A London property management company has become the first multi-disciplinary alternative business structure (ABS) after gaining its licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Crabtree Property Management is also the first company to use the ABS structure to enter the legal services market; the only other non-lawyer business currently with a licence is The Co-operative, which first started offering legal services in 2006.
It has set up Crabtree Law, run by its in-house lawyer James Naylor, to offer a fixed-fee property litigation service to its contacts and clients, as well as trying to attract new clients to the business.
Crabtree manages a variety of property and currently has over 17,000 individual units within its portfolio, mainly spread across London and the south of England. The majority of these are residential blocks of flats, but it also manages shops, offices and houses.
It also has four other companies within the group: Crabtree Property Investments; Crabtree Corporate Services, which offers on-site staff payroll facilities and specialist employment advice plus company secretarial and registered office services; Moretons Property Services, which provide sales, lettings and lettings management services in London; and Regents Property Consultants, which provides surveying and design, lease extension valuations, and project management among other services.
Mr Naylor, who has been with the company for a year and is a director of Crabtree Law, said the ABS structure gave him as an in-house lawyer the opportunity to act for clients other than his employer. It will be just him offering legal advice, which is why the service is focused on property litigation.
He said there was demand in the property world for a “good service at modest and more certain cost”.
The licence is effective from 1 September. Crabtree director Arti Parmar is the head of finance and administration.