If you are part of the rural economy, want to buy or sell a rural property or are a land owner, you will have your own individual mix of legal requirements – from conveyancing to tenancies, trusts to sporting rights. We are here to take the load, resolve the issues, so you can get on with life. The areas we can help with include: –
- Buying or selling rural property and land
- Farm Business Tenancies creation and advice
- First Registration of Unregistered Land
- Grazing Licences
- Fishing Licences
- Business structures including partnerships and companies
- Tenancies and Leases for Commercial Units
- Tax and trust advice, IHT and succession planning
- Telecom and ECC Leases
- Boundary Disputes and Adverse Possession issues
- Removal of Trespassers
- Public and Private Rights of Way
- Residential Tenancies
- Employment Matters
- Financing and mortgages
- Overage and option agreements
Why choose Coole Bevis LLP to carry out my rural and countryside affairs legal work?
Our team provides comprehensive, practical and commercial advice to landowners, homeowners, rural businesses, tenants, estates, and others with interest in land and the wider rural community. Whether it is the sale or purchase of estates, country homes & houses, estate planning, or the related needs of your family or business. With you we will roll up our sleeves and get on with the job in hand, always working swiftly, diligently and practically towards the best outcome for you.
Our team can help you with:
Rural Homes, Land and Property – Sales and Purchases
When it comes to selling or buying rural homes, land and property it is really important that the agents and your conveyancing solicitor work closely together. We can help you from the outset, discuss preliminary issues with you and your land agent, guide you through the whole conveyancing process, handling Stamp Duty Land Tax and all post completion requirements including registration.
Looking to sell or buy a residential property? Make any enquiry with our specialist team today.
Farm Business Tenancies creation and advice
A farm business tenancy allows a rural landlord and tenant, either an individual or business, to negotiate the rental of all or part of a farm for trade or business, the parties can agree their own rent levels, decide when to have rent reviews and are governed by the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995.
If you are looking for solicitors who make the process smooth, efficient and as informative as possible, give us a call and have an initial chat with one of our specialist solicitors who will be more than happy to assist.
First Registration of Unregistered Titles
The landed estate and rural property you own may have been in your family for many generations and, if it hasn’t changed hands or been mortgaged since 1990, your property may not be registered at HM Land Registry.
Voluntary registration also has a number of advantages, in that it:
- helps put your landed estate in good order for the benefit of future generations;
- provides an opportunity for any anomalies that might need to be sorted out with the title that would have remained undiscovered without the title investigation;
- saves time and reduces costs on subsequent dealings with the property;
- offers a title guaranteed by the Land Registry and a plan of the extent of ownership is created so you know what you own;
- provides better protection against claims of adverse possession or ‘squatters’ rights’;
- reduces the amount of paperwork that needs to be retained;
- Land Registry registration fees are significantly lower; and
- reduces the risk of deeds being lost as they are obtainable in electronic form from the Land Registry.
Another benefit of registering your land or property is to protect it from fraud. You can track changes to the register and put restrictions on your title through the Land Registry. All of these steps can help stop fraudsters illegally selling or mortgaging your property.
Grazing licences allow a rural landowner the right to temporarily place their animals on a piece of land for the purposes of grazing without offering the same rights as a full agricultural tenancy. A grazing licence can provide a very useful way to provide short-term revenue from a piece of land while ensuring you can easily take back possession when the licence period is over.
Fishing leases allow a landowner to grant fishing rights to individuals or clubs for a fixed term in exchange for an annual licence fee. The licence normally gives the holder other rights, such as to drive over and park on the landowner’s property. A fishing licence can also specify that fishing is allowed only on certain days and between fixed hours.
Business Structures (including partnerships and companies)
Rural businesses require advice within the areas of employment law and property law, as well as those normally associated with commerce. Many rural businesses are family concerns established over a number of generations and can have the complications of wider family involvement. These can require particular business structures and succession considerations for the longer term.
The common factor across all is that the structure and the legal framework which supports it must fit the business you are running and the future plans for that business. We can advise you regarding the whole range of structures and work closely with your other professional advisers, (i.e. your accountant and land agents).
We believe our strength lies in providing advice which will be timely, relevant and delivered with an understanding of commercial realities, whatever the structure of your business.
Tenancies and Leases for Commercial Units
At Coole Bevis LLP we are committed to providing in depth advice and assistance with all landlord and tenant matters. Our experience includes granting leases (both on behalf of the landlord and tenant), assignments of existing leases, underletting of commercial units, licences for alterations to the property etc.. Our experts go above and beyond to ensure that you are advised thoroughly throughout the transaction, from initial queries when negotiating heads of terms all the way through to post completion matters relating to Stamp Duty and HM Land Registry requirements. We have a great deal of experience in negotiating and agreeing leases for various properties as may suit your individual or business needs. If you are looking for solicitors who make the conveyancing process smooth, efficient and as informative as possible, give us a call and have an initial chat with one of our specialist solicitors who will be more than happy to assist.
