Legal Considerations When Buying a Property in the Countryside.

The increase demand for rural properties amongst buyers keen on outdoor space and lower density living continues. However, buyers need to consider issues unique to rural properties before taking the plunge.

Listed Buildings:

Many prime rural properties are listed buildings, which come with greater restrictions that may limit a buyers ability to renovate or extend a property. Any intended modernisations need to be in line with regulations.

Public Footpaths:

Rural homes may have public or private rights of way, running through the land, or even through the garden. Prospective buyers should find out if there are any footpaths, bridal paths or other rights of way which could affect any enjoyment or privacy.

Sporting Rights Access to the Property:

There may be sporting rights that give access to use of land for sporting activities (fishing, shooting, hunting). It may not be possible to terminate these rights.

Boundary Issues:

Many country homes, particularly with large acreage, may have undergone boundary changes over the years. Buyers will want to establish boundaries of a property to avoid any disputes with neighbours.

Private Drainage Systems:

Some properties in rural areas may not be connected to mains drainage, but instead are served by private systems such as septic tanks or cesspits. Buyers need to ensure that the property doesn’t just have suitable drainage rights, but also that systems are compliant with regulations.

Restrictive Covenants:

Covenants affecting the use of land are commonplace in the country. For example, limiting extensions to existing buildings or building new properties. Such covenants may require a substantial fee to be paid to release or vary them.

It’s not surprising that rural homes remain so desirable with the continuing trend of remote working and the desire for more space sill fuelling demand for country properties. However, there are legal considerations to bear in mind before deciding to invest in rural property.



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