HM Insights

Two seats for the price of one

For part three of our trainee blog series, we spoke to Euan Bowie who is currently undertaking a joint seat based out of Harper Macleod's Inverness office, which is slightly different to the standard six-month seat.

I am currently doing a joint seat in Energy & Natural Resources and Real Estate, based in our Inverness office. Almost all of the work I do day-to-day is related to property, but the type of work varies significantly depending on which of the two departments it is for.

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Real Estate – let off the lease

In Real Estate, I have assisted with a wide range of commercial property transactions. The type of work varies and I am often doing something different each day.

The most common transaction type I am involved in is the leasing, purchase and sale of commercial properties. I have worked on various stages of the process, which include reporting to clients on the property, reviewing documents (such as asbestos surveys and PAT Certificates) to ensure properties are compliant with legislation, and drafting leases and offers.

I have been involved in transactions of various sizes, from a single lease of a shop by an individual to large companies taking out leases of multiple premises at the same time. I also assist with the management of ongoing leases, such as by assigning the lease to another party, reviewing the rent or varying the lease's terms. Each transaction and client is different and requires a different approach.

Energy & Natural Resources – croft craft

The Energy and Natural Resources work I assist with is also primarily focused on property, particularly crofts. A common transaction I am involved in is the purchase or sale of crofts, but I have also been involved in transactions which involve management of crofts. The crofting legislation adds an extra regulatory layer to transactions. This can range from a crofter looking to decroft (remove part of their croft from the rules it is subject to under crofting legislation) so that they can develop it, or a croft tenant looking to assign their tenancy or sub-let their croft to another. Both of these require applications to be made to the Crofting Commission and I regularly complete the forms that are required.

I have also assisted with a wide range of other transactions and, again, every day is different. The other transactions I have been involved in include the purchase of land for local community groups, investigating who owns certain areas of land that clients wish to acquire and the negotiation of access rights and rights for services such as electricity and water. Often, land is not registered in the Land Register and a common task is to apply for the property to be registered once the transaction is complete.

Practical property

The property work in both seats throws up some interesting challenges and every transaction has unique elements to consider. It has been interesting in particular to look at property transactions from a more 'practical' side and focus on what clients are looking to achieve and the best way to go about this. I have really enjoyed my time in this seat so far and have learned a lot about what's required in property transactions.

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