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Five Minutes With… Subir Desai, Partner, CDS Mayfair

Bold & Reeves has a great network of like-minded businesses that operate with similar exacting standards and share our core values. CDS Mayfair, which specialises in residential and commercial property law, is a key part of this trusted network. Subir Desai is a partner at the company, specialising in property litigation and commercial litigation, often appearing in High Court actions in London. We speak to him to find out more.

When did CDS Mayfair first launch?

Charles Douglas founded the firm in 2005. At the time, CDS was acting for a lot of high-net-worth individuals in real estate, particularly in and around Mayfair. I joined in 2007 – at that time there were only three or four of us and it was a small but busy practice. We started off as a real estate-focused law firm and that has carried through to today, but it is a very different law firm now specialising in many areas of law.

What is your main area of law?

Within real estate we cover a lot of areas, such as high-end financing, residential property, commercial property and litigation, which is my main area of expertise. As a former real estate lawyer, I know how the conveyancing process works but after the crash of 2008 and 2009 there was a lot more work around litigation and dispute resolution, and we grew the department from there. We now have a really strong litigation team covering shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, contractual disputes and most contentious related matters.

When did you first hear about Bold & Reeves?

Henry Browne, Head of Client Services at Bold & Reeves, and I have known each other for about 10 years. I first met him when he was with Harrods Estates and we referred work to each other. When Henry introduced me to Bold & Reeves, I was immediately interested in the way the company deals with property management. Property management has historically been quite basic, focused on administration, such as organising the ground rent or service charge. However, the use of Bold & Reeves’ technology has transformed the industry.

Many of our high-net-worth clients are overseas, so the idea that they can pick up their phone and see what works have been completed on their property, at what cost, all in one place, with one click of an app, is a very attractive proposition.

What’s more, it benefits clients in the long run. We’ve seen some cases where an overseas client has returned to their property after a long period to be faced with huge bills for unpaid service charges, ground rent, or bills attached to major property works. They end up disputing the bills, which can be really expensive. However, if you have a good property manager then that problem never arises. Plus, many of our clients need the hands-on management that Bold & Reeves can provide.

What sets your service apart?

A lot of our partners are working at the top level of real estate; prior to the first lockdown, we worked on two back-to-back £20 million transactions in Mayfair. At this level, our network starts to include referrals from concierge services to a private shopper at Harrods – you end up with a network of people who are working on that luxury level.

Bold & Reeves works by giving value to clients with luxury properties. Our clients, more often than not, are absentee owners and therefore you need a high-level hands-on property manager. As well as this, our clients value and require our time; we meet them on a regular basis and speak to them directly, but they also let us get on with it. Bold & Reeves very much share this ethos.

To find out more about CDS Mayfair, please visit or speak to your personal property manager.