Stop Press: #RuBrief Season Ticket special offer for online seminars for the rural professional

We are offering a cut-price season ticket for this year’s series of online seminars for a limited period.  Full details here

Get 25% off if you book your #RuBrief season ticket before 22nd March at Midnight

  • Get priority access to #RuBrief content ~ Each session is limited to 30 participants
  • Register over 10 Hours of Formal CPD
  • Receive recording of the session within 24hrs even if you can’t attend the live session
  • Exclusive invitation to #RuBrief Peer Group on Linkedin to ask questions and get answers at the point of need.

Season ticket price for 9 sessions :

Standard ticket £50 = £337.5 instead of £450

RICS, CAAV or CLA members £40 = £270 instead of £360.

RICS APC Candidates £30 = £202.5 instead of £360

Book today and you could also join us for our Friday session (16 March) on the General Data Protection Regulation, or the re-run of this session on Friday 27 April

Your #RuBrief Season programme:

Note: If you have already signed up for one of the following contact us and will issue a refund for each individually booked session if you would rather buy a season ticket instead.

  1. “Trustees and beneficiaries of rural estates business best practice” on 23 Mar 2018 – 09:30
  2. “Inheritance Tax: the key rural reliefs for valuers and estate managers – use them or lose them!” on 18 May 2018 09:30
  3. “Practical preparation for Brexit on the farm and rural estate on 29 Jun 2018” – 09:30
  4. “Compulsory purchase: new legislation and cases from 2016 and 2017” on 13 Jul 2018 – 09:30
  5. “Ten key strategic issues for rural estate owners and managers” on 14 Sep 2018 – 09:30
  6. “Making the grade as an expert witness” on 12 Oct 2018 – 09:30
  7. “Targeted effective concise: how to write professionally and effectively” on 26 Oct 2018 – 09:30
  8. “New accounting regulations: the implications for rural valuers” on 23 Nov 2018 – 09:30
  9. “Latest on Brexit, rural taxation and other key strategic developments for rural estates and farms” on 7 Dec 2018 – 09:30
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Two really useful CPD events at Harper Adams

Two forthcoming events at Harper Adams University, Shropshire should be of great interest to practising rural surveyors, valuers and other rural land managers.  The first event sees us joined by Barry Denyer Green of Falcon Chambers for a question-time event on compulsory purchase.  The second is a new rural research conference being hosted at Harper Adams for the first time.

COMPULSORY PURCHASE QUESTION TIME WITH AN EXPERT PANEL: 9 MARCH 2018

  • Barry Denyer Green of Falcon Chambers
  • Roger Bedson of Hinson Parry
  • Philip Meade of Davis Meade Property Consultants
  • Charles Cowap, Harper Adams University (chairman)

When? Friday 9 March, buffet lunch 12.45 for 13.15, followed by Question Time event at 14.00 to 15.15 and followed by tea and biscuits
Who? Renowned authority, barrister Barry Denyer-Green PhD HonRICS, HS2 Petitioner and Regional Compulsory Purchase Association organiser Roger Bedson FRICS FAAV, Partner in Hinson Parry and Philip Meade FRICS ACIarb RICS Dispute Resolution Standards chair and highly experienced arbitrator
What? A question-time style session with our distinguished panel looking at the current state of compulsory purchase. After a few opening remarks from each panel member we will throw the discussion open to the floor. We invite you to send your questions in beforehand, but we will also be able to take some questions on the day as well, by email to cdcowap@harper-adams.ac.uk
Where? Harper Adams University, near Edgmond, Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB. Look out for the parking signs on the day.
Why? A unique opportunity to discuss the current state of our compulsory purchase code with leading authorities on the subject, and to network with fellow professionals with shared interests in this work.
How? Book and pay on the Harper Adams website at this link (or download a booking form from the same link) Cost £45+VAT (£54 including VAT) including lunch, parking and all refreshments.

RURAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE 18 APRIL 2018

This year’s programme covers a  wide range of topics including Farm tenancies, valuation, compulsory purchase, energy, health and safety, agricultural property relief, natural capital, professional negligence and others, all adding up to 6.5 hours CPD.  Latest information on the programme and booking details available on the Harper Adams website at this link.

And not forgetting the next in the Online Seminar Series with Syncskills if you prefer to update your CPD from the comfort of your office or home.  Next topic covers the role of trusts and trustees in the management of rural estates.  Between these three events you could easily cover all your CPD requirements for the year, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Measure for Measure

Philip Meade has published a post on his Dispute Resolution blog which serves as an excellent reminder of some of the good practice surveying basics: points which are just as useful to a trainee or newly-qualified surveyor as they are to an experienced arbitrator.  I’m delighted to reproduce it below:

Despite our professional roots in land surveying it is not uncommon as an arbitrator to come across valuation disputes in which the precise location and extent of the original problem is far from c…

Source: Measure for Measure

80% of tied cottage occupiers could face tax on empty bedrooms

Thank you to everybody who responded to my survey on tied housing.  I have now offered the following observations in response to the HMRC consultation’s suggestion that the tax and National Insurance treatment of tied housing as a benefit in kind should be based on its full rental value.

