Are you considering buying a rural property subject to an agricultural restriction that limits occupation to a person solely or mainly employed or last employed in the locality in agriculture? However, you do not satisfy the test, but will do so on completion when you start operating an agricultural business from the property on a full time basis. Would you be able to buy the property without breaching the condition of the ag tag?
An ag tag is an Agricultural Worker Occupancy Restriction, which is a planning condition that limits the occupation of the property to a person employed in agriculture and/or their families.
If you are not employed in agriculture, you should not occupy the property, as it is a breach of a planning condition. However, it would appear from the wording above that it would not prevent you from buying or letting to someone who is employed in agriculture.
Whether you satisfy the condition comes down to the interpretation of the term ‘employed’ in agriculture. There are no exact rules for compliance; running your own agricultural business where you are deriving income from agriculture qualifies as ‘employed’.
Consequently, it does not matter that you are not presently employed locally or even deriving income at all until the date of completion, as it appears that on the completion date you will be complying with the ag tag. There is an acceptance that an agricultural worker can move to the locality to start a new agricultural position from elsewhere. If, however, it takes six months to set up and begin your business, then this would be a breach of the condition.
The definition of agriculture suggests that the occupant should be actually farming the land or producing something from it. Therefore, if the occupant was an agricultural contractor, this would not comply with the agricultural condition.
“The term an agricultural worker” will be strictly interpreted and may not apply to say a gamekeeper employed for operating shoots.
In conclusion, it is acceptable for an agricultural worker to buy a property with an ag tag without being employed in agriculture in the locality, provide that upon completion you will be starting a new agricultural activity; by either farming the land or producing something from it.
For more information on agricultural law, please contact Frank Smith on 01242 801748 or visit us at http://www.franksmithandco.com/.