"...specialises in agricultural property matters, handling the sale and purchase of farms and estates. One source says: "She is very personable and good with clients, she can talk to everyone and deal with any queries or concerns the client has."
(Chambers & Partners, 2019)
Samantha is a real estate lawyer who deals with all types of non-contentious agricultural/landed estate and commercial property work, with a focus on the former. She acts for estates, lenders, private investors, landlords and tenants, and several charities including Oxford University Colleges.
Used to working to tight deadlines, she often acts in cases where time is short and properties are being conveyed before coming to the market when she is pragmatic and quick to act; quickly ascertaining what is important to the client.
Samantha qualified in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. Samantha’s background is as a commercial property lawyer, dealing with commercial retail, office and industrial property but she has specialised as an agricultural expert.
Samantha is listed as a Recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 (2019 Edition) and is ranked in Chambers (2019 Edition) as a Leading Individual.
- Sale of a listed manor house with adjoining land, moat and gardens, tenanted cottages and arable land. The contract involved apportionment of stewardship scheme responsibilities, the novation of farm services contracts, apportionment of single farm payments and allocation of private water supply.
- Purchase of a large and valuable development opportunity for an Oxford University College, involving commercial and residential tenancies, lending, and ultimately advising, with other members of the team, on tax, planning, squatters’ rights and construction issues.
- Purchase of a farm including commercial units with the land subject to an undocumented farming tenancy. Consisting of 5 titles and a sale of part. Simultaneous grant of Farm Business Tenancy, completion of a Deed of Surrender of the oral tenancy, grant of a new commercial head lease.
- Acting for bank in a mortgage, debenture and charge over current account plus personal guarantees from the directors. Acting in the mortgaging of ancillary land to release monies for purchase.
- Lending to a mixed farming, residential and commercial estate and completion of security in order to release funds for the development of the farm. The security included arable land subject to a chancel repair liability and involved significant further investigation into the chancel repair ‘regime’ to reassure the bank client. The security was taken over land held in trust, land held by third party family members and the properties were, in part, subject to service occupancies and assured agricultural tenants.
- Grant of a lease of high class office accommodation within converted cow sheds on an agricultural estate with associated grants and reservation of rights on neighbouring land. The grant of the lease followed an agreement for lease, subject to planning and development, on a World Heritage Site.
Farms & Estates
Samantha has a particular specialism in agricultural property and acts for vendors, purchasers and lenders in all manner of transactions relating to agricultural land.
The majority of her work comes through personal recommendation and she is often referred work by property finders and agents who appreciate her specific expertise in such aspects of agricultural transactions as Entitlements, Stewardship Schemes, Riparian rights and the other quirks of this type of property as well as her commercial approach to getting the job done.
Samantha has particular expertise in the purchase of rural estates including high value residential properties, often listed buildings, with such benefits as shooting or fishing rights or river frontage, residential “staff” accommodation and agricultural land.
- Purchase of a listed manor house with adjoining land with an undocumented right of way (necessitating statutory declarations). Subject to a Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 tenancy. Leaseback of tenancies of cottages and the manor house. SDLT savings identified and obtained on a Multiple dwelling relief basis. Funding raised on the mortgaging of 3 adjacent plots of land owned by subsidiaries and associated companies of the purchaser. Advising on BPS and Stewardship schemes, holdover and retention.
- Sale and purchase of landed estates, manors and agricultural land, granting of new farm business tenancies, granting of succession tenancies, surrender of tenancies, advising on Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, Farm Business Tenancies and Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 tenancies. Working with clients on the lotting of properties in sales for buyers to be able to gain reliefs on SDLT, working in the sale of estates acting for trustees and/or beneficiaries.
- The Law Society
- Sylva Foundation
“Having worked with Samantha for a number of years I have found she offers a rare combination of intellectual rigour and practical focus, coupled with a commercial approach. She is solution orientated and capable of delivering on accelerated timelines for clients at the highest level with exacting standards.”
“Thank you so much for all that you did for us and your kind, calm and wise advice”
“We really appreciate the responsive, clearly explained and fully joined up support that Freeths provided. It was a surprisingly complex and multi-faceted issue, involving not only our building and court proceedings, but also negotiation and communication with multiple parties and stakeholders, and several other legal issues that needed to be resolved in parallel. Really professional – well done and thank you.”
“Described as ‘attentive, caring, diligent and responsive,’ Samantha Leigh advises landed estates, tenants and institutions on all aspects of agricultural and commercial property. A source observes: ‘She understands the commercial reality and is very pragmatic about getting the right solution for everybody’.”(Chambers & Partners, 2017)
“Extremely user-friendly.”(The Legal 500, 2017)
“…highly knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile”,(The Legal 500, 2019)
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