The suggestion that all employer provided accommodation should be taxed on the basis of its full market rental value could therefore have significant implications for [rural] occupiers, many of whom are likely to be at the lower end of the pay range.  This in turn is likely to lead to greater pay pressures on employers at a time when there is no sign of agricultural volatility decreasing and when those same employers are facing the additional costs of extended pension rights etc.
It is also worth highlighting the contrast with Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and Housing Benefit (HB) if the proposal to move to full rental value were to go ahead.  LHA and HB are both restricted according to the number of bedrooms the occupier is deemed to need and LHA is further restricted to the lower level of rent prevailing in the district.  80% of the respondents to my survey would find their entitlement restricted if they were LHA or HB claimants, yet would almost certainly find it impossible to move to alternative accommodation without changing their job.

The online survey was undertaken between Monday 4 January and Tuesday 2 February 2016 using SurveyMonkey. No attempt was made to define a particular population beyond occupiers of employer provided living accommodation generally, with attention drawn to the survey via social media (twitter, LinkedIn, charlescowap.wordpress.com) and direct approaches to contacts in the rural economy. I cannot claim that the survey is representative of a particular group, nor that the results should therefore be treated as compelling. It does however provide a persuasive insight into the housing arrangements for people employed in some sectors of the rural economy.

Key findings:

  • Number of respondents: 25, all of whom live in accommodation provided by employers
  • Twenty pay no rent for their accommodation (80%), while five pay some rent (20%). Nobody claimed to pay full market rent.
  • Size of accommodation ranged from one to six or more bedrooms, Table 1

Table One: Number of bedrooms

Number of bedrooms Number of dwellings
1 2
2 4
3 5
4 8
5 4
6 or more 2
Total 25

 

  • The twenty five dwellings were occupied by a total of 70 people, ranging from single occupiers to couples with one or more children.
  • One respondent worked in education. Most respondents (n=17) worked on rural estates and seven occupiers worked in agriculture. There were no respondents from the forestry, licensed trade, security, other estate or property management or finance and banking sectors.
  • Two respondents paid Income Tax or National Insurance on the value of their accommodation but the majority did not (n=19, 76%). One respondent did not wish to answer this question and a further three did not know.

The data were further analysed as to the suitability of the accommodation for the size of the family unit living there. This was done by reference to the qualifying bedroom criteria for Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit.

  • Of the 25 households, twenty would have had their entitlement to benefit restricted due to an excessive number of bedrooms. This would have affected 58 of the 70 people covered by the survey. Examples of those excluded included:
  • 10 out of 11 couples in the survey occupying property of two or more bedrooms;
  • Two couples with children over 16 occupying houses with more than four bedrooms;
  • Two couples with one child under 16 occupying houses with more than three bedrooms.

One respondent who had lived in employer provided accommodation offered the following observations in response to the survey:

“Having lived in service accommodation for many years I’d comment:

1 In accepting a position where I was required to live in service accommodation to meet my contractual obligations I had no choice in the location (edge of pig farm)type of housing, nearby education, or standard of maintenance and external environment

2 There is an implicit and unpaid expectation that there will be a significant and unpaid additional labour contribution – unlocking for out of hours lorries and loading/unloading, telephone, attending sick animals

3 Additional taxation of such housing as a benefit could break that relationship and would require an employer to pay more for out of hours service

4 We never thought of service accommodation as a benefit, but a liability, knowing that when job terminated we would have to move so saved and invested every penny to buy a flat first, then a house, for long term security” (Mr John Stones, former director Nuffield Farming Scholarships)

Implications

Questions 9 and 10 of the HMRC Consultation, Employer Provided Living Accommodation, Call for Evidence (January 2016) ask what proportion of employees provided with accommodation pay rent, how much rent do they pay, how is the value paid as rent calculated before going on to suggest that a move to market rental value would provide a simplification to the tax system.

The findings of this survey suggest that very few occupiers in the rural economy pay any rent at all, and that a move to full market rental value could have disproportionate effects on occupiers who have little or no choice over the size of the accommodation provided for them. A move to market rental value as the basis of taxable benefit is likely to lead to upward pressure on pay in order to compensate for the extra cost, and with this consequences for employer costs including increased National Insurance contributions.

 

 

Introducing ‘Blight’ – Planning Blight and Compulsory Purchase

I have made four presentations on the topic of planning blight and compulsory purchase.  These are primarily for the land management students at Harper Adams University, but they may be of interest to a wider audience.  The first video describes statutory blight, and deals with the types of owner and property which qualify for blight protection under the Planning Acts.  The second video deals with the procedures for the successful service of a blight notice up to and including a reference to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).  Video Three addresses the specific and special requirements for blight notices on farmland and the final video in the series reviews discretionary blight, while also picking up some of the advance purchase and compensation schemes which have been initiated by HS2.

Happy Viewing!