Agricultural Occupancy Restrictions

Some rural properties are subject to an agricultural occupancy restriction (also known as an agricultural planning restriction or agricultural tie restriction). This type of property is subject to a legal covenant which insists that the inhabitant must be employed in an agricultural occupation. In order to comply with this type of covenant, the occupier must satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • Be employed in horticulture or agriculture, within a 30 mile radius of the property
  • Have retired from horticulture or agriculture, within a 30 mile radius of the property
  • Be using the land at the property intensively to provide their main source of income

Many properties that were built on agricultural land immediately after World War II were subject to this type of agricultural planning restriction. With the reduction in the number of people employed in agriculture since that time, rural property owners in some areas have found it increasingly difficult to find purchasers who fit the occupancy eligibility criteria. Because the market is restricted, these properties can be difficult to sell, so many financial institutions will not offer mortgages on properties subject to agricultural occupancy restrictions; hence the necessity to obtain an agricultural mortgage to fund this type of purchase.

Owners can apply to their local planning authority to have this type of covenant modified or removed. However, with ever increasing concerns about green issues and growing urban sprawl, many councils are unwilling to ease restrictions.

Summary

  • Certain rural properties are subject to agricultural occupancy restrictions
  • Occupants must be employed in or retired from an agricultural or horticultural profession
  • Many mainstream lenders will not offer mortgages on properties that are subject to agricultural occupancy restrictions
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