Are you are buying or selling a farm in North Devon?
Our agricultural conveyancing lawyers specialise in buying and selling farms, farmland and agricultural buildings in North Devon and beyond.
When buying or selling agricultural land or buildings it is important to use the services of specialist rural property solicitors.
This is because agricultural conveyancing isn’t like residential conveyancing. It involves a range of specific legal issues which can easily trip up inexperienced lawyers who are not familiar with agricultural property law or the local area.
For instance when buying a farm, your solicitor will need to consider whether there are any employees who need to be transferred and ensure that the contract is framed in the most tax advantageous way. Is there an agricultural mortgage involved? Are you purchasing as an individual or through a company?
When buying agricultural land you may be acquiring entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme or other government grant schemes such as the various Countryside Stewardship Schemes or the Woodland Grant Schemes. These normally include obligations on the land owner, even if they weren’t the original party to the agreement. It is therefore crucial that sound legal advise is obtained from solicitors who are familiar with the technical details of these schemes.
Most farm sales and purchases are arranged through a land agent and we have excellent contacts with all the leading land agents in North Devon. We are also experienced in buying and selling farms at auction or through formal tender.
There is still much agricultural land in North Devon that is unregistered and this can raise particular problems for the unwary, such as the risk of acquiring land that is the subject of an ownership or boundary dispute.
When working for a purchaser we carry out thorough searches and enquiries to establish the true nature of the legal title being offered. This involves consideration of the planning position, the existence of rights of way, agricultural tenancies, sporting rights, restrictive covenants and environmental issues. Where required we are happy to ‘walk the land’ to get a real feel for the farm and farmland being acquired and the precise location of its boundaries.
We can also advise on important issues such as overage and options. Overage arises where there is development potential and the seller wants to ensure they receive a percentage of any increase in the value of the farmland after it is sold. These provisions need to be carefully worded to ensure that the parties to the transaction are quite clear about the circumstances giving rise to a future payment and how that payment is calculated.
Option agreements, or options to purchase, can be entered into with prospective purchasers, giving them the right to buy the land at some future point. The right of first refusal can also be granted in a pre-emption agreement.
This is just a brief summary of the legal issues that need to be specifically considered when dealing with the sale or purchase of a farm, farmland or agricultural buildings. And with the UK’s exit from the EU now underway it has never been more important to seek the services of genuine local rural property experts. So if you are buying or selling a farm in North Devon or elsewhere and are looking for experienced solicitors who are experts in agricultural conveyancing then give us a call on 0333 888 0404 to discuss your requirements.