Agricultural Occupancy Condition

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  • Altern8Altern8 Forumite
    38 Posts
    Hi,

    I just read all 5 pages, all very useful info. I have seen a small bungalow for sale that has less than 1/4 of an acre of land so there is no farming potential there but its next door to a working farm. I don't know how long the house has been on the market but I asked the next house and apparently the man living there died but she didn't say when.

    The house has a AOC attached with it but I havent checked with the council yet, what dept would tell me if it has and how do I ask about lifting it?
    What is usally the reason they will lift the AOC and what type of questions should I be asking?

    The house is priced quite high compared to the next local village 1/2 mile away.

    Both myself and wife don't work in farming in any sort of form.

    what would our chances of buying the house be? what type of snags would we hit if we do want to purchase the house? we would need a mortgage to buy the house but we have a 1/3 of the house price for a deposit.

    Do we need a special type of mortgage to purchase it? Also what type of solicitor is needed?

    Thanks in advance
  • edited 29 August 2010 at 9:47PM
    DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    edited 29 August 2010 at 9:47PM
    Hello Altern8. If you've read the preceding pages carefully, you've probably realised that, realistically, you probably won't be able to buy this bungalow.

    Your local authority planning department will give you their exact policy regarding lifting of Ag-ties, but it is likely to be much the same as others. Usually, a property must be marketed unsuccessfully at a fair price for between 12 & 18 months before the owner can prove there is no local demand from qualifying people, and then, maybe, have the tie removed. As the vendors clearly don't think that they have grounds for removal at this stage, your only hope would be that they don't sell, but if that situation arises and the tie is lifted, there would almost certainly be a significant increase in the asking price.

    There may be a planning officer responsible for the specific area, who's familiar with the property, but this can't be guaranteed. If there is, he/she may be able to give chapter & verse on it, especially if there have been some previous enquiries.

    You don't need a specialist solicitor to buy an Ag-tied house, but I'd recommend using one used to dealing with rural properties. Local EAs can point you in the right direction. Regarding mortgages, there may well be specialist providers, as with insurance on landed property, but I don't know. I'm sure someone will be along shortly who does though.

    Sorry I cannot be more positive here., but good luck in your house search
  • lincroft1710lincroft1710 Forumite
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    Altern8 wrote: »
    The house is priced quite high compared to the next local village 1/2 mile away.

    This could be high to deter any AOC criteria meeting buyers, so vendors can have AOC removed and sell for even more money!
  • edited 31 August 2010 at 6:05PM
    Altern8Altern8 Forumite
    38 Posts
    edited 31 August 2010 at 6:05PM
    Thanks both, I found out the house has been on the market for 12 months almost I didnt get a exact date but apparently very little interest or offers have been made.

    I called the local planning office but they were closed for bank holiday.

    What and how do I go about asking about the planning office about removal of it who should be applying for it? If it has to be the sellers How would I put a offer in and how is it usally done without the sellers upping the price of the house sale if its removed?

    Cheers
  • Richard_WebsterRichard_Webster Forumite
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    Altern8

    If you want a mortgage on an ag-tied property it would be from an agricultural specialist lender and it would want to know all about your proposed farming business (business plan - projected income - details of your farming experience etc). You are not intending to farm so no mortgage. Period.

    If the sellers could have had the ag-tie lifted they would have done so by now. They are probably marketing the property in the hope that nobody comes and makes them an offer - then if they can prove they have marketed it for the requisite period they can get the tie lifted and sell it for more.

    If they find a farmer who will buy it or a person who is prepared to pay cash and pretend to be a farmer and take the risk that the Council won't find out for 10 years, then if they get offered enough it may be worth selling for what they can get, rather than risking trying to get the tie lifted. Also if they do get a cash offer which is reasonable for it as an ag-tied property and they don't take it they have to explain why tot he Council.

    So Altern8, unless you are prepared to buy it cash and deceive the Council for 10 yaers I wouldn't waste any more time on it.
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a retired conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability for it.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    As this is a probate sale, there is also the possibility that a non-qualifying son or daughter wants the bungalow, so is marketing high in the hope of having the tie removed for their own benefit.
  • edited 2 September 2010 at 5:29PM
    Altern8Altern8 Forumite
    38 Posts
    edited 2 September 2010 at 5:29PM
    Thanks again, A bit more info, the house has been on the market for 18 months and they have only had one offer at £70k less than asking.

