High-value country property transactions have enjoyed a boom over the past few months, leading to an increasing trend towards the use of Exclusivity Agreements, also known as ‘lock-out agreements’. An Exclusivity Agreement is normally a tool used by a buyer to provide them with an exclusive opportunity to do due diligence on a property, and […]
In an earlier edition of Rural News, we considered the proposals put forward in the Defra Consultation Paper on Agricultural tenancies. The most controversial of these proposals were: for AHA tenancies to be assignable by a Tenant at a premium where no eligible successor remained; the extension of the category of eligible relatives to include […]
The pandemic has led to greater appreciation of the countryside and of shopping locally, which is good news for the agricultural sector. Agriculture has long been seen as a secure investment, but now with so many companies encouraging home-working, we’re seeing a bubble of buyers deciding to relocate to rural life on a farm. If […]
As family lawyers, we work closely with colleagues in other teams to provide expertise to our clients going through relationship or marital break-up. This work could relate to company affairs, or ensuring our separating clients have their Wills and estate planning in order. Such matters often involve our property team. In most relationship breakdowns there’s […]
The Moss family has farmed Manor Farm for 150 years and is a highly respected local family. They’re just about to start the process of ensuring the farm and business move smoothly from one generation to another. They might wish to avoid the fate of a neighbouring farm, which is now on the market following […]
As I write this from my home office in the New Forest, I’m looking out on a picture-perfect postcard of autumn, with ponies grazing and squirrels gathering nuts in the oaks surrounding my home. Through the pandemic, the housing market has seen an exodus of people moving out of the cities, looking for their very […]
In his Summer Statement the Chancellor announced a temporary reduction in residential stamp duty land tax (SDLT) rates in England and Northern Ireland. The reduction applies to contracts exchanged between 8 July 2020 and 11.59pm, 31 March 2021. It means that the nil-band rate (below which no SDLT is payable) is increased from £125,000 to […]
If a visitor on your land or premises falls or injures themselves, what occupiers’ liability might you have? There are two acts you need to be aware of, Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and Occupiers Liability Act 1984 (“the Acts”). These Acts impose a duty of care on occupiers to both lawful visitors and trespassers respectively. […]
At the time of writing this article (the end of February), the Agriculture Bill is wending its way through the parliamentary process and is expected to receive Royal Assent in June or July 2020. There are few surprises in the Bill which constitutes enabling legislation and which will be followed, in due course, by the […]
Lifetime valuations can be a useful strategic tool for landowners. A forthcoming succession, pre-death tax planning when creating a Will, the anticipated sale or development of land, changes in tax reliefs and when considering using land for secured borrowing are all potential triggers for requiring a lifetime valuation. In the context of succession, a valuation […]
It is generally accepted that the health and social care sector is facing some of its greatest challenges to date. People are living longer; there has been an increase in the number of people suffering from diseases such as dementia; and there is a general lack of funding for community services. The impact on society […]
On 19 February, the government published the first details about its proposed new Immigration system planned to be operational on 1 January 2021. The government’s new system is designed to attract “highly skilled workers”, rather than the low skilled workers. Under the new system, employers will have to hold a ‘sponsor licence’ to employ all […]
Following concerns over a lack of migrant labour as a consequence of Brexit, the government is significantly expanding its Seasonal Workers Pilot, which was first announced in 2018, in order to boost the UK horticulture sector for the 2020 harvest. The scheme, which permits agricultural businesses to take on seasonal migrant workers from outside the […]
Buying a house is often one of the largest investments that we make, making it one of life’s most significant decisions. Given the importance of buying the right property, the process is regularly fraught with stress and pressure, and often over a period of months. It is, however, possible to limit the length of time […]
Dealing with a divorce is stressful enough but when farmers divorce there are usually additional considerations. It is not uncommon for both spouses to work on the farm, for their matrimonial home to be on the farm, for wider family members to work or live on the farm and for long working hours to be […]
Technology has always played a vital role in the agricultural sector and it should be no surprise that Smart Farming is due to increase significantly in the coming years given the needs of a rapidly growing global population, the requirement for increased yields and global warming threats. What is smart farming? A group of technologies […]
