Getting Your Rural Land Ready for a Sale – Part 4: standard enquiries

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By Victoria Sandberg, Partner and Head of Rural

This is the fourth in a series of blogs about preparing your rural land ready for a possible future sale.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, if you are planning to sell your land reasonably soon, the current lock-down could be a good time to get everything in order ready for the sale.

Anyone who has dealt with a sale of land recently will be aware that you usually have to answer pages and pages of standard enquiries that the buyer’s solicitor will require you to answer. They can easily stretch to 50 or 60 pages for rural land. If you have to answer those enquiries in a hurry because a sale has been agreed, you might overlook important information. The problem with that, is that the buyer is entitled to rely on your replies, and to assume that they contain all information of which you are aware and that might affect the land. They can sue you if you do not disclose something that is relevant, even if it wasn’t a deliberate omission.

For that reason, it is a good idea to get all the replies answered before you go to market. If it takes a while to find the buyer, you will need to update the replies and check that there haven’t been any changes in the meantime. However, if you have time to review them properly, you will feel under less pressure and will have time to make sure they are correct.

Although the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Entitlements are being gradually withdrawn, they are still relevant to any sale within the next few years. Again, therefore, it is really important to make sure that you have all the documentation to hand. If you are selling the Entitlements with the land, the buyer will need that information and it can be really time-consuming to collect it.

The replies will also need to include any documentation relating to agri-environment schemes, woodland management, any grants, shooting licences and way-leaves etc. These will all need to be located, and full up-to-date details included in the replies.

Depending on how long it takes to find a buyer, you will need to review the replies again and make sure they are updated if necessary. However, preparing the replies in advance really could be time well spent.

In my next blog I will discuss practical issues to think about when you are considering selling your rural land.

Contact Victoria Sandberg, Partner and Head of Rural, if you would like to discuss how to prepare your rural land for sale.

This blog was originally intended to form part of Victoria’s talk at Longmores’ annual rural seminar at Knebworth House in March which was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you would like to be added to the invitation list for future seminars, please email our Marketing Manager:

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.