    They are thinking about taking it to auction with the AOC condition still on the house.

    I spoke to the council and they said that no one has applied for the AOC to be lifted. I can apply at the cost of £200 which can take up to 8 weeks.

    If I apply for the AOC to be lifted would this only apply to myself or is it on the property? What sort of justifaction would help remove the AOC and would it be better coming from a solicitor or planning inspector of sorts? Also would I apply before making an offer and risk missing out on his house?

    Out of intrest If I do manage to get a mortgage for the property, who is it who stops you buying the house? is it the council or someone else? if the AOC was not removed?


    Cheers
  • Richard_WebsterRichard_Webster Forumite
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    If I apply for the AOC to be lifted would this only apply to myself or is it on the property?

    If it was lifted it would normally apply to the property - there would have to be some pretty amazing extenuating circumstances for a Council to lift it just for an individual!
    What sort of justifaction would help remove the AOC and would it be better coming from a solicitor or planning inspector of sorts? Also would I apply before making an offer and risk missing out on his house?

    You have to show there is no demand for an ag-tied dwelling in the location and you have to prove that it has been continuously marketed as an ag-tied property for whatever period the Council require (at least a year) with no interest. So in practice you are not going to be able to get a permission - as I have already said - forget it!
    Out of intrest If I do manage to get a mortgage for the property, who is it who stops you buying the house? is it the council or someone else? if the AOC was not removed?

    If you tell the lender it is ag-tied then I doubt they will even consider it. If you don't tell them their surveyor will probably find out. If he doesn't find out then when your solicitor gets the mortgage offer he will have to write to the lender telling them there is an ag-tie (otherwise they will sue him for professional negligence later) and they will withdraw the offer. As I said, forget it, if you need a mortgage.
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a retired conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability for it.
  • Hello all,
    can anyone tell me if you can sell a house after death before you have a probate licence, or gone through probate?
    My grandfather past away and had a will, the executors have put the house up and excepted an offer, but i'm not sure they can as they are still going through probate??
  • Altern8 wrote: »
    Thanks again, A bit more info, the house has been on the market for 18 months and they have only had one offer at £70k less than asking.
    Just to add my opinion to these questions - dwellings with AOCs attached to them are normally worth around 30% less than an equivalent unrestricted dwelling would be. The fact that the only offer was £70K below the asking price does suggest that the property is being marketed at an over-inflated price, in order to try and get the AOC lifted, or that someone was just chancing their luck with a silly offer!
    Altern8 wrote: »
    I spoke to the council and they said that no one has applied for the AOC to be lifted. I can apply at the cost of £200 which can take up to 8 weeks.
    You're being ripped off by £30 there - the national fee to apply to remove a condition is £170! Correct about the 8 weeks though (and sometimes longer).
    Altern8 wrote: »
    If I apply for the AOC to be lifted would this only apply to myself or is it on the property? What sort of justifaction would help remove the AOC and would it be better coming from a solicitor or planning inspector of sorts? Also would I apply before making an offer and risk missing out on his house?
    As Richard says above, you have no chance of getting this lifted. You need to have thoroughly marketed the property (in my District, for 2 years), and you have to submit a detailed marketing report - copies of all the adverts in specialist farmers journals, website listings, who the details were mailed to (names, addresses etc), how many people requested further details, how many viewings were conducted, why no offers were received, why people did not place offers, or if offers were received - why they were not accepted. Do not underestimate the amount of information you would need - it would take around 2 years to compile, and it is extremely difficult to get an AOC lifted, as the dwelling would never have been granted planning permission in the first place without the AOC, so the Council are not going to lift the restriction easily!
    Altern8 wrote: »
    Out of intrest If I do manage to get a mortgage for the property, who is it who stops you buying the house? is it the council or someone else? if the AOC was not removed?
    If you were to buy the house and move in, if you don't comply with the AOC, then the Council can serve you with a Breach of Condition Notice if they find out. Fines can be £1000 per day and there is no right of appeal - so you would need to vacate the house pretty sharpish!
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