The whole idea of getting up at 6am on a dark winter’s morning to ride out in the pouring rain can seem quite baffling to non-horsey people but this is a normal way of life for many. Your horse is a much beloved member of the family, perhaps more loved then some relatives, and whilst […]
If you are in the process of considering disposing of residential property on or after 6 April 2020 new rules introduced by HMRC mean that if any gain is made you are under a duty to report and pay the Capital Gains Tax within 30 days of the disposal. The disposal is the date the […]
The UK government has now issued guidance to those buying or selling their home during the Covid-19 lockdown. This update clarifies what you can do now – whether you are considering buying or selling, already have an offer accepted or have already exchanged contracts and are waiting to complete your transaction. The key message, that we are […]
There is now less than a month before we hear what Rishi Sunak disclosures in his first budget. Here are some of the predictions on what he might say which will affect farmers and landowners: Personal Tax: For farm and estate employees, the level at which they start to pay National Insurance rises to £9,500 […]
The Government has issued a Consultation Paper entitled “A New Deal for Renting”, seeking views on how to implement its decision to abolish Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and to improve the implementation of Section 8, grounds for repossession. It concentrates specifically on the circumstances in which landlords should be able to regain […]
On 25 June 2019 HMRC issued updated guidance on the meaning of ‘garden and grounds’ for the purposes of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). In considering whether or not a mixed-use rate of SDLT can apply to the purchase of a country house, questions are commonly raised by HMRC on the extent of land at […]
There are many ways of putting redundant agricultural buildings back into use. Diversification can help stabilise the farm across the calendar year and boost income. At Moore Blatch we regularly advise clients on diversification, which can range from barn-to-office conversions for activity farms, to more ambitious schemes such as holiday parks.
Our insolvency & restructuring team sits within our Rural Sector team, working to warn farmers and encourage them to seek advice on potential cash-flow issues relating to the change in their grants and subsidies before restructuring or changing their businesses.
The New Forest National Park has adopted a new ‘Local Plan’ containing stronger policies to help safeguard the Forest’s landscape and natural beauty, yet incorporating policies to meet the needs of local people.
For anyone requiring long-term care the impact on family can be devastating, but for farmers it can affect their business as well as their home life – and often the two are intertwined. The financial implications of a farmer unable to work the land, or a family carer having to run the farming business at […]
Moore Blatch has recently responded to the Defra Consultation paper on proposed reform of agricultural tenancy legislation, based on our wide experience of tenanted agricultural land, acting both for landlords and tenants.
Hook and another v. Hawkins  UKUT 147 (LC)
A casual worker is entitled to paid holiday, and their entitlement pay is calculated pro rata by reference to the hours they work. The law on this calculation has developed and recently become complex. If a casual worker believes they have not been paid correctly for their holiday entitlement, they may bring a claim in […]
The New Forest National Park and Commoner’s Defence Association have launched the #grazingisgood campaign, which recognises the benefit commoning brings to the New Forest.
Professionals have insurance to protect them when accidents happen. If your local vet reversed their car into you, or you reversed your car into them, neither of you would feel embarrassed about shaking hands and passing over the respective insurance documents.
The recent case of Banner Homes Limited v St Albans City and District Council illustrates how the Asset of Community Value scheme can cause problems to development. In this particular case, a field was listed as an Asset of Community Value (“ACV”) – despite its use by the local community having been unlawful.
When you purchase property in the UK you will normally be subject to paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) on the purchase. Generally, your SDLT is payable 14 days following completion of the purchase.
At Moore Blatch, we regularly act for purchasers who are based in London and other urban centres who are looking to purchase rural homes and escape to the country. They may be relocating or looking to purchase a second property as an investment or lifestyle proposition.
We are regularly being asked to report on the status of agricultural tenants who occupy land required for development by the landowner, whether access can be obtained by a promoter and buyer for site surveys and investigations; and for providing a strategy for delivering vacant possession of the land in question.
Problems and confusion can often arise where someone is occupying an area of land without any written basis for doing so. Subject to the facts surrounding their taking up occupation of the land in question, many people immediately assume that the person in occupation is trespassing. This is not always the case.
