Q&A What happens about shared access & drains if I sell off half my land?

Q:        I have run a small market garden business from my home for the last thirty years. I now want to retire but my wife does not want to move out of the house. If I sell off the business and land it occupies, what would I need to do about what would become a shared access road, drains etc? And should I sell it leasehold or freehold?

A:        It is becoming more commonplace these days for people with a substantial amount of land to downsize to one part of it, rather than sell up completely and move. However, dealing with shared access roads, drains and other facilities can be tricky, and you should talk through all your options and their implications with a solicitor before making any decisions.

Even if you have it written into the sale contract that your purchaser agrees to carry out repairs, or contribute to repairs that you make, such an obligation will not automatically pass on to someone they later sell the property to. For this to happen, your solicitor will need to draft the documents so that the maintenance obligation applies every time the land is sold on.

Selling the property with a long leasehold interest in the land instead of selling the freehold outright would make it easier to provide for ongoing maintenance obligations. However, if your purchaser needs a mortgage, then a freehold sale is going to be more straightforward and therefore possibly more attractive.

You should also consider how a new neighbour may affect your land in the future, and you may want to restrict how the land you are selling can be used, or what can be built on it. For example, you could limit the number of buildings on the land or restrict their height or position to ensure light to existing buildings is not blocked. The law on rights of light is complex, so this is another very important area to discuss with your solicitor.

This question has been answered by Molly Drake, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 


Molly Drake


Molly Drake is a Solicitor based in our Oswestry office.