Removing An Agricultural Or Equestrian Condition

Lifting Agricultural Occupancy Restrictions

Agricultural occupancy restrictions (sometimes called ‘agricultural ties’, ‘agricultural clauses’ or ‘AOCs’) are conditions imposed by councils on some rural properties resulting in situations whereby no one is allowed to live in the properties concerned except those specified in the restriction (usually farmers). This in turn means that the property’s value is vastly diminished (often up to 40% below the market value.) Buyers are often very hard to find especially when it’s realised that they are not allowed to live in the property unless they comply with the restriction. Mortgage providers are also notoriously reluctant to lend.

Our Approach to Removing Agricultural Occupancy- No Win No Fee

“AFA Planning Consultants are experts in getting agricultural occupancy restrictions lifted- including the most complex of cases.” – Success Rate over the last 5 years- 90%.

Often using different approaches to the usual methods, we have consistently removed ties, often where our clients have failed before, even on appeal.

We have even lifted double ties which some of our clients have had on their properties because the councils have repeated the restrictions by Section 106 or Section 52 planning obligations.

We offer a nationwide service with no fuss or hassle and with the vast majority of cases being finalised well below the average timeline with often no advertising to sell the property required.

Our fees for lifting agricultural ties are usually on a NO WIN NO FEE basis. Even where the only way forward is by a marketing exercise, most of the fee is no win no fee.

There are a variety of methods which can be used to achieve the removal of occupancy restrictions quite apart from the few which are well known. Because our team have a wide experience as council planning officers, we are ideally placed to spot opportunities which others may miss. For example, in one recent case to our client’s amazement, we were able to demonstrate to the Council that the restriction should never have been imposed in the first place. The client concerned wrote:

“Thank you so much for all your hard work, a great result which means everything to me. The house is now on the open market and has a good chance of selling. You know your subject and are worth your weight in gold. I cannot thank you enough. Very best wishes, Angela.”

Another client recently wrote:

“We would like to thank everyone involved in getting the clause removed, we are absolutely delighted. This is a big weight off our minds, we really thought this was going to be a long drawn out affair but your expertise has proved that it can be done and quickly. Thank you once again”. Mr & Mrs TS, Worcestershire.

Benefits of Getting Agricultural Ties lifted

  1. FULL MARKET VALUE of the property can be achieved when sold. Sometimes an occupancy restriction can even knock as much as 50% off the normal value!
  2. MORTAGES are far cheaper and easier to obtain.
  3. SALEABILITY will now be the same as any other house, because any purchaser, not just a farm worker, can legally live in there. Buyers will be far easier to find.
  4. RENTING the house to a tenant who is NOT a farm worker and can be charged the full market rate, will become a legal option should you wish.
  5. APPLICATIONS FOR EXTENSIONS would be far easier to obtain as the Council will have to treat the property as an ordinary dwelling, not a farm-worker’s dwelling.
  6. REPLACEMENT DWELLING option is now open to you. Sometimes the actual site has great potential value, but the existing house is nothing special. With the occupancy restriction gone, planning permission for a more substantial dwelling would be far easier to obtain. With outline permission for a new house in place, you could even sell the property on to a developer. Sites for houses in attractive rural locations are normally almost impossible to find.
  7. ENFORCEMENT by the Council against you if you are a non-farmer living in the property, will no longer be a worry.


Contact us today to discuss the available options on lifting an agricultural tie- 01480 218211