NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Smallholding and Agricultural Tie.  (Read 261 times)


  • Joined Oct 2019
Smallholding and Agricultural Tie.
« on: October 13, 2019, 10:35:37 pm »
Hi I am new to accidental smallholder. I have an opportunity to purchase an 18 acre smallholding at auction. The sellers have been unable to sell it for several years and have reduced the guide price by £150,000. it has been up for auction previously but failed to sell. Consisting of a bungalow agricultural tie, Dutch barn and pig building. The smallholding has not been worked for 18 years. Occupied by the widow of the previous pig farmer. A local farmer has cropped the land  to keep it clean. No rent paid.

Does anyone know how I can fulfill the agri restriction, which is difficult on 18 acres? As I believe that you have to earn an income equivalent to the minimum wage. One reason why the holding has not been sol is that the house was built by Woolaways, most were concrete constructionand it may be difficult to obtain a mortgage. Woolaways built cheap agricultural bungalows in the 70's and 80's.

 Although in my sixties now and brought up on a farm and worked on farms in my younger years it is something I have always wanted to own. Plus my son and his young family want to move with us,I would love to give my grandchildren a better life. I have kept chickens, bees and at present rent  1/8 acre plot for fruit and vegetables.

My problem is that if I purchase the holding and am unable to lift the tie I would be stuck with it, as  I would not be able to afford to have it just sit there. I have the funds as my parents recently died and left me their modest house. You may feel that my age may be a limiting factor but at present I am fit and healthy. I can honestly say that the happiest time of my life was as a child living on a farm.

I have experience of tractor driving and some livestock but have no idea of the paperwork side of an agricultural business. I used to spray crops but now I believe  certificates are now required, similarly for transport of livestock.

Are there any other costs involved with owning land, except council tax for the house ,insurance etc.,agricultural buildings and land are exempt I believe? I did read that some water companies have hit farmers with large water bills for drainage. I would be most grateful for any advice from experiences smallholders.

Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Smallholding and Agricultural Tie.
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 09:15:49 pm »
Hi there!

Can’t offer too much help I’m afraid. Maybe suggest speaking to the agent (who prob won’t be much help) or have a chat with an agricultural solicitor? Most are willing to have an informal chat to assess your needs and aspirations.
I know there are reasons that properties have agri-ties. There were a couple that I saw whilst looking that were nice but has the tie. I have a feeling that you might not necessarily have to work your own land to a certain level- you could just hold a job in the agricultural sector. But then as you mention your age you may not be looking to work too much!
I also have a feeling that you can challenge the tie if it hasn’t been abided by for x amount of years. I thought that as long as at least one person covered the tie requirements, you could have people live with you. So if the person currently living there hasn’t done anything then surely that’s a breach (even if she is the widow of a farmer?)
Anyway, just chucking some ideas about. It may be a case that you need to buy it first to then challenge it. Speak to a professional and see if they can give you a bit of advice.


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
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Re: Smallholding and Agricultural Tie.
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2019, 08:57:14 am »
Woolaway bungalows were a system built type of property that were introduced to deal with the post war housing crisis. They have inherant problems of potential failure of the panels. Hence you cannot normally get a mortgage unless they have been structurally repaired by a specialist company and issued with a PRC Certificate to show that this has been done. At one time there was a grant aid to help with this but I suspect that this no longer exists (Ask the local council?).
Bottom line is that without a PRC certificate they will always be very hard to sell again. If you can get the tie removed it would of course become valuable as a potential redevolpment site (knock it down and rebuild) but I wouldn't be surprised if a number of developers have already been exploring this option.

Making an living wage from 18 acres will always be a challenge and I'd suggest that the only way would be growing high value market garden type crops (if the land is suitable) and probably selling direct to shops and via veg boxes etc.


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Smallholding and Agricultural Tie.
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 09:30:56 am »
I think the agricultural tie will specify that the homeowner's main income needs to be agriculture based. I don't think the tie states that you need to make an income, solely from the smallholding.

I would buy it and then look to have it removed. I'm sure there is a clause somewhere that if its been used as domestic accomodation for 8 yrs the tie can be rrmoved? I'm not sure who polices these things anyway?

Best to speak to a solicitor who will be able to give you proper answers, rather than sketchy answers - like I have, lol


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