MSc Real Estate Development

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Real Estate Law in Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60342
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Planning and Environmental Management
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit is designed to introduce the fundamental legal principles and areas of law that underpin real estate practice and must be understood in order to operate effectively. We will critically explore how these concepts and rules affect the real estate market and practice.  Although English law will be used to examine issues in detail, students are encouraged to consider these concepts when operating under different legal jurisdictions. Questions will be considered such as:

  • Your tenant has not paid the rent; what are your options?
  • Somebody is parking on a piece of land on which you want to build; how can you stop this?
  • You purchase a building and then discover structural problems; can you get your money bac
  • How can you resolve a dispute over the amount of rent to be paid?
  • Your client claims that you gave him negligent advice and wants compensation; what can you do?


The unit aims to:

  • introduce students to the legal environment in which decisions relating to real estate investment, management and development are made
  • develop sound knowledge and skills in key areas of practice
  • provide opportunities for students to critically explore the application of legal principles and procedures
  • foster students’ ability to consider issues holistically and search for creative solutions to legal problems, including methods of alternative dispute resolution

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to:

Teaching and learning methods

A range of teaching and learning methods will be adopted with conventional lectures used to introduce topics in a structured manner and to begin critical debate over issues.  Workshops and seminars are used to discuss problem scenarios and critique legal documents and practice. 

Subject to timetabling, there may be the opportunity for students to attend a property auction in Manchester, in order to evaluate aspects of contract and estate agency practice.

As noted in the Programme Specification, all course material will be available online.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain the significance of the legal context and framework for real estate practice
  • Demonstrate applied knowledge of a range of key legal principles in real estate practice
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of a surveyor’s professional obligations and the role of professional regulation and ethics

Intellectual skills

  • Critically evaluate information, make considered judgements and produce innovative and credible solutions to a problem
  • Demonstrate the ability to differentiate between fact and opinion

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate ability to read a range of complex works and summarise arguments succinctly
  • Identify and use appropriate information retrieval systems

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate the importance of attention to detail
  • Demonstrate sound ability to communicate ideas and arguments concisely, using appropriate language for the target audience
  • Demonstrate high levels of ethical awareness

Assessment methods

1.  Online test (open book) of understanding of basic legal principles and application to real estate practice (1 hour), 15%

2.  Report on problem scenarios, (3000-3500 words), 85%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will be given through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within lectures, workshops and seminars.  Continuous feedback will be available through discussion boards on Blackboard.  Verbal feedback is available on coursework discussed during consultation hours.  Individual online feedback will be provided in respect of the test with further group discussion.  Detailed written feedback will be given on the coursework assignment.

Recommended reading

To supplement the extensive course material, these textbooks can be helpful, although a little outdated now:

Stockdale, M. et al  (2011) Galbraith’s Building and Land Management Law for Students 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.    Available as an e-book through UoM Library

Wood, D., Chynoweth, P., Adshead, J. and Mason, J. (2011) Law and the Built Environment 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Selma Carson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Independent study hours includes directed reading (30 hours)

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