Rural real estate
Nobody understands the rural property market, or the myriad of legal issues that touch this asset class, better than Withers.
Since our founding in 1896 we have facilitated the buying and selling of every kind of country home, estate and business and our practical, hands-on team are steeped in rural knowledge.
Be it a farm or a family home, a heritage property or a cutting-edge renewable energy project, this is not a transaction to be handled like any other. Owning rural property is exciting, but carries along with it a range of challenges – from tenancy agreements to rights of way – that need to be handled properly. Our landed estates team have seen it all and know how to help.
To give just one example of the range of issues that may arise, we acted for an American client on the purchase of a 1,000 acre estate in the South of England. We explained the regulations on how the property, a Grade I-listed house, could be modified and advised on the farming and tenancy issues. With a 50-acre reservoir, we were consulted on liability issues, fishing, sporting and access rights, and worked closely with our wealth-planning team to structure the purchase as efficiently as possible given the client’s circumstances and the US/UK tax implications.
‘The support you have in a firm like Withers is amazing,’ says partner Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall. ‘We have under one roof the broadest spectrum of skills, and land is an asset class which pervades every aspect of the law. In any given week we may need to consult with colleagues on health and safety, reputation management, dispute resolution, construction, employment and tax planning matters to help us get the job done. It would be hugely less efficient, both in time and cost, to resource this sort of advice outside the firm’.
No project is too complex for our enthusiastic lawyers, who recently helped a client to buy a 10,000-acre grouse moor and hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. We dealt with a range of esoteric issues relating to freehold land and common grazing rights, structuring the deal through a limited-liability vehicle to guard our wealthy client from publicity and liability.
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