Farming and Property Bulletin – November 2015

Basic Payment Scheme Update

The RPA is currently sending out a leaflet updating BPS claimants on their progress and what happens next. During October, the RPA were working on entitlement and land transfers submitted by RLE1 forms and will confirm with each party once this has been completed. This month the BPS payment rates are due to be announced and anyone who applied for entitlements from the National Reserve or Young Farmer Scheme will know if they have been successful. The RPA are still aiming for the majority of payments to be made by 31st December and will contact anyone who will not receive payment until after the end of January.

 

Exchange Rate for BPS Payments Set

 

The Euro exchange rate to be applied to convert euros to sterling for the purpose of the Basic Payment Scheme 2015 payments has been set.

It is the average of the European Central Bank exchange rates set throughout September 2015.  It was announced on the 30th September that it will be €1 = £73129.  This is the lowest rate since SPS 2007 when €1 = £0.69680.

 

Official Opening of the Livery Companies New Hall

Julian Sayers met HRH The Princess Royal in his capacity as Chairman of Farmers & Flectchers Hall Limited at the official opening of the Livery Companies new Hall following the £1.6 million refurbishment programme.

Her Royal Highness, a former Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, kindly conducted the proceedings and was delighted with the new facilities which the refurbished Hall provides.

Adkin Wedding

We would like to congratulate Julian on his marriage to Dee on the 11th September.  It was a beautiful Autumn day and we wish them both all the best for the future.

Julian Dee Wedding (2)

Farming and Property Bulletin – September 2015

Delays to Environmental Stewardship Payments

Natural England has advised that payments under Environmental Stewardship (ELS, HLS etc) will be later than usual this year. This is due to the extension of the annual claim deadline by a month and the lengthy process of cross-checking between BPS and agri-environment submissions. Payments should begin in October with most being paid in November and December.

September 2015

Residential Property – Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been published in draft and are due to come into force on 1st October 2015.

The Regulations state that landlords must:

  1. Ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.
  2. Ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
  3. Make checks to ensure that each alarm is in proper working order on the start of a new tenancy.   

The phrase “solid fuel burning combustion appliance” is not defined in the Regulations, but guidance from the Health and Safety Executive suggests that both open fires and wood burning stoves fall within that description.

The Regulations apply to “relevant landlords”, defined as:

  1. The immediate landlord
  2. of residential premises in England
  3. which are let on a tenancy which grants one or more persons the right to occupy all or part of the premises as their only or main residence.

It therefore seems likely that, as with the Gas Safety Regulations, these Regulations will apply to houses let under an AHA tenancy or a Farm Business Tenancy, or residential premises which are part of a business tenancy, as well as property let under a residential tenancy.

The requirement to check that alarms are in working order only applies to new tenancies starting on or after 1st October 2015. This does not include a new periodic tenancy arising on the end of a fixed term shorthold tenancy, nor any other tenancy arising on the end of an earlier tenancy where the landlord, the tenant and the premises are all the same or substantially the same. A tenancy granted in pursuance of an agreement entered into before 1st October 2015 is also excluded from the requirement for checks. However in the spirit of best practice and to minimise risk it is advisable to ensure that all let residential property have alarms installed. It may also be a requirement of your insurance policy in any event.

A landlord who fails to comply with the Regulations may be served with a remedial notice by the local housing authority. The notice must specify the premises, state the breach, specify the remedial action required and give the landlord 28 days to comply. The landlord may challenge a remedial notice within 28 days. If the landlord does not challenge the notice or carry out the work required, the local authority may arrange for the remedial action to be carried out, with the consent of the occupier. Where a landlord is in breach of the Regulations and has been served with a remedial notice, a local authority may also charge a penalty of up to £5,000. The landlord has a right of appeal against a penalty charge notice to the First Tier Tribunal.

 

Countryside Stewardship – Application Window Now Open

Applications for the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme are now open.

The main priority for Countryside Stewardship is to protect and enhance the natural environment, in particular the diversity of wildlife (biodiversity) and water quality. Other outcomes include:

  • flood management;
  • the historic environment;
  • landscape character;
  • genetic conservation; and
  • educational access.

The scheme is jointly run by Natural England, Forestry Commission England and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra.

The Countryside Stewardship manual is only available online and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-manual

The options and supplements and capital items guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-manual-print-version These documents explain the requirements for capital items and annual management options and supplements under the Countryside Stewardship scheme.

The application window is open from the 1st July to the 30th September. Applications are competitive and there is no guarantee your application will be successful. Natural England will notify those who have been successful in November. The Agreement will then commence on the 1st January 2016. If you miss the application window this year or you are unsuccessful you will have to wait until July 2016 to apply. Due to the move to annual start dates those Agreements will not start until January 2017.

If you are interested in Countryside Stewardship and would like to talk about it in more detail, or need help making an application, please contact Emily Ham.

Congratulations to Jess Allen

Adkin are pleased to announce that Jess Allen has recently been successful in passing the Assessment of Professional Competence with the RICS and is now a fully qualified Surveyor. Many congratulations from all at Adkin!