Succession planning for families (including Inheritance Tax advice)
We understand that your rural property or business is something you have worked hard to build and maintain, for you and your family. When the time comes for you to take a step back, you need to ensure that your business can continue to grow and that your legacy is secure. Our private client team offers a wide range of expertise to our rural and business clients including:
Telecom & ECC Leases
We understand that owners of rural land will be thinking about diversification, and a mobile phone mast or other telecoms equipment on your land could be an option.
If you are already leasing your land to a telecoms operator, it is likely to be under the old code. The new Electronic Communications Code (“ECC”) came into force on 28 December 2017 and it was promised to change the dynamics of the relationship between landowners and the providers of electronic communications services (operators). The aim of the ECC was to provide operators with greater flexibility and increased rights to install apparatus in, over, and under land (“the Code Rights”) and was introduced due to the growth in the mobile phone industry and demand for network expansion.
The changes the ECC introduced included the ability for operators to share the site with another operator, assign their lease, or upgrade the equipment all without the landowner’s consent. The ECC also changed the valuation basis of telecoms sites – moving from a valuation assessed on an open market basis to a ‘no scheme’ basis. The ‘no scheme basis’ review disregards the existence of the telecoms leases and the associated Code Rights within its calculation. Instead, the site is valued on its worth to the landowner only, rather than the value to the operator, which in practice could present a substantial financial difference in the rent recoverable by landowners and prove highly beneficial to operators.
When it comes to terminating an agreement you require an order of the Lands Tribunal before you can oblige the operator to remove their communications equipment from your property.
We act exclusively for landowners, and not operators, and our experienced commercial property team are able to provide advice on all aspects of property-related issues, working closely with other specialist surveyors to provide a complete service.
Adverse possession requires factual possession of land, with the necessary intention to possess and without the owner’s consent.
The period of adverse possession and occupation required to establish adverse possession differs depending on whether the land is registered or not. For unregistered land it is 12 years and for registered land it is 10-years or a 12-year period ending before the Land Registration Act 2002 came into force.
We can assist with making adverse possession applications to the Land Registry or in resisting such applications by a squatter.
Boundary disputes and issues
Boundary disputes can be one of the most time-consuming and emotionally fraught experiences that landowners may deal with. Were you to end up in court they are often expensive – so finding an amicable solution is recommended.
Firstly, it is important to understand that the boundary line, as appearing on the Land Registry’s title, is often not compelling evidence of where the real boundary is located. A physical boundary and a legal boundary can be different things.
Surprisingly, a Land Registry plan is only a ‘general boundary’ and does not reflect the exact border between two areas of land. To establish where the actual boundary is, you must consider a range of facts contained in your title deeds as well as those of your neighbour.
Where matters cannot be agreed, evidence must be supplemented from other sources. This includes physical features on the subject area, historic maps, adjoining property deeds, intentions of the parties, etc..
Of course, the most inexpensive way of resolving a dispute is talking to your neighbour direct to reach an amicable agreement on the location of the boundary. If you can come to an agreement you can formally register it with the Land Registry.
If it is not possible to reach an agreed settlement, there are several methods of boundary dispute settlement you could pursue before the matter escalates to court. These include:
- expert witness determination;
- arbitration; and
- (ultimately) the civil courts.
For advice on resolving a boundary dispute, or any other rural land and property issues, please do not hesitate to contact our dispute resolution team.
Removal of Trespassers
Squatting of a residential property is a criminal offence however, trespass on land is not. It is only possible for the police to use section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to support eviction if there is serious criminality taking place or, if there is public disorder. Invariably, in most cases it is the civil courts which are used to evict trespassers.
When all is considered it makes absolute sense that landowners should have a crisis plan for any illegal occupation of land and, ideally, this should include:
- a systematic procedure ready to take emergency steps to recover the land to save considerable costs and time; and
- details of the appropriate agencies to contact (e.g. police, local authorities) if enforcement is required.
Even before this and to save costs, the landowner should have a preventative plan, which would include:
- ascertaining the risks from occupation and movement from any local Gypsy or Traveller encampments;
- checking and recording the security installed on the land to prevent forced entry; and
- monitoring the land in question on a daily basis.
The costs of security could prove considerably less than the unrecovered legal costs from unknown occupiers.
The most important point to remember is that a private landowner must always obtain an order for possession through the civil courts to remove those unauthorised occupiers of land unless there is criminal activity. But most of all be prepared and have a plan and always know your opponent if possible.
If you would like to discuss any of the above matters please do not hesitate to contact our dispute resolution team.
Public and Private Rights of Way
The existence, or even the alleged existence, of public rights of way, or private easements, over private land can be a source of much controversy. Strong feelings can be engendered from the recording of routes on the Definitive Maps during the 1950’s and subsequently. The impact of maintenance and enforcement work carried out by highway authorities, and others, can also create difficulties for landowners and managers who, while sensitive to the need to provide access, also face the pressures of running a business in the countryside.
Legislation provides for the public rights of way network to evolve to meet changing needs. Yet achieving a change, whether for agricultural, development or other land management reasons, can be a time-consuming and complicated process.
Also, many properties, particularly in rural areas, may not have legal rights of access with vehicles.
