A law firm for life

Servitudes Advice for Farmers

Agricultural land and the rights associated with it can be complex.  As a landowner, this does not mean that you can do exactly what you want with your property.  Other people may also have rights over your land.  Equally, you may have rights over neighbouring property.  It can be challenging to understand what rights are at play and deciphering the title deeds to your property can seem daunting.

At The McKinstry Company, we are agricultural property law specialists.  We can advise on all matters of agricultural law, including servitudes and rights of way.  Below we outline some key information on this topic.  However, to understand a servitude in relation to a particular property, it is important to examine the title to that particular property.  You should, therefore, consult our expert team who can tailor our advice to your specific situation.  Get in touch today – we are happy to help.

What Is a Servitude?

In Scots law, a servitude is a right over a piece of land which is known as the burdened property.  This right benefits another piece of land, which is known as the benefited property.

A servitude is what is known as a ‘real right.’ One of the consequences of being a real right means that when you buy land, you are bound by the servitude in the same way the previous owner was.  The right transfers with the land.  A servitude right can be extensive, but it can never be so extensive as to effectively deprive the burdened property owner of the effective use of their land.

There are many different types of servitude.  In an agricultural context, the most common are rights of access, rights of drainage and rights of pasturage.  For example, neighbouring landowners may have the right to cross your land to get to the main road.

How Do I Know What Servitudes Apply to My Land?

Unfortunately, it is not easy to know what servitudes apply to land.  This is because there are different ways in which a servitude can be created.  For example, servitudes can be expressly set out in your title deeds or they can be created by prescription.

For servitudes set out in your title deeds, these are express, but it can still be difficult to understand them.  The title to your property may be set out in the Land Register, or your property may be registered in the General Register of Sasines.  A title registered in the Land Register is more navigable, as all the relevant provisions are set out in the same place.  However, to understand a tile in the Register of Sasines, it will be necessary to examine the deeds which previously conveyed the property to previous owners.  These deeds may contain servitudes but can be very hard to decipher.  It is common for rural property to be still registered in this way.  An expert property lawyer can help you in the process of understanding what servitudes apply to your property.

In terms of servitudes created by prescription, these are servitudes created not by a formal contract (or ‘deed’) but through use.  A servitude is created through usage which is exercised openly, peaceably and without judicial interruption for 20 years.  It can be challenging to know if these servitudes exist and, again, expert advice should be sought.

Contact The McKinstry Company Agriculture Lawyers in Ayrshire

If you want to learn more about servitudes over agricultural property, get in touch today.  You can contact us on 01292 281711 or via our online contact form.  Our friendly and dedicated team are here to help you.

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
KA7 1BE

  • Disability access
  • Parking close by

Girvan

146-148 Dalrymple Street
Girvan, Ayrshire
KA26 9BQ

  • Disability access
  • Parking close by
Join the McKinstry family
Some of our happy clients
  • Really helpful and friendly always replied to calls and emails. Thank you very much for all your help and advice and hard work.

    Mr S, Auchinleck
  • First class throughout 100% better than last time we moved house and used a different firm. Always responded to promptly with appropriate detailed replies. First Class

    Mr N, Ayr
  • Thank you for the support during a difficult time.

    Mrs M, Ayr
  • Every email was timely and actioned quickly. Kirsty and Libby were exceptional to deal with. They kept me informed in a timely manner with the added complication of our sale being carried out whilst we are currently based in America.

    Anon.
  • My emails were always responded to in a timely manner no matter who I was dealing with. Thank you to Nat and Kirsty who helped throughout our move and during some difficult times when lock down was first announced! They have both been great.

    Miss K, Dalry
  • Everything was done extremely professionally.

    Mrs G, Ayr
  • Very happy with the way my case has been dealt with despite working restrictions due covid 19 - thank you. Calls & emails always responded to within reasonable timescale. Very impressed with lawyers and staff I have dealt with during current case and previous divorce case very friendly and efficient.

    Mrs H, Ayr
  • All very prompt, efficient, clear, friendly and personable. Not overwhelming with legal jargon. Many thanks for making the process of setting up a will so straightforward.

    Mrs D, Troon
  • We required our Wills to be amended and that was done without any problems whatsoever.

