A law firm for life

Buying a Farm

At The McKinstry Company, we are experts in property law.  In particular, we have experienced, diligent lawyers specialising in agricultural law and rural property.  While this area of law is unique and highly complex, our specialists are experts when it comes to providing clear, accessible advice.

Below we outline the key considerations when buying a farm or agricultural property.  If this is something which you are considering, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  Our lawyers and their team are on hand, ready and willing to assist you.

What Do You Need to Consider When Buying Agricultural Property?

Examining the Title to the Property

In some ways, buying a farm is similar to buying any other property.  The conveyancing process shares many of the same features, such as reviewing the title deeds for the property you are purchasing.  However, one of the key differences with farm land is that these title deeds can be significantly more complicated.

In Scotland, there are two official registers of land.  One is known as the Land Register, which is the ‘modern’ register, which was introduced in 1981 the other is The General Register of Sasines, the oldest national public land register in the world which is where land used to be registered in Scotland.  Often, farm land is still registered in The General Register of Sasines.  The deeds which make up the property title can, therefore, be very old.  Title deeds may contain very important information about the property – such as rights of access (also known as servitudes).  To a layman, however, these deeds can be completely incomprehensible.

Our agricultural specialists will review the title to the property to gain a clear understanding of the extent of the farm land and the rights associated with the land.  As farm land often changes, evolves and develops over time, it is crucial that a solicitor with specialist knowledge takes the time to carefully review the title deeds so that you know what you are potentially buying.

Understanding the Rights of Others

When considering buying a farm, it is essential to know whether any other parties have interests in the land.  To understand how you can use the property, it is important that you have a clear understanding of how these rights would interact with your own as a potential owner of the land.

A servitude is a right over a portion of land which benefits another piece of land.  Most commonly, a servitude may be a right of access, such as a servitude right to cross one property to get to another property.  However, the servitude may be more onerous, such as a right of drainage across the farm property.  Your solicitor will be able to advise you of what servitudes are attached to your property (the rights will generally be set out in your title deeds).

Further, you should consider whether there are any lease agreements in place when purchasing rural land.  At The McKinstry Company, we have extensive experience of dealing with agricultural tenancies, including short limited duration tenancies, limited duration tenancies and grazing lets.  Each of these tenancies have their own particular requirements.  For example, a grazing let is often used by farmers who lease out a portion of land for grazing animals for less than a year.  Other tenancies will generally last for significantly longer and may be a more significant burden on the land.

It is vital that you understand how your rights may be limited by the rights of others when buying a farm.  Our team of solicitors are rural experts and can assist you in navigating this complex process.

For our agriculture legal services FAQs, please click here.

Contact The McKinstry Company Agriculture Lawyers, Ayrshire

At The McKinstry Company, our team has years of experience in advising the agriculture sector in all areas. We put our clients at the heart of our work and our team provide a friendly and knowledgeable service at a time to suit you.

If you want to learn more about our agricultural services generally, get in touch today. You can contact us on 01465 915021 or via our online contact form.  We’re here to help.

Debbie Dunlop Partner View Debbie's Profile

Based in our Girvan office, Debbie is a Partner who is highly experienced in Private Client work, particularly in the agricultural and farming sectors. She used to enjoy travelling the world, but now married to a farmer, she spends her weekends in wellies, feeding cattle or on the back of a quad bike. Debbie is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association.

Having lived in Rome for a number of years, Debbie also studied Law at the Université d’Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand – as a result, she is fluent in both Italian and French. She can also speak a bit of Spanish, thanks to travelling around various Central and South American countries, including walking the Inca trail. She has managed to convince her husband that the cattle in Argentina will be worth a look at some time soon!

A keen runner, Debbie has competed in 10Ks and half marathons, even completing the Rome Marathon. This now comes in handy during lambing time chasing after ewes.

Ayr Sandgate

Queen’s Court House
39 Sandgate
Ayr, Ayrshire

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146-148 Dalrymple Street
Girvan, Ayrshire
KA26 9BQ

  • Disability access
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