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MSc Real Estate Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Real Estate Law in Practice

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 will introduce students to the fundamental legal principles that underpin real estate practice and must be understood in order to operate effectively. It will then critically explore how these are manifested in, and the consequential impact on, the real estate market and practice.  Although English law will be used to examine issues in detail, students are encouraged to consider these concepts operating under different legal jurisdictions. The following topic areas will be covered:

- The nature of law and legal frameworks
- Law of contract: how contracts are created, operated and terminated in general
- Leases: how leases are created, operated and terminated, including service of notices
- Other types of contract encountered in real estate practice
- Duties and obligations arising from the law of tort
- Professional negligence, professional regulation and ethics
- Property law – land tenure, third party rights, boundary and neighbour issues
- Conflict avoidance and alternative dispute resolution
- Law of estate agency


  • introduce students to the legal environment in which decisions relating to real estate investment, management and development are made
  • provide detailed knowledge and skills on key areas of practice
  • provide opportunities for students to critically explore the application of legal principles and procedures
  • foster students’ ability to consider issues in a holistic manner

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

Demonstrate the ability to define issues in dispute, identify the relevant legal rules, apply the rules whilst distinguishing between facts in different cases, and reach a reasoned conclusion
Differentiate between fact and opinion

Practical skills

Identify and use appropriate information retrieval systems

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Demonstrate their ability to read a range of complex works and summarise their arguments succinctly
Recognise their own limitations and work effectively within these

Assessment methods

1.  Online test (open book) of understanding of basic legal principles and application to real estate practice (1 hour), 25%

2.  Report on problem scenarios, (3000-3500 words), 75%

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

Core Texts – students are expected to read one of these:
Galbraith, A. et al. (2011) Galbraith’s building and land management law for students. 6th ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Wood, D., Chynoweth, P., Adshead, J. and Mason, J. (2011) Law and the built environment. 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Supplementary Reading
Cowan, D., Fox O’Mahony, L. and Cobb, N. (2012) Great debates in property law.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Dixon, M. (2018) Modern land law. Abingdon: Routledge
Rodell, A. (Ed). (2015). Commercial property.  Guildford: College of Law Publishing
Smith, R. (2004) Case in point – estate agency. Coventry: RICS Business Services Ltd
Stroud, A. (2013) Making sense of land law. 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wilkie, M. et al (2006) Landlord and tenant law 5th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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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