Expertise lifts agricultural tie and assists sale
A FORMER racing stables and associated land that had languished on the market with two separate rural agents finally found a buyer thanks to the persistence and expertise of Greenslade Taylor Hunt.
The property on the Quantock Hills was subject to an agricultural occupancy condition on the planning permission, and as such had foundered on the open market.
It had much to recommend it – a well presented three bedroom detached bungalow, a traditional barn with stables, a riding arena and holding paddock – but the agricultural occupancy restriction was a stumbling block.
Many buyers are put off by the condition particularly if the property comes with a relatively small piece of land, thus making the use for agricultural purposes less viable. If they have no tie to agriculture then potential buyers are also deterred from the purchase. It thus reduces the pool of potential buyers and as a consequence has a downward effect on the likely sale price.
Martyn Venner, Associate with Greenslade Taylor Hunt, said: “When discussing the matter with the vendor he was under the impression that he was complying with the condition as he understood it allowed equestrian use. After looking into the matter further the condition did not relate to equestrian enterprises in any shape or form and simply referred to agriculture, horticulture or forestry. Immediately alarm bells began to ring and it was then I consulted the expertise of Andrew Preston in our Development and Planning Department to take the matter forward.”
Mr Venner decided to investigate the planning history– something that neither of the two previous estate agents had considered despite the fact the property had been marketed with them for a considerable period of time.
His efforts paid off. He found that although the property was subject to an agricultural occupancy condition the vendor had not complied with that condition continually for a period in excess of 10 years.
This proved decisive. If you can prove that the condition had not been complied with continually for a period of 10 years or more you can apply to the local authority for a ‘certificate of lawfulness’, which if granted, allows you to lawfully live at the property, and you are also able to sell it on the open market unencumbered, thus releasing full market value. The certificate of lawfulness does not remove the planning condition, but remains effective for as long as the breach of the condition continues.
Mr Venner consulted Andrew Preston, Associate with Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s Development and Planning Department, and an expert in the area of agricultural occupancy conditions and planning. Andrew succeeded in compiling sufficient evidence to demonstrate to Sedgemoor District Council that a certificate of lawfulness should be issued in respect of the Quantock property.
With the tie unenforceable by the council it became a much more appealing prospect for buyers and the vendor was able to achieve a higher selling price.
Mr Venner soon found a buyer and a deal was struck.
Expertise is key in this area. For help in achieving a sale with what might appear a difficult to shift property please contact Martyn at the Bridgwater office of Greenslade Taylor Hunt, 31-33 High Street, Bridgwater, or phone (01278) 446220.