppliers, in particular in relation to health and safety for their clients and staff, compliance with Frasers’ Environmental Health Monitoring and HACCP systems and protection of Frasers’ physical premises.

For anyone thinking of setting up a business, terms and conditions are an important foundation to ensuring you are properly protected; by setting out clear expectations for all parties, minimising legal disputes and ensuring compliance with the law. Brachers’ Corporate and Commercial department has a wealth of expertise in dealing with commercial contracts for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector and as such we were able to assist the Frasers by providing a practical and cost effective solution to their requirements, adding in extra measures to ensure that their terms and conditions were current and appropriate.

Our Commercial Property team also advised the Frasers on various property matters. Drawing on their extensive experience in secured lending our legal advice enabled the Frasers to obtain a mortgage over part of the land at Coldharbour Farm, to secure a loan to assist with the conversion of a dairy into what is now an impressive hospitality function room. As part of the work, we advised on the terms of the mortgage deed, made appropriate searches and enquiries and assisted by investigating the title both on behalf of both the Frasers and the mortgagor. Following this we dealt with the registration of the new mortgage with the Land Registry.

Further to this, we were successful in securing a subsequent loan via a mortgage on a cottage owned by the family. The team assisted by explaining the conditions which need to be satisfied on the loan offer and helped grant and reserve appropriate rights and easements for the adjoining land. As well as secured lending, our Commercial Property team has a wealth of expertise in other property matters. As such, we were able to undertake due diligence and carry out the required searches in respect of the cottage on behalf of both the Frasers and the bank. The team also assisted Frasers in the drafting and completion of a declaration of trust relating to the property owned by the Partnership and registering resultant restrictions necessary at the Land Registry.

If you are thinking of diversifying, there are a number of legal aspects to the process that you should consider:

  1. How will you structure your business – as a partnership? A joint venture?  Make sure you have all the information you need to decide which is the best option for you.
  2. Ensure you have robust terms and conditions in place.
  3. Understand the rules and regulations of the industry – and put measures in place to ensure compliance.
  4. If you are looking to diversify, that means growth – can you afford to or do you need to re-mortgage your existing assets?
  5. If re-mortgaging is not appropriate, are there any dead assets you own that could be sold off to aid funding?

Brachers commercial teams help businesses with a wide range of commercial matters and we are proud to work alongside businesses and individuals across Kent and the South East. Our lawyers are experts in their field and will help you and your business face the future with confidence. Whether you need advice on potential contractual risks, contingency planning, staffing, credit control or legal support to help you achieve success in your next strategic project; we’re here to help.

This article first appeared in the May 2018 edition of South East Farmer magazine