Latest news from Merryweathers
The northern routes for HS2 have been confirmed, removing doubt about the location of the line from Birmingham to Leeds. Landowners along the route will have land compulsorily purchased to build the railway, and the announcement will have immediately blighted their properties. But many landowners are still unsure how they will actually be affected or compensated.
The law surrounding compulsory purchase is covered by a minefield of legislation that has been added to and adapted since the original Land Clauses Consolidation Act 1845, and although it was recognised by the Law Commission’s report on Compulsory Purchase (2001) that the law needed streamlining, successive governments have chosen to put any rewriting of the law on the backburner, and have instead added to the legislation through bills such as the Localism Act (2011) and the Neighbourhood Planning Act (2017).
The High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Act 2017 was passed earlier this year, but although the act has yet to be extended to cover the North West and Yorkshire routes, HS2 has already started to contact landowners to begin survey work, compensating landowners with £1000 for these arrangements. If land is let, the suggested compensation split is £750 to the tenant with the remaining £250 used to compensate the landlord. For houses being compulsorily purchased along the HS2 route, the compensation being currently paid is the value of the house, plus 10% and additional relocation expenses.
Merryweathers have already been involved in assessing HS2 compensation for many houses within the safe-guarded zone around the Rotherham area of the route. Twenty cases have been assessed since October 2016, with more in the pipeline, and offers had been secured by the end of June, highlighting the pace at which HS2 is currently settling claims.
Peter Horne, our most experienced rural surveyor, was the keynote speaker at the CLA’s meeting on HS2 within Yorkshire. The meeting on 28th June in Hooton Pagnell, was held to advise landowners on the HS2 process and how they may be affected by the scheme. With the likelihood of land being taken by compulsory purchase, Peter Horne delivered a speech about how landowners can ensure that they receive the correct compensation for their personal situation and how to ensure that the works cause them minimum disruption.
So how is compensation calculated?
Compensation will be based on the market value of the land taken (plus 10% in the case of HS2 compensation) based on its value in the “no-scheme world” i.e. the market value of the land if the scheme did not exist and wasn’t blighting its value. This is based on the land’s existing use and does not account for any uplift in value that could happen based on the scheme being implemented. If you feel that your land is likely to have benefitted from an alternative future use, such as future housing, then it is possible to apply for a certificate of alternative development, which can then be used to apply for compensation at a higher rate.
Compensation can also be claimed for “Severance and Injurious Affection”. Severance means that you can be compensated for the loss of your land, with injurious affection meaning you can be compensated for the reduction in value of your now smaller holding. You can also be compensated for disturbance which provides for a loss in value of your property from the noise, dust, closeness of the scheme. From a compensation point of view, it is better to have land taken than to only be affected by the disturbance (which will also be compensated for, but with much lower payments). For all cases, landowners are advised to keep an accurate diary of all conversations (both face-to-face and over the phone), meetings, letters and other encounters. Photos are a valuable way to evidence work, especially for disturbance claims, or take a video and say what is happening – mobile phones are an excellent tool for this.
How will the compulsory purchase be handled?
HS2 will serve a Notice to Treat, which defines the people involved (HS2 and the owner/tenant) and the area of land the notice applies to, which then entitles the owner to make a claim for compensation. A counter-notice can be served, although if you are within the area of the published route, resisting the work will be futile as the legislative Acts will allow HS2 to compulsorily purchase land that is not achieved through the Notice to Treat process. In our experience, it is beneficial to have a positive working relationship with the scheme, as you are more likely to get your requests granted.
It is also important to remember to seek help if you are finding the process daunting or stressful. Specialists in helping landowners who are faced with compulsory purchase, such as Merryweathers, can help you to understand what is happening and to smooth out the process. And there is no need to worry about our fees, as HS2 pay the fees of professional advisors, on top of any compensation to which you are entitled. It is therefore important to engage the help of an experienced land agent to act on your behalf. At Merryweathers, our land agents are not only experienced, but have kept up to date with all the recent changes to compulsory purchase and compensation through attending RICS training sessions lead by Charles Cowap – a leading professional in this field, who lectures on this subject at Harper Adams University.
What should you be considering in your compensation claims?
Think about the nature of your business and what losses you may be suffering. Are you losing a building and will you require a replacement, or just compensation for its loss? Will you need to reorganise your land holdings and how they are used? What accommodation works will you need to ensure you can still operate your business – how will you access your fields on the other side of the works, how will you move livestock or get machinery to fields for harvesting or field preparation and spraying? Will field drainage be affected, or your underground irrigation pipes?
