Farming businesses have typically been passed down through generations for very many years and selling a farm can be a difficult situation. Of course, you will want the sale to be as stress-free and smooth as possible. To achieve this, you should engage the services of a specialist agricultural law solicitor who understands and appreciates what is involved in your farming business and knows how to approach specific issues affecting the sale.
Warners Solicitors, explain how its Estates and Agricultural Property Team has the in-depth knowledge and experience to ensure the sale of your farm goes to plan.
Before and after you agree to a sale
Whether you are selling a small paddock or a large working farm we can start advising you how to prepare even before a sale is agreed. We can assist in the initial negotiations undertaken when selling a farm to a prospective purchaser so that you can have informed discussions with your land or farm agent. This will help you secure the best deal for your farm.
The earlier we are instructed the smoother you can expect the process to be. We can begin the work involved in preparing answers to Standard Form Agricultural Enquiries and investigate your title documents to tackle any issues prior to agreeing the sale, which will reduce the number of enquiries your prospective buyer’s solicitor will need to raise. We will get to know the farm and your particular requirements, putting us a step ahead when it comes to dealing with any obstacles encountered during the course of the transaction.
Once the sale is agreed, we will explain the conveyancing process to you so that you fully understand the nature of the enquiries that your buyer’s solicitors may raise, and how long the process could take. We will respond to these enquiries with your assistance. These are likely to relate to issues such as easements and rights of way, title defects, boundary issues, planning permission and change of use and existing leases or tenancies relating to the land.
Importantly, our in-depth specialist agricultural and farming knowledge means we can respond promptly to any agricultural enquiries raised.
Different methods of sale
It is important to consider the different methods of selling a farm. If, for example, you are selling the entire farm along with Basic Payment Scheme Entitlements, a specific type of contract is necessary to take into account your obligations with third-party organisations such as Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency.
You may be intending to retain part of the farmland on the sale – or even splitting it into lots. We can assist with important issues including reserving appropriate rights of way and services and any further rights and obligations in relation to the land being sold off. Importantly, we may advise the inclusion of clawback or overage provisions meaning you will receive a fair share in any increase in land value if it is developed after the sale.
The specialist lawyers at Warners Solicitors will take into account your specific circumstances and tailor our advice so that the most efficient method of farm sale is employed.
Agricultural and commercial issues to consider
We understand the different familial and commercial factors that may arise in the sale of your farm. Specific issues you may need to consider include any existing family stakes in the farm, whether there are pedigree livestock to be sold and any existing leasing and machinery contracts that need to be resolved ahead of the sale.
Where appropriate, we will liaise with other professionals including estate agents as well as our commercial team at Warners. Our aim is to help you achieve the most advantageous sale and to ensure the legal process is timely and smooth.
For further information, please contact our Estates and Agricultural Property Team on 0173 770660 or email [email protected]. Warners Solicitors has offices in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, Kent.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.