I want to buy a house with agricultural link: I am not a farmer, so it can be raised?
- Farm-related properties tend to be worth 30% less than other homes
- An agricultural tie helps those who need to live close to the land they work
- A planning request can be made to the town hall to remove an agricultural link
I am looking to put in an offer on a property for sale with a farm link.
I’ve been looking for a place for months and this is the first one I’ve found that’s big enough, in the right place, and that I can afford.
Since I don’t work in agriculture, can I have my tie lifted and how would I do it? BC, by email
A farm tie on a property aims to help those who need to live close to the land they work
MailOnline property expert Myra Butterworth answers: Although the tie does place restrictions on living on the property, it is possible for the tie to be removed.
The outcome will largely depend on the council’s own local policies, as some are more restrictive than others.
The specific requirements of a tie will differ, depending on the wording of the legal condition or agreement.
A tie often requires that the house be occupied by someone whose sole or primary job is to run the farm, or other rural business, on which the house sits.
Or it could be a more flexible link, requiring them to work exclusively or mainly in agriculture or forestry in the local area. That person’s dependents may also live in the home.
We spoke to a planning expert about your options going forward if you want to buy the property.
Farm-related properties tend to be worth 30% less than other homes
Martin Gaine, a chartered town planner, explains: An agricultural link is a planning restriction that means that a property can only be occupied by someone employed in agriculture or forestry in the local area.
Why are there such ties? The planning system is very reluctant to grant planning permission for new houses in the countryside: planners prefer that they be built in existing cities and towns so that the countryside can remain open and undeveloped.
However, they also recognize that farmers, forestry workers and others working in rural areas have a particular need to live close to the land they work. The loop allows building homes tailored to that need.
Farm-related properties are typically worth 30 to 40 percent less than other homes. There’s nothing stopping you from buying the house, but you can’t occupy it unless you meet the terms of the bond.
The restriction will also affect your ability to get a mortgage, because lenders pay attention to anything that affects their ability to sell a foreclosed property if the borrower is behind on payments.
Some lenders offer special farm linked mortgages, but probably only to borrowers who are eligible to occupy the home under the linkage.
The council may agree to break a tie if it can be shown that farmworkers are no longer needed.
It is possible to make an urban request to the town hall to eliminate an agrarian link. The success of a request depends on the wording of the tie; some are worded more generally, allowing any ‘farm worker’ to live on the property, for example.
The current circumstances of the site and the tie are also important. The council may agree to remove a tie if it can be shown that it is no longer needed by farmworkers.
Much will depend on the council’s own local policies. Some are more restrictive than others. Some councils will release a tie if a house has been advertised for sale for a period (say 12 months) and the sale does not take place, indicating that there is no longer a need for farm housing and the tie is ruining the property.
If you move into the property without fulfilling the bond, you will be at risk of a foreclosure action. Some councils aren’t very proactive in following up on ties, but a complaint from a neighbor might get their attention.
If the link is imposed through a planning condition and you live there in breach of the link for a continuous period of ten years, the council will no longer be able to take enforcement action.
Ten years is a long time to spend under the threat of coercive action. However, it might be worth checking with the seller of the property you are interested in buying if he has been working the land in accordance with the bond for the last ten years. If not, that’s one way to break the tie.
Martin Gaine is a Chartered Town Planner and author of ‘How to Get Planning Permission: The Secrets of an Insider’.