Rural & Equestrian Property Lawyers

Herrington Carmichael has one of largest property law teams in the South-East of England, including specialist rural property lawyers.

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Agriculture & Rural Land 

We specialise in rural and equestrian property, and recognise the expertise required so that buyer and sellers can move quickly and with confidence. Clients value our practical and commercial advice, safe in the knowledge that our focus is on achieving positive results for them. We pride ourselves on providing a first-class service, and through our strength and depth of expertise, we believe we are well placed to address any issue that may arise in your rural and equestrian property deal.  

Sale & Purchase of Country Homes
Livery Agreements
Private Drainage
Sporting Rights
Riparian Rights
Selling Land to Developers

Country Homes

We regularly act for sellers and buyers of country homes and estates. We pride ourselves on delivering efficient and pragmatic advice and working closely with you to achieve your desired outcome with confidence. 

We have a successful track record of acting for clients in relation to their country homes, whether that be a prime property situated on the Wentworth Estate near Ascot, or a manor house in the heart of the Cotswolds. We recognise the importance of tailoring our service to match your needs and lifestyle and are experienced in acting for high-net worth and high-profile individuals.

We can assist with the following types of work: 

  • Sales and purchases of country homes, prime, super prime and manor houses
  • Financing or refinancing of country homes, prime, super prime and manor houses
  • Transfers of equity of country homes, prime, super prime and manor houses
  • Exclusivity and lock out agreements

Livery agreements

Livery yards and arrangements are increasingly common, and it is always sensible to have something written in place to know where you stand whether you are the horse, or yard owner. These agreements can be relatively simple, or extensive and this largely depends upon the nature of the arrangement in place i.e., full or DIY livery. Where there is no written agreement, there is often a lack of clarity over exactly what rights and obligations exist, and it therefore could prove challenging if something was to go wrong, and a dispute arose. A livery agreement would often set out key items such as the livery fee, livery yard services, notice periods and so on. 

We can assist with the following types of work: 

  • Preparing livery agreements for either yard or horse owners
  • Reviewing and advising on existing livery agreements for either yard or horse owners
  • Sales and purchases of properties with equestrian facilities, with and without livery agreements in place
  • Financing or refinancing of properties with equestrian facilities, with and without livery agreements in place

Private Access & Drainage

Many rural and equestrian properties will not be connected to mains drainage and instead, are connected to private systems such as a cesspit or cesspool, a septic tank or a sewage treatment plant. Different systems have different rules, regulations and guidelines which apply. An example of a key set of rules in place, are the General Binding Rules which are a set of rules to ensure your system is compliant. It is vital that any applicable rules, regulations, and guidelines are understood both when you own a property with a private system and when you are purchasing a property with one. Surprisingly, these are often misunderstood, or overlooked altogether, which can give rise to the risk of them being in breach. There are also requirements in place which affect certain system owners in the event you sell. It is therefore imperative owners of private drainage systems understand any such rules and regulations which apply to them. In addition, some properties will share a private system and therefore, not only will those owners need to be aware of the usual rules and regulations which affect them, but also of any legal rights and obligations which do (or do not) exist in relation to the system.

We can assist with the following types of work: 

  • Sales and purchases of properties and estates which are affected by private drainage
  • Financing or refinancing of properties affected by private drainage
  • Reviewing title documents for land owned and advising on any express private drainage rights which may exist
  • Preparing private drainage agreements for jointly used drainage systems
  • Reviewing and advising on existing private drainage agreements

Sporting rights 

These rights can affect the land you own, or intend to buy, in many different ways and are often underestimated given the common misconception that if own a parcel of land, you own and control everything connected with it. Any landowners or prospective purchasers of country homes and land who are interested in fishing, hunting or shooting on the land will want to ensure that sporting rights are included. The ability does exist for these rights to be expressly excluded from the land, so it is vital this is carefully checked prior to participating in any sport or committing to a purchase. Sporting rights can be a profitable source of income for rural landowners so excluding them from land is becoming more common and, in some cases, the rights can be more valuable than the land itself.

We can assist with the following types of work: 

  • Sales and purchases of properties and estates which are affected by sporting rights
  • Financing or refinancing of properties affected by sporting rights
  • Reviewing title documents for land owned and advising on any express sporting rights which may exist
  • Advising landowners of sporting rights specific to their property and land

Riparian Rights

If you are an owner of land abutting a natural watercourse, or if you own land where a natural water course runs through it, riparian rights will exist. This includes the right of common interest in respect of the flow of water and will affect landowners differently dependant on whether they are affected by a downstream watercourse, upstream watercourse, or both. Some typical rights include the right to use the water for domestic purposes such as cooking and washing, the right to safeguard your property from flooding and the right to fish (subject to any other rules and regulations in place). In addition to rights, riparian landowners may also be subject to certain obligations in connection with the flow of water which landowners should be aware of, and clear on.

We can assist with the following types of work:

  • Sales and purchases of properties which either abut or include natural watercourses
  • Financing or refinancing of properties which either abut or include natural watercourses
  • Reviewing title documents for land owned and advising on any express riparian rights which may exist
  • Advising landowners of riparian rights specific to their property

Selling Land to Developers

As you will only get one chance to sell your land for development it is important to instruct a law firm with sufficient expertise in the area to give you proper advice. Our real estate team work with many of the top UK house builders, which makes us well placed to know exactly what you need to look for when it comes to selling land.

We offer a full range of services for landowners which include:

  • Negotiating Option Agreements
  • Negotiating Conditional Contracts
  • Drafting Planning Agreements
  • Due Diligence Services
  • Negotiating and drafting Joint Ventures and other Collaboration Agreements
  • Negotiating Overage Arrangements

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Best Law Firms 2024

Herrington Carmichael has once again been named in the Times Best Law Firms. We were first listed in 2023 and have once again made the Best Law Firms list for 2024.  

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/herrington-carmichael

Best Law Firm 2024