However, not everything is fatal – it is possible to loosen the tie if you can prove that in the last 10 years no one has worked in agriculture. If the board agrees, it will issue a “certificate of legality,” which means you will no longer violate the condition. However, if it is determined that you committed a violation before that date, you could be fined. Ultimately, this means that the property is subject to a planning condition that requires the resident of the property to be employed locally in agriculture. Section 336(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 broadly defines “agriculture” and includes: This decision has a very serious impact on anyone who wishes to invoke non-compliance with a condition as a ground for removing that condition. It will not be enough to show that an agricultural profession has been left to the “hobby” or peasant agriculture. The principle is probably also capable of finding a wider application. This is especially important in transactions financed by mortgage financing, as disclosure of an AOC could cause the lender to withdraw a mortgage offer or affect the lender`s valuation of the property. When refinancing an agricultural-related asset, it is essential to ensure that the depreciation of the property is taken into account when assessing whether it offers sufficient collateral for the loan.
Amy Slocombe Smith, an agricultural lawyer, explains what a condition of farm occupancy (ATC) means when buying, selling or leasing land in agricultural areas. There are procedural guidelines for planning complaints about the removal of an agricultural tenure condition attached to a building permit. Modern conditions in Wales limit occupation to agricultural workers rather than those specifically employed in agriculture or forestry. Depending on the route chosen to eliminate the condition, owners can expect to pay planning consultant fees, as well as advertising and marketing costs, although these are quite insignificant compared to the subsequent increase in market value. “If you`re buying a 200- to 300-acre farm, it`s pretty easy to comply with farm conditions,” says Dodds. Some boards regularly write to residents of apartments subject to occupancy to inquire about compliance; Some boards take a less proactive approach to enforcement. Sometimes a neighbor or the submission of a manifestly unrelated construction application will alert the board of the violation of the condition. It is almost impossible to determine whether the Council is aware of a breach of the condition, but the consequences, if so, can be serious. Conditions can be eliminated, but the process will take a long time, so affected farmers are advised to plan well in advance. Andrew Dodds, a partner at Stags, says these conditions are generally found in properties built since the 1960s, although barn conversions are not currently subject.
As with all planning conditions, owners and users of the property are required to comply with them. If a resident does not comply with an ATC, the local authority may serve a notice of execution detailing the steps required to meet the planning condition within a specified period of time. Once this has been served, it applies to the property indefinitely, that is, if the notification is initially followed, but there is a subsequent violation, the notice of enforcement will be reactivated. Non-compliance is a criminal offence and, if convicted, the offender will be punished with an unlimited fine. The main effect of an AOC is the value of the property, which is why our teams are so often involved to ensure that they are removed. While the value of a property subject to an ATC is specific to each case, it is generally valued at 10% to 40% below the market value of the property that is not encumbered by CTA. If the violation of the condition is intentionally concealed from the Council, the provisions of the Localism Act may prevent you from obtaining a certificate of legality and allow the Council to take enforcement action even after the expiry of the ten-year period. It is important that you see the wording of the agricultural tenure conditions. This will have been imposed on the building permit of the apartment. It is important that you ask sales agents for a copy of the wording of the condition and any changes that have been made to it over time.
Not all agricultural tenure is “standard”, and the wording is extremely important. The wording of the AOC can vary, so it is important to study the specific wording of each property. The definition of agriculture is broad and includes vegetable gardens, nurseries and forests, where use is subordinated to agriculture. A person who lives on a property that is subject to a CTA and is not locally employed in agriculture, his widower or a relative, will be injured. Last job – includes both the case of a person who is temporarily unemployed and the case of a person who is no longer able to work due to old age or illness. A person who last worked in agriculture, but then worked primarily in a non-farm job, would not be considered the last female employee in agriculture. The last job refers to the last job after all the others. A condition of occupation controls who can live or occupy the apartment and not who can own it. Anyone can own a property with a condition of occupancy, but only people who meet the condition can legally live there.
The AOCs would have been set up to provide appropriate housing for agricultural workers in the area. However, as time passes and farming methods have changed, it may no longer be necessary to provide housing for farm workers, and so you can request that the condition be lifted. The plots are rarely large and the commitment will have been made as a condition when granting the building permit to build a house on agricultural land. The upside potential for buyers lies in price. The properties in question often sell at a discount: although it is unlikely that there will be a price reduction for an agricultural property with extensive land, there can be reductions of up to 30% for anything less than 100 hectares. “The amount of the reduction depends on the amount of land involved,” said David Cross, director of Savills` Salisbury office. “The smaller the amount of land, the greater the discount.” In the case of existing dwellings, the existence of a condition of agricultural occupation may affect the value of the property to which they are attached. However, the use of such conditions can help to obtain a building permit for the construction of new apartments in the countryside.
Real estate on agricultural land can be very attractive for several reasons: location, the possibility of adding value by modernizing the building, the lack of immediate neighbors, etc., but as this area of law is complex, we recommend that you speak to a lawyer specializing in agricultural real estate before making financial commitments. You are invited to call us at Tallents Solicitors on 01636 813411 to arrange a favorable appointment to discuss your wishes. The condition was placed on the property for a reason, usually because the plot is located in the open countryside, outside a development boundary, where the building permit for an apartment would normally only be allowed to meet the needs of agriculture or forestry. If you live on the property without meeting the condition, the Board may take enforcement action against you to bring you into meeting the condition (i.e., being employed in agriculture or forestry to the level and degree required by the condition) or to leave the property. Frustratingly, however, each local planning authority will formulate and implement its terms a little differently, Dodds says. Please note that the content of this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. In special circumstances, specific legal advice should be sought. Although each case depends on its specific facts, the decision suggests that a condition of agricultural employment on an expensive plot (due to its size or location) has a better chance of being removed.
The objective of Agricultural Tenure (ATC) from a national and local planning perspective is to protect properties in agricultural settings from development and to ensure that agricultural workers are able to obtain affordable housing where they work. An AOC usually requires that: The bond could also be broken if you sell the property and can prove that no further farm work is needed on the farm and that there were no potential buyers agreed with the board within a certain period of time. .