It may also be appropriate to reorganise the ownerships of your holding to maximise the compensation, especially if the farmhouse and land are in different ownership, as this will affect any claims made regarding injurious affection. It may also be wise to merge the interests of the landlord and tenant to improve the compensation for both parties. Also consider if the land has “hope value” by reviewing your council’s Local Plan and apply for a Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development”, and if you have minerals worth exploiting this should be prioritised before the notices to treat are served by HS2.
Key points to remember:
- Compensation will not make you richer – it is a tool to financially compensation your loss and return you to the same position compared to before the scheme started – in monetary terms.
- Keep a record of works and conversations – it is much easier to make a claim for compensation if you have evidence to substantiate your claims.
- Be realistic when making requests for accommodation works and try to maintain a positive working relationship with HS2 and their employees.
- Seek advice if you are unsure of how HS2 is going to affect you, and what compensation you are entitled to.
- Employ an experienced land agent to support you, as their fees are paid for separately to your compensation.
Peter Horne, FRICS FAAV is our most experienced land agent and rural surveyor, with over forty years’ experience supporting farmers and landowners in and around Yorkshire.
Elizabeth Copeland, MSc has recently qualified from Harper Adams University and specialises in compulsory purchase, landlord & tenant agreements, planning and estate management.
At Merryweathers, we have the knowledge and experience to help you, whatever your needs.
Still not sold??… been on the market for a while?… received unreasonable offers or NONE at all?? or perhaps the sale has fallen through?
Then maybe now is the time to try an alternative method; the Modern Method of Auction.
Give us a call and ask for more about auction.
Visit the next live auction THURSDAY 10TH AUGUST at New York Stadium Rotherham S60 1AH
Register from 18.30 Auction starts 19.00
We are presently acting for numerous residents in the South Yorkshire area who are affected by HS2 safeguarding? We can provide support and completion of Blight Notices, Claim forms and the provision of accurate RICS market valuation reports.
As a long established firm of Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors, we support the residents of South Yorkshire and can provide the best advice to enable a satisfactory compensation claim.
IF YOU THINK WE CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE PLEASE CONTACT US ON: 01709 375591
There has been clear evidence this year that demand for residential investments at auction hasn’t dropped away like many pundits previously suggested. Property auctions have proved popular across the investment spectrum, from high-value residential and mixed-use investment land sites, to the first and second-time buyer markets. An influx of landlords, and first-time buyers have entered auction rooms this year as the benefits of the process are clear.
Property auctions are recognised as a secure, and fast way to either sell a property on the market or find your dream home. The process is straightforward: an immediate exchange of contracts takes place inside the auction room, with all terms and conditions provided, as well as an agreed completion date; a contract is binding from the moment the gavel hits the block. The transparent system is particularly popular for those living in, or looking for, highly-competitive property areas where homes are snapped up quickly, and gazumping cases are frequent.
Our service options cover South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire
Select our ONLINE FLEXI PACKAGE with the option to UPGRADE to our FULL ESTATE AGENCY SERVICE PACKAGE.
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netmyhouse.com is the online division of Merryweathers with 8 offices serving South Yorkshire since 1832.
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When you’re moving home, there’s so much to think about and organise. To help make the process a little simpler, why not check out our quick checklist of utility reminders.
- Post:Those final bills, magazine subscriptions or the store card vouchers you’ve been saving up may still be addressed to your previous home. To give you time to change your address on everything, you can set up post redirection through the Post Office (though be aware you will have to pay a fee).
- Internet:Agh what will I do without Netflix?! Speak to your current provider about your contract terms as sometimes you’ll be able to transfer it over to your new house or it could be a chance to shop around if you’re finishing your contract. You’ll need to book a date for installation though and that could take several weeks so try and plan ahead if possible.
- Gas & Electric:Let your current energy supplier know you’ll be moving at least 2 days before you move and take your final meter readings to pass on so that you get an accurate bill. When you move home you can stay with the provider or change to a new one, and make sure you take the new meter readings when you move in.
- Banks:Inform your bank and any credit and store cards of your new address as soon as possible, to make sure all of your communications are coming through to the right property and that you have the correct billing address set up.
- TV license:If you’ve paid your TV licence annually up front, you just need to change your address with them and the contract will carry on as usual. If you’re moving in with someone then you will only need one licence per household.
- Council Tax:Get in touch with your local council to finalise your current bill, and get set up with your new council as soon as possible as you need to pay from the date you move in. Council Tax differs in amount per area, per property type and even by the amount of people in the property.
- Doctors & Dentists:There may be a waiting list for good doctor and dentist surgeries in your new local area so sign up with your new address as soon as possible – you never know when you may need them.
- Water:As with your energy suppliers, your water supplier also needs to be notified and you need to have your details changed with them. Your new area’s water supplier will contact you once you’ve moved in to work out a payment plan with them.
