Have you found your rural haven?
Yorkshire is blessed with an abundance of great rural properties and, whilst finding the ideal property to buy may take many months of searching the Internet and discussions with estate agents; that is just the start! The very essence of what you are trying to achieve may be destroyed if you and your property lawyer do not together carry out further research - not only regarding the property you intend to buy but also its locality and how that may change in the future.
Sadly there is no legal right to a wonderful view! How can you find out whether the vista that sets off the property so well will not be lost by the construction of new buildings, roads, rail and power lines? Additional questions relating to the last three can be included in the Local Search for the property but be warned, the Search will not tell you if development is to take place in the vicinity. Landmark Information Group have introduced a new search called Plansearch Plus that provides planning, neighbourhood and local amenity information that will include details of all planning permissions granted for adjoining properties. Planning Officers of the Local Authority or National Park Authority can explain how the policies are applied in the consideration of planning applications for future development; however, do bear in mind, you may have to take the pragmatic approach of, “Enjoy the view while it lasts but accept that it may not be there forever.”
And now to the property itself
Does your chosen idyll have private access, a private water supply and private sewage disposal system? Your property lawyer will advise on the rights for use and the responsibility for maintenance but not necessarily on the potential future costs of such maintenance and replacement. These can be substantial if the current arrangements do not comply with the statutory standards currently in force or those likely to be implemented in the future.
Who else has access to the property? Are there any public rights of way across the property? Does the general public have ‘a right to roam’ under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 legislation? Indeed, does anybody have shooting or fishing rights, which may be exclusive to an individual, a syndicate or club and which would preclude you exercising the rights yourself? Is the property in a conservation area, a National Park or is it listed? Special rules apply to listed buildings which may prevent the alteration, extension or conversion of the current buildings at the property, so it’s best to be wise before you buy.
The factors raised in this article are by no means exhaustive. Every property is different and only by working with an experienced property lawyer and surveyor can you identify whether your chosen property is in fact your rural haven, or a bit of a lame duck! Good Luck in your search.
Yorkshire Ridings Magazine, Yorkshire Show Special Edition summer 2009