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A chat with… Karen Mayne

Tell us about your own area of legal practice?

My practice focuses on residential property and involves both advisory and transactional work. I act in the sale, purchase and financing of substantial residential properties, both rural and in London, generally for high-net-worth individuals, both UK and off–shore based.

I advise on all aspects of rights and obligations in respect of the use and enjoyment of residential property. For example, I advise institutional landlords on the development of existing residential sites to provide additional accommodation, through to assisting homeowners in identifying boundary obligations. I also act for entrepreneurial and institutional investors in portfolio acquisitions and disposals and provide ongoing management advice and support.

I advise commercial landlords, tenant-owned landlords and individual owners on residential landlord and tenant matters including lease extensions, enfranchisement of freehold houses and collective enfranchisement. I also advise on the disposal of interests in and restructuring of ownership of existing developments as well as acting for high street and commercial lenders and for borrowers in relation to secured finance. So my work and client base are pretty varied and I would say that no two weeks are the same!

What do you see as the legal issues most likely to affect the sector in which you operate in the coming year?

The most immediate issue is the stamp duty land tax concession deadline of 31 March. This provided much-needed encouragement to the residential property market after the impact of Brexit and pandemic restrictions. It will be interesting to see whether the Government continues with some form of concession. Recently the Government has committed to bringing the Law Commission’s recommendations on leasehold ownership to legislation. These changes are likely to impact on the long-term value of our institutional landlord clients’ portfolios and on the individual rights of tenants.

Have any of your working practices changed for the better during the pandemic?

It has been a useful opportunity to review our working practices as they have been tested to the full during the lockdowns of the last year. Zoom and similar forms of “remote meeting” are likely to be used much more in future. There is also an increased appetite to review the requirements for the execution and delivery of documents in the face of technological advances, in the hope of achieving efficiencies without increasing risk to the parties. So we may see a welcome move towards wider use of electronic documentation in certain areas of transactions.

Tell us something we might not know about you….

Pre-Covid (and hopefully Post-Covid) a favourite pursuit is mountain trekking. I have travelled in the Annapurna and Everest regions of Nepal which was a fantastic experience – I am already planning my next trip! I also enjoy trekking in Europe as well as in the English Lake District somewhat closer to home.

Contact Karen Mayne
T: 020 7227 7273