Will your survey alert you to occupancy restrictions?
Hidden away in the Deeds (legal title documents) there can be all sorts of nasty restrictions, some of which can dramatically reduce the value of a property.
One such example is where residential properties are sometimes subject to ‘occupancy restrictions’ imposed by the Council when they originally granted planning permission.
So if you come across a rural property at a bargain price, it may be because it’s subject to an agricultural occupancy condition (known as ‘AOCs’ or ‘Ag Tags’). As the name suggests, at least one adult occupier must be in agricultural employment (or their widow/er), but the details may be open to some interpretation. As a result the market appeal, and hence the value of such properties, will be considerably reduced.
This should normally be mentioned in the estate agent’s details – unless they weren’t made aware of the restriction.
This is where surveyors can sometimes act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the conveyancers, often detecting any signs of ‘funny business’ such as the presence of illegal occupants or undisclosed tenancies. Of course such detective work is going beyond the normal sorts of issues that surveyors are expected to report on. But it should provide some additional reassurance. The mortgage valuation will have been provided on the assumption that there are no occupancy restrictions, so this would normally be revealed by the legal searches at a later date.
Where restrictions exist, it is sometimes possible to make a successful planning application to lift them where you can prove that they are no longer relevant, dramatically boosting the value of the property. But the chances are this will have already been considered before the property was put on the market.
Our next blog – coming soon …….
Disagreements over ‘fixtures and fittings’
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