Farmers who are selling their properties and land are leaving it too long to instruct solicitors – costing them time and money.
That is the warning from Midlands agricultural legal specialist Alexandra Phillips who is concerned that a growing number of farmers are only working with lawyers towards the end of the sale process, rather than at the beginning.
Ms Phillips, an assistant solicitor at law firm mfg Solicitors, said she is handling an increasing number of cases where she had been instructed by farmers after properties were sold – meaning unrealistic deadlines to finalise contracts.
Ms Phillips said: “Sellers, either farmers or landowners, have a web of vital information which if they pass across to a solicitor early on can rapidly accelerate the sale process towards completion day.
“Leaving it until after the property is sold, as some farmers appear to be doing, means vital searches for deeds and missing documents, essential checks on the title on the land and ironing out discrepancies are being left until the last minute when in reality those tasks can take weeks to complete.
“It’s a needless delay for the sale of a farms here in the region. It could be easily dealt with by sellers being more proactive and working in partnership with their lawyer and land agent from day one. Our experience shows that approach can dramatically save time, effort and money.”
Ms Phillips added that solicitors handling the sale of farm land have to handle time-consuming matters such the examination of milk quotas, stewardship schemes, employees to transfer, drainage, pollution or flooding as well as typical property matters such as fixtures and fittings or access to land.
To help address the problem the firm’s agriculture and rural division has designed a checklist for farmers and landowners which shows every legal issue that should be addressed as part of any sale.
Readers can contact Ms Phillips through firstname.lastname@example.org