- Insurance:Do you have your buildings and contents insurance planned? If you’re renting, find out which you’re covered on (usually building insurance will have been sorted by your landlord). If you’re buying, be aware that you need to have building insurance from the point of exchange, not on completion – so make sure you remember to sign up.
Moving home is a busy and stressful experience at the best of times, with a great deal of organisation required to make everything run smoothly. Unfortunately, there’s now something else you need to add to the list: checking broadband speed. Thankfully this one is fairly simple, though internet access can have a surprising impact for home buyers, renters, landlords and sellers so it’s something everyone should consider.
Broadband and homes
Broadband is becoming increasingly important, to the point it can potentially impact sale and letting prices. A recent survey carried out by Broadband Genie found that 78% would be put off renting or buying a property if it had slow broadband, and 28% would be willing to pay more for a home with fast internet. Despite this, only 30% of respondents said they research broadband prior to renting or purchasing their current home.
Other studies have also found that broadband can have a surprising effect on home purchases, rentals and sales. A report by the London School of Economics examined 15 years of data and found that house prices increased by an average of 3% when broadband speed doubled. It’s especially concerning for landlords and sellers in the countryside, as a study from Savills highlighted that 70% of landlords said that slow broadband speeds were limiting their ability to let properties in rural areas.
What this all means is that whether you’re selling a home, looking for somewhere to buy or rent or are a landlord considering a rental opportunity, broadband is something you must take into consideration.
Checking broadband speeds
Checking potential broadband performance is easy (and free) but there are a few things you should know in order to get the most accurate information.
First off, any ISP can check broadband coverage. This can be done via the web site or by calling up the support or sales line. However an ISP is only going be interested in telling you about the services they provide. That’s fine if your intention was to stick with the same ISP, but it can be a good idea to get a broader, unbiased overview.
Finally, when you sign up for a new broadband deal your ISP should always provide an accurate speed estimate, usually as a range showing the potential lowest and highest speed. Keep a record of this. Any provider that’s signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice must investigate complaints about speed as a technical support issue. If they are unable to fix the problem, you are permitted to switch to a cheaper deal or cancel the contract without charge.
You can check the broadband speed of property on Rightmove via the property listing or by clicking here.
You may have heard various reports about changes to Help to Buy schemes and the ISA over the past few months. Below, get the lowdown on whether any of them could help you if you’re looking to get on the housing ladder.
The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will be finishing at the end of 2016. This scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a property up to the value of £600,000 within the UK. Buyers need a 5% deposit and they have to occupy the property once purchased, as their only property.
What are my other options?
The Equity Loan Scheme will still be available after the end of this year. This scheme differs to the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme as it is open to first-time buyers and existing homeowners with a minimum of 5% deposit, and the government lets you borrow 20% more, so you only need a mortgage for 75%. This scheme is only available on new build homes up to the value of £600,000 and only if the developer advertises it and if you don’t own any other properties when you buy using this scheme. You won’t accumulate any interest on the 20% loan for the first five years.
The Welsh Equity Loan Scheme is the same at the English one, except that it is on new builds up to the value of £300,000.
The Scottish Equity Loan Scheme is slightly different. Available on affiliated new builds up to £250,000, first-time buyers and existing homeowners need a minimum deposit of 5%. The Scottish Government will then add an equity stake of between 10% and 20% of the property’s value if you are eligible.
Not planning to buy a property for several years yet? You could utilise the Help to Buy ISA Scheme from the government, in which you are allowed to add up to £200 a month into the account, which the government matches at £50 for every £200. They will continue to add this ratio, up to a maximum of £3,000 on their part. There are rules and regulations around the use of the ISA so make sure you read up here.
The government has recently announced a proposed change of route in HS2 causing consternation for many homeowners in the South Yorkshire area. The proposals if approved by the Secretary of State would see a station change from Meadowhall to Sheffield and a route change to the east, north of Chesterfield and via the East of Rotherham alongside the M18. Home owners potentially affected by the proposals are understandably angry as demonstrated by recent local protests and presently in limbo pending confirmation of this proposal which is expected towards the end of the year. House sales within these areas have already been aborted due to this uncertainty and Merryweathers are committed to providing any assistance where possible to those affected.
Following the Governments recent announcement to increase the Stamp Duty levy upon second homes, local solicitors have reported an unprecedented level of business running up to 31st March 2016 deadline in which purchasers needed to complete to avoid the increased charges. The increased levels of business have also been further exaggerated by the proximity to the financial year end (5th April 2016) with many sellers keen to complete sales before this date in order to take advantage of capital gains tax allowances.