Global coverage for a global asset class
Real estate is a large and complex global asset class. Our 500+ real estate lawyers located in major markets around the world understand every aspect of the real estate business and are distinctively positioned to help you achieve your business objectives with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
Real estate is a core area at DLA Piper. Our real estate team is trusted by many of the world’s leading institutional investors, private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, investment advisors, fund sponsors, public and private REITs, real estate developers, lenders, and national and multinational companies to handle their most important real estate matters.
What we offer is simple: a deep, integrated team that understands your business and can handle all of your real estate related needs effectively and efficiently anywhere in the world. No other law firm can match our combination of real estate experience, modern industry insights and global footprint.
“The firm is first-rate for real estate matters. They have deep bench strength and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience on large, complex transactions.”
We handle all types of real estate and real estate-related matters, from multibillion-USD portfolio and M&A transactions to the acquisition, financing, joint venture formation, leasing and sale of individual properties. We also handle construction and design, planning/zoning and development, land use and related matters.
We have significant experience with cross-border and portfolio transactions. Our real estate sector team includes other experienced lawyers in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, fund formation, finance, tax, employment and employee benefits, litigation, data privacy, intellectual property, restructuring, regulatory and environmental. We work seamlessly across practice groups to provide high-value services to clients across all segments of the commercial real estate industry.
A large percentage of our largest real estate clients have been clients for multiple decades. We believe that a successful client-lawyer relationship involves more than just the execution of individual transactions; rather, we create and nurture long-term partnerships with our clients in which we anticipate challenges – and opportunities – that may be on the horizon, and work with our clients to navigate the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities.
Increasing sustainability requirements and progressing digitalization are driving developments in the real estate industry. Construction and its life cycle, investment decisions or financing options - new legal challenges arise in almost all legal areas. Popular asset classes such as data centres are not only subject to intense criticism due to their enormous energy and water consumption but are also of particular interest because they are a part of critical infrastructure and because they offer new possibilities such as the use of waste heat. This example shows that it is of fundamental importance to think in an interdisciplinary way and to think beyond the currently existing legal and regulatory framework – in all project phases. Be it new planning or existing real estate projects, to develop resilient and secure answers to relevant questions – now and in the future.
This is one of the strengths of our real estate practice combined with our established sector approach. Thanks to a broad expertise combined with a remarkably high degree of specialization and an internationally comprehensive network we can think outside the legal box while pragmatically and efficiently developing innovative solutions for our clients.
We rely on a full-service approach and provide centrally coordinated advice from a sole source in all areas of law relevant to the industry. This includes asset management, transactions, financing and restructuring. Furthermore, we offer extensive expertise in real estate business, tenancy and construction law, in the legal support of real estate transactions and infrastructure projects as well as in real estate financing. We advise on tax-efficient and complex investment structures, always with the aim of implementing our clients' projects swiftly and with legal certainty.
Our sector expertise, such as in the areas of energy and infrastructure as well as technology, ensures that we can see and are aware of the bigger picture and can also cover specific aspects outside the traditional real estate industry. For example, we identify and understand relevant issues regarding data protection or cyber security, not only regarding smart buildings or other PropTech projects.
Our key areas of advice:
- Acquisitions and disposal of property or portfolios, if necessary with preparatory due diligence and the establishment of data rooms;
- National and international real estate transactions;
- All aspects of commercial landlord and tenancy law, including the corresponding litigation;
- All day-to-day issues of real estate management, location development, rental concepts, etc. for large administrative properties or real estate managers;
- Open and closed real estate funds in all legal matters;
- Classic project developments, utilization and exploitation concepts;
- Special real estate (e.g. industrial parks, leisure facilities, hotels);
- Structuring of real estate assets;
- All questions of building law in coordination with specialist consultants;
- Real estate leasing, sale and lease back, real estate financing and project financing in Germany and abroad; and
- Corporate, tax and public law issues relating to real estate.
ESG and Real Estate
In 2019, the global value of professionally managed commercial real estate (CRE) was estimated to be USD1.6 trillion. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is no longer an emerging trend in this large global asset class – it is now an important component of CRE investment and is integrated into the investment decision-making of many of the world's leading real estate investors. In some jurisdictions, real estate, owners and operators must also contend with social issues, particularly affordable housing, which means taking into consideration property regulations, community engagement, employee relations, brand and reputation.
Increasingly, prudent real estate investors and operators understand that setting and reporting on ESG-related performance indicators – including on energy usage, waste management, greenhouse emissions and employment rights – can have a positive long-term impact on the value of their properties.
Key sustainability and ESG issues in the Real Estate sector include:
Green buildings and leases: With the built environment reportedly responsible for over 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, many builders and developers have been working closely with governments as they strive to achieve emissions targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Energy efficient buildings are the tip of the iceberg; the real estate market is also responding to demand for green homes and commercial buildings that feature water-saving and greywater recycling technology, upgraded insulation and a renewable energy supply. Real estate investors and owners have developed green leases that build in sustainability features as legally binding contractual conditions, such as biodiversity protection targets for contractors, retrofitting requirements for landlords and energy usage limits for occupiers.
Green financing and impact investment: Innovative green financing mechanisms have unlocked investment in sustainable real estate. Certain real estate investors are seeking more than economic returns; they also desire to invest in projects and properties that will have a positive social impact (eg affordable housing; solar projects, wind farms). One challenge for these so-called social impact companies is attracting capital by demonstrating sustainability despite today's competing ESG standards and ratings systems that often fail to capture real performance. Developing ESG due diligence tools can help to identify risks and clear the path for sustainable investment.
Increased information, reporting and disclosure requirements: By harnessing new data tools and technologies, the real estate sector has been improving on both internal and external reporting against sustainability and ESG standards. Many jurisdictions impose mandatory sustainability disclosure requirements, such as the EU's Non-Financial Reporting Directive. Leading businesses also participate in voluntary reporting programs, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the Energy Star rating system and Global Reporting Initiative standards. The challenge is in navigating these at times competing reporting systems and keeping up with evolving standards and expectations.
Towards a circular economy in the built environment: A circular economy aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources, rethinking materials sourcing, energy use, energy supply and waste management at all stages of the business life cycle and across the supply chain. Leaders in real estate have applied circular economy principles to save costs while embedding sustainability into their business strategy. Successful real estate businesses have developed smart circular designs which reuse materials or existing structures to create resource efficiencies and minimize waste.
Climate change and environmental planning: Participants in the real estate sector are already well aware that property values are vulnerable to the physical impacts of climate change. Sea-level rise, drought, and heat stress, for example, increase risks to entire metropolitan areas – not only to individual real properties and locations. In some cases, environmental planning laws lag behind the modelling on likely climate scenarios, and developers and investors must take the initiative to prepare for impacts and climate-proof their investments.
Regenerative solutions and community benefits: Real estate projects that fail to engage with local communities risk damaging their reputations. Some real estate companies have built success by ensuring their real estate developments benefit the community – for example, through community revitalization, sensitivity to access to transit, and regenerative solutions.
To discuss the implications of these issues for your business, please contact our ESG leaders.