We provide advice to landowners and homeowners to resolve disputes and where appropriate negotiate the terms of payment for rights of access with vehicles. We can advise you on court proceedings, and where appropriate, on applications for injunctions.
We understand that for landowners, your property is your business. We are able to offer a range of services to assist you in the management of your property, to ensure that your investment is protected. Services we offer include:
- advice on Assured Shorthold Tenancies and rent deposits;
- preparation and service of statutory notices;
- assistance with possession proceedings (drafting the papers through to instruction of bailiffs if necessary);
- recovery of rent arrears
- resolution of repair issues/disputes
Employment law, which encompasses all the legal rights and liabilities that may arise within the workplace, applies to rural business like any other. This can be anything from contracts of employment through to dismissal, discrimination and equal pay. It extends beyond employer and employee as can also cover the self-employed, contractors and other categories of workers. The handling of employment law and staffing can be very time consuming, as well as expensive if you get it wrong, hence why it is so important to seek help from an expert.
If you would like to discuss any of the above matters please do not hesitate to contact our employment specialist.
Like it, or not, disputes are a fact of life and we are well aware that, in the rural sphere, the parties may be neighbours or family members. So matters have to be dealt with in a way that not only achieves the best possible outcome for our clients but is also mindful of the parties’ relationships and the long lasting effects that such actions can have.
Whilst our primary aim is to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible without having to resort to the court or tribunal, we appreciate that at times, litigation is inevitable. We thoroughly explore the options available to our clients to formulate a plan of what action will be taken in your particular case and spend time explaining what is involved and exploring possible alternative methods of dispute resolution if appropriate. If court, tribunal or Land Registry Adjudication action is the right option, then you can rest assured that you will be guided through it every step of the way and we will apply our expertise to get you the best possible result.
If you would like to discuss any issue you might have please do not hesitate to contact our dispute resolution team.
Our team of solicitors are able to provide you with substantial and professional advice regarding commercial property development transactions. We have experience in acting for developers and buyers of all shapes and sizes. We are able to assist with conditional contracts, including those subject to planning permissions, site acquisitions, and can advise throughout all stages of the development process. We will work within your objectives and timescales in order to achieve the desired outcome. If this is area in which we can help you, please give us a call and we can discuss this further.
We are experts when it comes to creating all types of trusts, from discretionary trust to life interest trust, as well as a variety of other forms.
Owning and managing a landed estate, whether the property has been in your family for many generations or acquired more recently, presents a wide variety of legal and commercial issues that we can help you with.
The modern landed estate now often involves far more than simply owning rural property. It may be run as a highly commercial business with activities ranging from farming, property letting and development, sporting and commercial interests to agricultural holdings, tenancy structures, farm contract and share farming agreements, and diversification. We have the skills to advise on all these matters.
Looking after these issues requires a specialist team of landed estate lawyers, and our company & commercial, commercial property, and private client teams are here to provide advice to landowners, trustees (including Settled Land Act trustees) and their professional advisers.
Landed estates often own heritage assets of artistic or historical importance. These may be buildings, works of art or collections of furniture or porcelain.
We advise on taxation, ownership and succession issues, and on maintenance funds, to help preserve heritage property for future generations.
Many landed estate owners face difficult tax and succession issues. We can help you minimise the payment of capital taxes and advise on long-term strategic estate planning to ensure the transfer of assets to the next generation.
RURAL PROPERTY AND COUNTRYSIDE MATTERS TEAM
Your conveyancing solicitor will ensure that any old mortgage is removed and the new one registered correctly at Land Registry for them.
Please see our section on conveyancing searches which contains information the types of searches that are typically carried out in a residential purchase.
- How long the chain is that you are involved in. A chain is the number of transactions that are linked together.
- The requirements of other parties in the chain and whether they are willing to move quickly with the transaction.
- If the property is a new build or shared ownership, this will involve more conveyancing work and take a little longer.
We are happy to work to your timescale and always do our best to make the conveyancing process is as convenient as possible for you.
A property is one of the most expensive assets you are likely to purchase. It is vital that you receive expert legal advice to make sure you are buying a property free of any problems that might prevent you selling in the future.
Your solicitor will deal with the completion of your purchase and the registration of your ownership at the Land Registry to ensure your ownership is properly recorded.
If you are buying with a mortgage loan, your lender will require your solicitor to also act for them.
Your conveyancing solicitor will answer enquiries received on your behalf and make sure that these are answered in the correct way. Responses to these enquiries should be worded in a way that looks after you interests. Once these enquiries have been answered, they will deal with exchange of contracts and completion of your sale.
If a mortgage loan is involved, you will need a lawyer.
Do you need Independent Financial Advice?
We have partnered with tax and independent financial advisers MHA Carpenter Box to create Coole Bevis Wealth Management. This joint venture offers an integrated legal and financial service, no matter where you are in your financial journey. If you are a client of the firm, you can take advantage of one hour’s free consultation for any financial issues including:
- Investment Planning
- Family Protection (including life cover for mortgage debt and income protection for repayments)
For more information and additional services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 534587. Click here to visit the Coole Bevis Wealth Management website.
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