26 June, 2019
Agricultural property can be far more specialist than many first appreciate; even the seemingly straightforward transfer of a small field can involve additional considerations such as the transfer of Entitlements (for example Single Farm Payment and the like), any applicable Agri-environmental Agreements (such as Stewardship Agreements) and Sporting Rights.
In respect of Entitlements, these do not automatically transfer with the relevant land upon which they are claimed. This is because they are in effect personal to the particular farmer as opposed to the land in question, therefore it is very important to make sure that if it is intended that they transfer to the Buyer of the land, that this is expressly provided for in the Contract otherwise it can be argued that they have not transferred which could costs the Buyer thousands of pounds to rectify.
Similarly it is important that any Agri-environmental Agreements are transferred and to ensure that any payments due under the same and associated obligations are passed to the Buyer and their agri-business. This is something that can be commonly overlooked as such Agreements are very specific to agricultural land.
Sporting Rights Leases, Water Abstraction Licences and other such agreements can be crucial to the use and enjoyment of agricultural land and it is easy to presume that the rights under such agreements will automatically pass or in some cases it is assumed that things such as Sporting Rights belong to the owner of the land when in fact they are leased to a third party. This means it is very important to carry out full due diligence to ensure that all the rights you believe you are buying along with the land, are indeed included and not subject to any adverse third party rights.
Additionally, raising agricultural specific enquiries can uncover any issues relating to nitrate vulnerable zones, infectious weeds and diseases and other such agricultural specific matters which ordinary commercial/residential enquiries would not necessarily raise.
By its very nature, investment in agricultural land/property is a large commitment for many agri-businesses and therefore obtaining specialist advice can ensure that all the right questions are asked and that any issues can be uncovered and dealt with to make sure that the land/property being bought is what is expected (and therefore hopefully ensuring that the grass is greener on the other side).
Forbes Solicitors offer a specialist agricultural service which is tailored to give specialist advice to agricultural clients to ensure that any issues along with the stress and hassle of buying agricultural land are taken care of.
For more information contact Michael Rutter in our Commercial Property department via email or phone on 0333 207 1147. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.