Buying and selling agricultural property

Buying and selling agricultural property includes aspects common to other types of property, but also commonly includes issues relating to the transfer of basic payment scheme entitlements, rights of way (whether already existing or to be newly created on the sale or purchase of part of a larger holding). It also includes issues regarding the rights for the use of services (particularly water), the effect of covenants (whether already existing or to be created on the sale), rights for a buyer to have early access to plant crops, or for a seller to retain a right to complete harvest after completion.

We can advise on all the above aspects, and other issues encountered when selling and buying agricultural land, working closely with the client’s land agent. The relationship between the land agent and the solicitor is a vital component of a sale or purchase of agricultural property, as is advice from the client’s accountants, especially when dealing with land promotion agreements and options.

Also, where the property is not being sold with vacant possession, we can advise on the effect of the rights which occupiers may have, and what security of tenure may exist for such occupiers.

Specialisms

Our team is experienced in a number of different areas of buying and selling agricultural property, with the below being just a few of the team’s specialisms:

  • The effect of existing rights (‘easements’) affecting the property.
  • The creation of new rights on a sale of part, to benefit the land sold or retained.
  • The creation and enforceability of covenants affecting the property and, in particular, overage covenants (covenants which require a buyer to pay an additional sum to the seller in the event of a future change of use or development of the property).
  • The contractual obligations dealing with the transfer of basic payment scheme entitlements.
  • Land promotion agreements, under which third parties are given rights, and obligations imposed, to obtain planning consent and to receive a share of the proceeds of a future sale for development.

Example cases and matters

We have worked on a number of cases regarding the sale and purchase of agricultural property, including:

  • Sale of agricultural land in lots with cross-rights required for access and water supply.
  • Advising on overage covenants on sales and purchases.
  • Agreements with promoters for land promotion, and subsequent multi-million pound sales following the grant of planning consent.

For more information on buying and selling agricultural property, or if you need some advice, please contact David Thomas or Eve Laws.