Breach of Condition and Certificates of Lawful Use
If the occupiers of a tied dwelling have not been employed, or were not last employed, as required by the agricultural occupancy condition for a continuous period of 10 years or more, it may be possible to secure a Certificate of Lawfulness which acknowledges that the breach of condition has become immune from Enforcement Action and that it is ‘lawful’ for planning purposes.
This type of Certificate provides a highly effective solution, allowing the breach of the occupancy condition to continue unhindered. But, a Certificate of Lawfulness does not remove the agricultural occupancy condition.
It is important to be aware that a breach of condition, even with a Certificate in place, requires a continuing commitment to it i.e. the dwelling must remain occupied by persons who continue to breach the condition. This is because, in certain circumstances, the agricultural occupancy condition could come back into force.
Circumstances where this could occur would be if the dwelling became occupied by someone who complied with the agricultural occupancy condition or where the dwelling became empty and unoccupied for a significant period of time.
In these rare circumstances immunity from enforcement action, lawfulness of the breach and the Certificate itself could be lost. However, by being aware of this allows action to be taken to protect against this scenario and so negate the risk.
Certificates of this nature remain highly valuable in planning and property terms however there will be some situations where the removal of the condition, even with a Certificate in place, is both desirable and possible.
For further information about Certificates of Lawful Use or to explore the possibility of removing a condition after the grant of a Certificate, please contact us.