By Mark Barrow, associate director, H&H Land & Estates

IT IS easy to lose track of time during these unprecedented coronavirus times.

However, with Rural Payments Agency (RPA) claim and transfer deadlines it is something that cannot be done.

Within South Lakeland, we have had to make changes to the way we work and communicate with clients, but I feel that the service we have been able to offer has been maintained. Clients have been very understanding and have had lots of stories to tell. I must say the team has really rallied together in a busy period for the land agency.

I am hearing all sorts of reports on the property market but, from a rural agency point of view, I set a closing date for offers on three lots last week and all either met or surpassed their guides. Today I have been dealing with the closing date for a barn with planning permission and 30 acres of land, and have been astounded by the level of interest. I do wonder how many of the interested parties had an added motivation to look for a rural retreat with very few neighbours, given the country’s current predicament.

My last call was with a solicitor regarding the private sale of a large block of land. For those of you familiar with RPA processes and announcements, it has pushed the May 15 deadline back until June 15.

Unfortunately, the transfer deadline remains the same and I have been getting a little concerned with who was going to be in the position to claim and whether I could confidently make the transfer. I am pleased to say that call meant one of tonight’s jobs is to make the transfer as that sale has now completed too.

For the last number of weeks, as with most of you, I have been restricted to my home and dining room table but this is the first week that I am now able to visit properties and advise clients as long as it is in the open air and within social-distancing guidelines.

Hopefully, the blue skies remain for those of you silaging and for us to get out and take our sales photos and records of condition.

My next major task now that the majority of Basic Payment Scheme claims are complete is to start with Countryside Stewardship applications. I fear, however, with large RPA plans and application forms to complete, I am going to be battling my other half Becca for the dining room table!