The second version of the Agricultural Bill, introduced last month, proposes amendments to tenancies in England that are governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. These proposals are summarised below:

Restrictive Clauses

  • Tenants to be able to object if Landlords refuse consent for changes necessary to enter new financial schemes or comply with new regulations
  • If a Landlord refuses consent, then there may be the ability for tenants to apply to arbitrators or third party to resolve the dispute

Succession

  • Retirement succession applications can be made at any age of the tenant
  • Commercial unit test to no longer apply
  • Suitability tests to change so they relate to a person’s capacity to farm the holding commercially to high standards of production and environmental management

Rent Reviews

  • To replace  the existing s.12 notice demanding arbitration with a “notice of determination” which can then be followed by arbitration or third party determination
  • Benefits to the Tenants from Landlords improvements are to be disregarded in rent reviews where the tenant is making financial contributions towards those improvements.

More Arbitrator Choice

  • To improve the choice and quality of arbitration services by widening the source of arbitrators to include the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and the Agricultural Law Association.  This is in addition to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who are the current source.

It must be noted that these are all proposals at this stage, and it is likely that further reform will be sought by the NFU and the TFA in due course.

Advice on all aspects of traditional agricultural tenancies, farm business tenancies, grazing agreements and contract farming arrangements is available from our Rural Team.  Call Richard Greasby or Michael Canby on 01285 883740 ,without any obligation, to see if we can help you.

 

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