    Mrs F, Ayr
  • Very business-like and helpful

    Mr M, Ayr
  • I was very impressed with the professionalism shown by all members of staff I had any dealing with. All calls and emails were relevant to the sale of my flat. All questions I had were dealt with at the time. For any further legal matters I will certainly be using The McKinstry Company

    Mr H, Ayr
  • Excellent service most happy with attentiveness and customer service.

    Mr F, Condorrat
  • Nat & Libby efficiently dealt with every question I had.

    Mrs K, Ayr
  • Kirsty understood our weird schedule when we were often 8 hours behind UK time, and simplified things for us by liaising via email. She was extremely approachable and dependable. In Kirsty’s absence, Jodie and Nathaniel would step in and communicate with us, and were very helpful too.

    Mrs N, Ayr
  • Great service and always on hand to answer our questions. Prompt and efficient response.

    Mr H, Ferniegair
  • Questions and communication were answered promptly

    Mr W, Sinclairston
  • Speaking from my own personal experience I was perfectly happy with the service I received. Everything was done to my satisfaction.

    Mrs I, Largs
  • Very efficient, timely and very mannerly on the phone

    Mr McN, Mauchline
  • The service was superb.  Kirsty and team were extremely helpful.

    Mr and Mrs R, Ayr
  • First class service from start till finish. Always there to give help and advice.

    Mr R, Ayr
  • Great service and advice from a good professional company.

    Mr R, Kilmarnock
  • Excellent, very friendly and professional. I will be using you for all my property transactions in the future!

    Mrs S, Godstone
  • My case was handled sensitively and smoothly.

    Mr N, Ayr
  • Everyone concerned in the sale of our property was very efficient and kept us up to date with all happenings.

    D Ferguy, Cookstown
  • Great service.  Would recommend you to others.

    Mr S, Kirkmichael
  • Communication was always available when required. Made me feel confident throughout the process.

    Mr L, Ayr
  • Always replied or phoned back when I needed my questions answered.

    Miss McF, Patna
  • A very prompt and friendly service, a pleasure to deal with.

    Mr R, Aberdeen
  • Robert was very supportive.

    M Carruthers, Kilmarnock.
  • Great, Rebecca was very pleasant to deal with and went out of her way to help with our case

    S Everett, Kilbarchan
  • The solicitor / paralegal I was dealing with was very professional and performed to a high standard. I was very impressed.

    B Ferguson, Methil
  • Local firm, word of mouth good reports.

    K Rooney, Glasgow
  • All queries were dealt with in a prompt and professional manner and I was kept informed of progress as events developed. Thank you very much for making a difficult situation much easier to deal with.

    Mrs McG, Ayr
  • Communication via telephone and email was regular, prompt and comprehensive. All queries and questions were answered with no delays or problems. My experience with the McKinstry Company was pleasant and smooth.

    Mr McK, Ayr
  • My family and I received excellent service from everyone with whom we had contact. The service was of the highest standard and, as I have in the past, I will continue to recommend the company to anyone seeking legal assistance.

    Mrs S, Ayr
  • All emails and calls were dealt with promptly. Very impressed. Very very pleased with service.

    Mr and Mrs H, Hull
  • I enjoy the friendly atmosphere. Very professional.

    Mrs A, Ayr
  • Mr Honeyman was very professional and knowledgeable which made us feel reassured. Very happy with the service and if I needed a solicitor again I would get in touch.

    Mr B, Ardrossan
  • Prompt quick efficient communication.

    Mrs K, Cumnock
  • Ease of making appointments and timescale for completion of business all good.

    Mr & Mrs T, Maybole
  • Gave reassurance and comfort at a stressful time. I felt ten times better after our first meeting and support provided ultimately exceeded my desired outcome.

    Mr N, Saltcoats
  • The supportive way that the advice was provided along with the willingness to fit appointments in with our requirements

    Mr R, Ayr
  • The whole process was handled with upmost professionalism throughout.

    Mr McN, Kilwinning
X

We’re delighted to welcome you back!

We are open by appointment but these will be restricted to executry and matrimonial clients. Social distancing measures will be in place and please ensure face coverings are worn when entering the office.