31 informed and intelligent negotiations at an early stage can protect your position and save you being put into the scenario where you are held to ransom for a large payment in order to realise your development. Statutory/Planning Restrictions Statutory/planning restrictions are not written into deeds, however, previous copies of planning consents and statutory notices are often held with the deeds. Common planning restrictions in rural property often relate to dwellings subject to agricultural occupancy conditions (agricultural ties) and restrict occupation to those working in agriculture. Such conditions devalue property and make selling and financing such property problematical. Planning conditions can be altered or removed by various routes, either through planning applications or application for a Certificate of Lawful Use. Often a planning condition hasn’t been complied with and there’s the opportunity to remove it by submission of a Certificate of Lawful Use Application. If the local planning authority haven’t enforced a condition for a period of time (in excess of 10 years for change of use, or in the case of the dwelling, four years) then broadly speaking, they lose the opportunity to take action. However if you unwittingly comply with the condition, even for a short period of time, the clock is reset and the opportunity lost. Clawback/Overage Clawback/overage are provisions within a conveyance that give rise to the previous owner receiving additional monies if there is a change of use; that change of use making the property more valuable. Such provisions are usually based upon a trigger event; usually grant planning consent or a payment event (the sale or lease of the property). The provisions are usually time-limited and I’ve come across several scenarios where clients have unwittingly obtained planning consent triggering clawback; if they waited a short period of time, the clawback provisions would have expired and they wouldn’t have had to pay any overage. Clawback/overage provisions can be badly written and often there are circumstances whereby clawback can be avoided by exploiting loopholes in such provisions. Again tactical and intelligent negotiations can be effective in avoiding large pay-outs. As I write this article, I realise I’ve only just scratched the surface on the above topics I haven’t even covered other important issues deriving from deeds, such as pre-emptions, boundary responsibilities, and easements. There is, however, a common theme in that the old adage ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’ and I apologise for using this cliché (yet again)! Most restrictions in land can be dealt with providing you are aware of them and have time to take the appropriate actions to reduce their cost implications. If you take one thing away from this article… find your deeds/planning consents, have a read through them, and if you find something that you don’t understand, or think that might be a problem, get advice. If you think that your use of your property will never change, that you’ll never need to borrow any money against the property, and that you’ll live forever… you can safely ignore this article! ▪ “ If you think that your use of your property will never change, you will never need to borrow any money against the property, and that you will live forever…