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Tue 21 January 2020
The Agriculture Bill and Proposed Changes to Farm Tenancies
From our offices in East Grinstead, Petworth and Guildford, RH & RW Clutton manages thousands of acres let on both traditional tenancies and Farm Business Tenancies (FBT). By far the greater part of these involve landlords and tenants who work together for long term sustainability, and where tenancy law is on a back burner.
There will, however, be occasions where disputes arise and the proposed introduction of low cost and speedy dispute resolution is to be welcomed.
The Agriculture Bill proposes changes to Agricultural Tenancies including succession rights, landlords consent for variation of terms, determination of rent and ending tenancies.
There are landlords who have included terms in their tenancy arrangements designed to secure long term environmental goals, like covenants on the tenant not to plough permanent pasture. The Bill proposes that a third party should decide the terms of a tenancy that has been freely entered into by the parties.
In addition, the existing rules allow the child (or close relative) of a tenant to inherit a traditional tenancy, but only if that party does not already have their own farm. It is proposed that this rule is to be abandoned, which will be of concern to some of our Clients.
Oliver Harwood, a partner and land agent at RH & RW Clutton, is Chairman of the Agricultural Law Association (ALA) Professional Committee and is available for further comment on the changes proposed by The Agriculture Bill.