Agricultural tenancies can be a minefield, and knowing and understanding what kind of tenancy is in place is key to knowing whether a Tenant can be removed and on what grounds. Much of the legislation surrounding agricultural tenancy is complex and easily misinterpreted.
Before deciding what type of tenancy is in place, the question should be is there a tenancy at all? A tenant must have exclusive occupation of the land for a definite period of time. The next question is whether or not the tenant’s use of the land is agricultural. In most cases this is quite straightforward to answer, but there can be a question regarding use, for example a fruit grower who uses part of the land for sorting and packing produce – is this agricultural or commercial use? The answer is not always as straightforward as it seems.
Having decided whether there is an agricultural tenancy in place; what kind of tenancy is this?
If created before the 1st September 1995, an agricultural tenancy will be governed by the old regime under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. If created after this date it will usually, although not always, be a Farm Business Tenancy governed by the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995.
The two pieces of legislation vary drastically in terms of the rules regarding repairs, compensation and often most importantly security of tenure and termination
If you are a Tenant and have an agricultural tenancy, it is vital that you understand which one so that you know your rights. If you are a Landlord, you need to understand the details in order to manage your tenancies optimally. The services of a good agricultural land lawyer and a good agent cannot be overstated. At Fraser Dawbarns LLP we have a dedicated Agricultural team with a wealth of knowledge, who can help you avoid some of the pitfalls.