Agricultural Tie RemovalAg Ties, Ag Tags or Agricultural Occupancy Conditions are planning conditions that have been applied to properties since 1948 and restrict the occupation of the dwelling. They are normally imposed on properties that would not otherwise have been granted planning permission and where it was proven that there was an essential need for an agricultural or forestry worker to live on the site.

As the condition restricts who can live in the dwelling they have a significant impact on the value, often reducing market value by as much as 40%.

The wording of these conditions varies depending on which Local Authority issued the original planning permission and also the date planning permission was granted, but the most common wording is:

“The occupation of the dwelling shall be limited to a person solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependents.”

To remove an Ag Tie means that it is permanently removed and unlike regularisation cannot be reactivated if a qualifying individual, such as a farm worker, were to move into the property. There are two ways to remove an Ag Tie and in many cases it is possible to remove it without marketing the property for sale.


So what are the options?

First Method – The Marketing Method

The first method is generally referred to as the “Marketing Method” and requires the property to be offered for sale on the open market for a period of time specified by the Local Planning Authority (usually 12 months) at a price which reflects the presence of the agricultural occupancy condition. In addition to the marketing a local needs assessment must also be undertaken, as well as a review of the affordable housing in the local area.

If at the end of the period there have been no proceedable offers from qualifying individuals, and there is no local need or requirement for affordable housing then an application can be made to the Local Planning Authority to remove the condition.  The application will need to be supported by robust evidence of the unsuccessful marketing campaign and evidence that the marketing has been undertaken nationally as well as locally and continuously for a 12 months period. Evidence will also need to be shown that the marketing was carried out at the correct price and we always ensure that three formal “Red Book “ valuation are undertaken prior to marketing to ensure that the value accurately reflects the presence of the Tie.


Second Method

The second and less commonly known method is to prove that the original planning permission was not implemented. This method involves a more complex argument to include consideration of planning case law and cannot be used for every property, but where it can be used, it is exceptionally successful and avoids the tedious and often deceptive requirement to market the property for sale.

Gateway Planning Consultants specialise in removing Agricultural Ties and are often successful where other agents have failed. We have extensive knowledge and experience of regularising and removing ties and in many cases we can remove the Tie without marketing the property for sale! We can also lift double ties where the ag tie has also been imposed as a Section 106 planning obligation.

Benefits of Getting Agricultural Ties lifted

  • MARKET VALUE – Occupancy conditions can reduce the value of a property by as much as 40%, so removal of the Tie will unlock a significant amount of value.
  • LENDING – There are far fewer lenders around willing to advance a mortgage on an ag tied property so by removing the tie you have more lenders to choose from and better rates.
  • OCCUPATION – by removing the Tie anyone can live in the property regardless of their occupation and in removing rather than regularising the Tie there is no risk of it being reactivated if a qualifying occupier such as a farm worker were to move in.
  • SALE – the market for the property will be opened up significantly. Without the Tie anyone can live there, regardless of what they do for a living, therefore more potential buyers.
  • EXTENSIONS – extending an agriculturally tied dwelling is not easy as the permitted development rights will have been removed and any proposed extension will need to be justified by an increase in the profitability of the holding. Once the Tie is removed extending the property will be far easier and the Council will consider it to be a conventional residential property.
  • REPLACEMENT DWELLING –Ag Tied dwellings are often situated in picturesque settings with large plot sizes. Once the Ag Tie is removed it is possible to apply for a replacement dwelling and with careful use of your permitted development allowance it is often possible to obtain a significantly bigger dwelling.

If you need assistance with an agricultural occupancy condition please contact us for a chat, you may be surprised by what your options are.