The case of Jones v Oven  EWCA Civ 1895;  8 WLUK 105 looked at the effect of restrictive covenants on a transfer of land. The Claimant and the Defendant are neighbours and the case concerned a four metre strip of land (the “Strip”). This case is of note as it demonstrates that “retained […]
Farming succession is absolutely imperative to the success of individual farmers, but it is also integral to the overall agricultural picture in the UK. Factors such as falling revenue across the rural sector, increased competition from foreign competitors and the evolving nature of the ‘modern farmer’ all contribute to the importance of planning correctly for […]
Last week the government announced a new nationwide pilot scheme for seasonal agricultural workers from outside EEA countries to come and work in the UK. The scheme is aimed at alleviating the chronic shortage of workers in the farming industry following Brexit. Workers will be allowed to stay for up to 6 months before returning […]
We all work in the rural sector so the basics of AHA tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (AHA) should be familiar territory.
Rural and agricultural properties and Estates often have boundaries that are not clearly demarcated by physical boundary structures.
The New Forest was designated a national park in 2005 and is one of the most visited National Parks in the UK.
A Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can prove essential in helping to protect a farm should the farmer become unable to take an active role in its day to day activities, through old age, accident or mental/physical illness.
Evercreech Park Farms Ltd was recently fined £16,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of just under £3,500 for a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Following the case of Mirvahedy v Henley in 2003, it is well known that if an animal causes damage to a property, the animal’s owner may be strictly liable for damages under the Animals Act 1971.
The issue of immigration has featured prominently in the Brexit debate. Following the decision to leave in June 2016, the UK Government announced it would establish new arrangements for controlling immigration. However, 18 months on and still no concrete plans have been announced.
The case of Sargeant v Sargeant 2018 EWHC 8 Ch focuses on the case of a farmer’s widow, Jane Sargeant, who tried to make a time-barred claim for reasonable provision from her late husband’s estate over a decade.
Exploring rural property issues and developments in the New Forest, Kerry’s Commoner’s Corner, is a new feature for rural news.
Many common law tenancies contain a little known or understood loophole that can cause a huge headache for Estate and landowning clients. Having personally come across this issue twice in the last year alone, below I have outlined what you need to know.
A recent decision in the High Court, Fuller v Kitzing and another  EWHC 810 (Ch), will be of interest to our readers regarding the interpretation of shooting rights especially when they are reserved to third parties.
We all know farmers don’t like selling land to release capital. Re-financing is often the better option to raise cash to invest in your farming business. Whether it is to buy more land or convert redundant buildings, allowing a bank to take a charge over your assets is an obvious choice to release funds.
From oil paintings to period dramas to the Shooting Times, the shooting season is the inspiration for many quintessentially British countryside scenes. It is also a lucrative earner for landowners who licence their land for game bird shoots, game shooting and clay shoots.
Moving house is a tortuous process in every way, usually not helped by the legal process which can drag on for several months without any explanation whatsoever. It may therefore come as a surprise that it’s possible to conduct the entire process during the course of a day, without compromising either the buyer or seller’s […]
As Winston Churchill said; “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man” – something that many readers no doubt happily agree with. Over and above the pleasure of riding, owning and maintaining a horse takes time. So, it’s not surprising that with life as busy as it is, many take […]
The 27th April 2017 brought the Digital Economy Act, a refreshed version of the previous Digital Economy Act of 2010. As well as updating sentencing for criminal copyright infringement, the most interesting aspect is the so called “New Code”, which replaces the existing electronic communications code found in both the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the […]
At sunset, viewers are treated to the viewing of classic film favourites. I watched Notting Hill, but other films such as Jaws and Dirty Dancing are upcoming. It is all about the outdoor experience: picnicking outside in a beautiful part of the countryside, poshcorn, beetle cars, bbq’ing local meat and a great film.
When you are marvelling in the peace and tranquillity of having bought a home in the countryside, you are unlikely to find yourself in your new garden, enjoying the spring blossoms whilst considering the subject of sewage. Although a dirty word, come 2020, ‘sewage’ will be at the forefront of the minds of most sellers […]