Farmers look at developing empty buildings after changes In Legislation Signals Council Tax Increase

New legislation throughout Scotland could help boost the income of farmers who have disused properties on their land. The Council Tax (variation for unoccupied dwellings) Scotland Regulations 2013 have given regional Councils the powers to vary the charges on unoccupied properties going forward. Currently the new charges are being phased in but some local authorities are increasing the Council Tax by an additional 100% tax by the end of 2015.

David Levitus, Director of Development Finance Ltd, explained, “these additional charges have been introduced to help tackle Scotland’s housing shortage and encourage property owners to let out disused properties, however many farmers are considering developing these out-buildings and properties. When the council tax rebate system was in place farmers and landowners were happy to keep these properties as they were, however in the very near future they are now going to start being a drain on precious financial resource which is why we’ve seen an increase in enquiries of this nature.”

Development Finance Ltd, based in Glasgow, specialise in funding for small property developers and steading/barn/byre conversions. As a privately owned principal lender they have a hands on approach and flexibility to look at each project uniquely and give straight answers and recommendations to anyone considering development. David said “we work with a number of small property developers around Scotland and can therefore recommend builders for steading developments with whom we have long standing partnerships. We have found in the farming sector, linking up farmers with the appropriate builder or development partner can take a lot of the pressure off -knowing they are working with someone who has come from recommendation.”

Development Finance Ltd were recently ranked 6th in Business Insiders Spirit 100 which names the fasted growing small companies in Scotland. They rapidly gained a reputation as a trusted development lender during the recession when the banks pulled back from funding property developers, at this time Development Finance Ltd provided a lifeline for small developers and continues to do so now.

Although partnering directly with farmers is a relatively new venture for the business, they are confident this is not a hurdle. Over the last year Development Finance Ltd have been approached on numerous occasions by farmers about how they can secure funding on the development of farm buildings. This has spurred them on to create a bespoke package for farmers, looking at each project on its own merit. Some are straight development projects, others conversions for holiday lets etc and a few of them have been somewhere in between. One thing is for sure, if the industry continues as it is, enquiries are only going to increase!

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