Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Agricultural conveyancing?  (Read 1704 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Agricultural conveyancing?
« on: September 03, 2018, 03:49:53 pm »
Hi,

Not sure if I am posting in the right place but this seemed the closest match and wondered if anyone could help?

I am prospectively purchasing a bungalow which also has an amount of land, approximately 15 acres. Half is pasture and half is woodland.

It is a registered smallholding as the current owner has a few old sheep running around.

My solicitor was aware that the property also had land.

The solicitor has received the pack from the vendor's solicitor and has contacted me saying they can see this is an agricultural purchase, not a purchase of a domestic property with land, and that as our intentions are to use the land for business purposes that it would need to be dealt with by an agricultural conveyancer.

At no point did I say the land would be used for business purposes as we have no such intention at all. Neither is it currently used for business purposes. Our plans are only to have a few pet animals (such as a couple of goats and ponies). I thought maybe the solicitor was confused due to it being a registered smallholding, but obviously everyone has to register if you keep animals, no matter for what reason.

When I explained this the solicitor now says even if we aren't using it for business, the land has an agricultural use, and it should be dealt with by someone with knowledge of this.

I have looked up what agricultural conveyancing is for and it covers sale and purchase of farmland and agricultural buildings, agricultural ties, shooting and fishing rights, forestry etc. This is not what we are looking at.

Our purchase is for a residential property; a home. The land is additional to this. If I was just buying some land and an agricultural barn that was on it I could understand. In those cases it states even if you don't intend to farm the land you need an agricultural conveyancer, which makes sense, as there's no residence. But this isn't the case for us - we're buying a home!

Has anyone any experience of this agricultural conveyancing that can shed any light at all?

Thanks.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2018, 03:58:17 pm »
You sure the bungalow does not have an agricultural tie on it?
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2018, 04:13:53 pm »
Purchases of land (whether or not there is a dwelling on it) have a different set of implications and things to deal with as part of the legal and conveyancing process. So for example you probably wouldn't run specialist searches for things like ground contamination, rights of way etc, for a house but you would need to consider them for a land purchase. What the vendor's solicitor is saying is that your team need to have the appropriate expertise and competence to deal with this kind of purchase. Our previous solicitors said the same thing to us when we approached them about a purchase of a house with land (not used for agriculture and didn't even have a CPH) and referred us on to a firm that had such expertise.

It was worth doing as they had a far better understanding of the risks and pitfalls they needed to ask about. There could be all sorts of conditions and responsibilities that affect you that a "domestic" conveyancer wouldn't know to look into.

Maysie

  • Joined Jan 2018
  • Herefordshire/Shropshire Border
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2018, 05:23:35 pm »
Black Sheep's advice was very true in my case.

Our regular conveyancing solicitors were utterly lost when we bought our farm and did not have a clue what they were doing.  Fortunately the required advice was available in-house, so was 'bought in' as an extra gun when required, but the whole experience was very painful as the fees were fixed, so the additional advice was offered reluctantly as they had dug themselves into such a hole. 

My advice: Just use a solicitor with experience in agricultural conveyancing.  It may cost more, but will be worth it (assuming they are good at their job of course!).

honeyend

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 08:51:36 pm »
If you look for an agricultural solicitor they can look at things like drainage rates, if there is a covenant for uses, which boundaries are owned by whom,what you have to do if it has an agricultural tie, and ask about any government payments like the old SFP
  We used an ordinary solicitor who previously sold the property to buy our present house and land, and he was useless. He missed out a lot. We now use an specialist agricultural solicitor as they are more clued up on how you can maximise your investment and your tax liability.https://www.roythorne.co.uk/ There will be someone like this near you.
 

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2018, 10:14:27 am »
I double-checked the agricultural tie with the vendor as it wasn't mentioned on the advert and I assumed there wasn't one (but then the ad didn't mention public footpaths either) and there isn't. I would've hoped they'd at least disclose this on viewing if there was!

Finally got to speak to the conveyancer that was dealing with the case. They advised in the pack received from the vendor's solicitor there are responses to agricultural enquiries (or some such). So I said I haven't made any enquiries, I don't need to know anything about the land as we're not intending to farm it etc etc. I said agri-conveyancing appeared to relate to farm land/buildings, sport and recreation, forestry etc, none of which is applicable. The conveyancer said there could be information relating to that side of things that we aren't necessarily aware of.

There is an agricultural conveyancer within the company that the original conveyancer is going to contact and then tell me a price. It is annoying though as they knew the amount of land with it so surely should have told us this at the beginning?

If you look for an agricultural solicitor they can look at things like drainage rates, if there is a covenant for uses, which boundaries are owned by whom,what you have to do if it has an agricultural tie, and ask about any government payments like the old SFP
  We used an ordinary solicitor who previously sold the property to buy our present house and land, and he was useless. He missed out a lot. We now use an specialist agricultural solicitor as they are more clued up on how you can maximise your investment and your tax liability.https://www.roythorne.co.uk/ There will be someone like this near you.
 

Can you tell me about government payments? And how you mean maximising investment and tax liabilities???

All I want is to have a place where I can keep a few animals. That's it. It's not a business, it's not an investment, I just want a home and some pets. I don't want to start paying yet another type of tax!

Maysie

  • Joined Jan 2018
  • Herefordshire/Shropshire Border
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2018, 11:03:18 am »
It sounds like the draft contracts of sale sent to your solicitors are 'agricultural contracts', rather than the standard domestic residential contracts, so they will be much more involved from a conveyancing perspective. 

Please don't ignore the advice being given on here, which is to get someone who definitely knows what they are doing to deal with your conveyancing based on an agricultural purchase.  If not, it will cost you in the long run either financially or with stress. 

