Tied Dwellings

While the term originally applied to mainly cottages, tied dwellings encumber thousands of Properties throughout ruralUK, setting out limitations on who is lawfully permitted to occupy a dwelling.

Throughout the 1st and 2nd World War, many residents from larger cities relocated to the countryside and resorted to the agricultural sector for a source of income. Workers often needed lodging, and a land owner would accommodate this requirement by renting out small cottages built on or around their Properties to their employees. By providing a dwelling to their workers, the employees became tied to the business, allowing the employer to keep the costs of their workers’ wages low and to prevent them from joining a trade union. As a result of imposing these conditions, only workers involved in Agricultural work would be entitled to reside at the property. If an employee wanted to resign, under the occupancy conditions this frequently meant vacating the dwelling so not to breach the planning condition.

Fast forward 75 years, many of these properties still retain these restrictions, typically for the retention of a tenant who has an agricultural interest. However, these conditions may go as far as to encompass equine or kennel work.

For some Dwelling owners, these ties often make sales arduous by reducing the potential value of the Property by up to 25%. Frank Smith and Co solicitors have found that a large percentage of tied dwellers have resorted to selling off the associated land and therefore, just the Dwelling and its associated occupancy conditions remain. This of course discounts the field of potential buyers, leaving the Property only suitable for inhabitants who work ‘domestically’ in the agricultural sector.

Properties encumbered by these types of Agricultural ties also render a significant risk in regard to lending terms. Many a time, a property sale has fallen through when the potential Buyers have found it near impossible to obtain a mortgage to cover the purchase cost for a tied dwelling.

To overcome the difficulties of a failed marketing campaign associated with tied dwellings, an application must be submitted to the local planning authority (LPA) to remove the tie which is often time consuming and complex. The applicant having the onus to demonstrate to the LPA that there is no longer a requirement for the tied dwelling to retain the occupancy condition. The application generally involves a marketing campaign, where the applicant has advertised their property typically for 12-18months on the open market. However, if the occupancy condition has been breached for a prolonged amount of time, an applicant may apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Frank Smith and Co Solicitors have assisted its clients on matters such as these for over half a decade, achieving a good success rate and thereby improving the options available to their clients. If you own a dwelling encumbered by an occupancy condition and would like to discuss your options or have any other queries relating to Agricultural Law, please contact Frank Smith on 01242 801748 or visit us at http://www.franksmithandco.com/.

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