Whether you are buying or selling a plot of land we can advise you of the legal issues you should consider from the outset. We act for numerous developers and self builders and are aware of the potential problems that can arise.
There are numerous issues you need to think about before proceeding with a plot transaction (large or small) and below we identify a few of them.
- Rights of way and access to the site
How will you get to and from the site? Do you need a right of way? If there is an existing right of way, is it sufficient for your needs? For example, a right of way over a lane for one cottage will not automatically allow a right of way for any additional houses built on the land.
Do you require a road agreement with the Local Highways Authority? If so, this would normally be secured by a bond or personal guarantee to protect the Highways Authority.
You need to ensure that the relevant water authority will maintain the sewers after they have been constructed. Prior to construction the route of the sewers needs to be established as you may require additional rights put in all the transfer deeds, allowing you to run them under adjacent plots.
Are you clear where the boundaries are? If not, try to agree the boundaries with your neighbors. This issue often causes problems and it is best to identify the boundaries before committing to the transaction.
- Planning consent
Is planning consent in place or do you need to gain planning permission? This is a complicated issue which can take several months and we advise you to talk to the local planning committee prior to proceeding with the transaction.
- The land itself
Is it on a flood plain? Is the land contaminated? Are any trees protected by Tree Preservation Order? This can be found out by looking at the local authority search.
A surveyor should inspect and value the site and advise you on any particular areas of concern for your proposed development.
- Construction guarantee
You will need a form of a guarantee such as NHBC, Zurich, HAPM, or an architect's certificate. If you intend to sell the property, the buyer's solicitor will often want to see the architect's insurance policy and be satisfied that it covers subsequent buyers. Make sure the architect does not charge any extra for having this cover.
Although there may be little to insure on the land, you will need insurance in place to cover the rebuilding cost of any properties until they are sold.