Any schemes for government subsidies/tax issues will be dependent upon where the property is located and whether any Rural Payment Entitlements are transferred as part of the sale etc etc - which is why you need a solicitor who specialises in agricultural sales. 

My solicitor did not even understand what a Rural Payment Entitlement was, so nearly screwed up the entire sale by making themselves look professionally incompetent.  Would I trust them to offer tax advice? 
NOT A CHANCE!

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2018, 11:48:38 am »
Please don't ignore the advice being given on here, which is to get someone who definitely knows what they are doing to deal with your conveyancing based on an agricultural purchase.  If not, it will cost you in the long run either financially or with stress. 

Completely agree.

Our purchase was made more difficult and took 10 weeks longer to complete than planned for because the vendor's solicitor was not "agricultural" and didn't know what he was doing. If things had been the other way round the purchase could easily have fallen through if the vendors had got tired of the messing around.

Whether or not you intend to farm the land as a business or not many of the implications for keeping livestock on the land are the same and regardless of whether you have livestock you need to know what you're taking on and what the liabilities may be. For example do you know what the land has been used for going back decades? Do you know about all potential sources of contamination, instability, flood risk etc etc? Do you know who has right of access or passage? It seems the vendor has already not been completely transparent with you - they don't have to disclose a lot of things unless they are asked about them and if your team doesn't know what to ask...

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2018, 04:52:19 pm »
Well to be honest the vendor has been pretty open with all information, and has encouraged us to ask anything if we have queries or concerns. The omission of the footpaths on the advert I have credited to the estate agent, who was of the DIY variety. The vendor told us where they were etc. Funny really as if we had known we may well have passed it up, but when we viewed it (and had a good think about the implications) we decided we could live with it (with the addition of several remote cameras!). What with that and the shared lane predicament we've had it's not been a good process so far.

I agree that if this is what we need then it's what we'll have to do. The conveyancer that took the job has been rather a pain though. They said yesterday they would speak to their agricultural colleague and get back to me with a price but have heard nothing. I called earlier and someone says they'll contact me but I think that's happened once the entire time and I know they're off tomorrow. So frustrating, we want to get on and we're effectively now back at the beginning.

I contacted a couple of other solicitors to ask for quotes. One wanted to see more info, the other quoted me 2k, plus disbursements. My other half is being driven mad by the whole thing and says he's ready to pull the plug on it all. But the likelihood could be that any smallholding we go for is going to need this type of conveyancer?

I keep telling myself the juice is worth the squeeze, but I don't know for how much longer that will apply!

honeyend

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2018, 08:48:31 pm »
Our solicitor does not give tax advice but he has a general knowledge of tax implications and as we are both over retirement age, how to protect our investment for the future, not only for us but our children.
  Our property has increased in value since we bought it, so we discussed with an account and the solicitor the tax implications, but the legal stuff the solicitor has to do. A normal conveyancing solicitor would not ask or be interested in those questions, its a  bit like going to McDonalds. If you are buying a normal house its about £1000 plus disbursements, but they are fixed costs.

 I think its helpful to have a basic five year plan  and find out if what you are buying is going to hit most of the targets for that plan and the costs. We are lucky that the only footpath that runs along the boundary to our property is seldom used, but its fenced and that costs money. Our neighbour had someone driving around their 'back garden' because they haven't fenced it.

My husband has no interest in the land, but like most men he does like a shed for his toys and somewhere to flex his tools. The irony is everyone thinks I made him buy it because I have the animals but what sold him was the space for his projects and the thought of building a house.

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2018, 09:00:28 am »
Ah okay - I was getting the wrong end of the stick, thinking you meant there were taxes to pay yearly (for example) for the pleasure of owning it! I now understand what you mean. I thought, "there can't be more hidden costs involved"!

This is meant to be our 25-year plan. Find somewhere, live simply, keep animals, and not be too far from the coast. I never imagined how all-consuming selling our house and finding a smallholding would be. Factor in numerous other problems we have that we're trying to sort out and we're kind of at breaking point with it all. I keep trying to remember the end goal and slog through but boy it's hard!

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2018, 09:33:52 am »
It is unfortunately the case that living simply and agriculture/ keeping animals aren't one and the same anymore. There are a huge amount of rules and regulations about keeping livestock and anything that impacts the environment or food chain or animal welfare. Not too mention conveyancing and insurance and understanding planning and what is and isn't allowed. It is easy to see the reasons why but it takes the simple out of simple living.

honeyend

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Agricultural conveyancing?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2018, 07:30:45 pm »
Ah okay - I was getting the wrong end of the stick, thinking you meant there were taxes to pay yearly (for example) for the pleasure of owning it! I now understand what you mean. I thought, "there can't be more hidden costs involved"!

This is meant to be our 25-year plan. Find somewhere, live simply, keep animals, and not be too far from the coast. I never imagined how all-consuming selling our house and finding a smallholding would be. Factor in numerous other problems we have that we're trying to sort out and we're kind of at breaking point with it all. I keep trying to remember the end goal and slog through but boy it's hard!

I think a 25 year plan is too long, a lot can change in five years, if its only your age and physical health. I know this may sound pessimistic but I always think what would I do if I had to sell tomorrow? So each project although part of perhaps part of a bigger plan, has an achievable conclusion.
  A bit like looking at other peoples gardens to find out what to grow in yours find out what other people do with their land and there are usually local small holders group, so you know what works. I wish we had been down the local pub before we bought one house, the survey didn't point out the land flooded, up to 2 feet.
  You need really to see a good the land registry deeds and look for any covenants etc or get your solicitor to go through everything with you.

 

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