Agricultural Ties and when it is reasonable to have them lifted


An agricultural tie on a property, known as an “Ag Tag”, means that it can only be occupied by someone employed in agriculture. The purpose of them is to ensure that there are sufficient rural workers’ properties in the countryside.

Ag Tags can only be removed where it can be shown that there is not existing or foreseeable need for agricultural accommodation in the area and where there has been an independent market assessment following an unsuccessful attempt to market the property at a realistic price.

These were the grounds that were relied upon in a recent attempt to get an Ag Tag removed (PINS: Appeals Casework Portal: APP/PO119/W/18/3195171). However, concerns were raised about the nine acres of land included within the sale that took it into a price bracket that was out of reach for most eligible workers (£1.1 million).

Nonetheless, the planning inspector was still prepared to lift the Ag Tag, in view of the lack of demand for agricultural accommodation in the area, as shown by the lack of interest in buying the property. The view was taken that the property itself was of a sufficiently high value that the inclusion of the land made little difference overall.

Agricultural ties are a potential concern for both buyers and sellers of rural property. An additional consideration is whether a property with an Ag Tag has been occupied for ten years or more by someone outside of agriculture. In this case, the Local Planning Authority may issue a “Certificate of Lawful Use”. Breach of an Ag Tag can otherwise result in a fine, so they should be treated with respect and advice sought when encountered.

Fenella Eddell is a solicitor in the property department at Barker Gotelee, Suffolk solicitors.

Property Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk