Agricultural tenancy reform consultation

Posted by LindaStenner on August 8, 2019

Agricultural tenancy reform consultation

August 08, 2019 at 12:04 PM

Defra is planning changes to agricultural tenancy law aimed at boosting productivity and making it easier to get in and out of the industry.

The move follows a report produced two years ago by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, a cross industry body including representatives from the farmers, landowners, land agents and valuers.

“The report was commissioned by Defra to address productivity and support structural change in the industry and our package of proposals is now being considered in the tenancy reform consultation,” explained Shropshire land agent Philip Meade, who sits on the TRIG panel.

Among the proposals was the idea that an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy could be assignable, so that an older farmer who wanted to retire but did not have children to inherit the tenancy would be able to assign the tenancy to a third party or enter into surrender negotiations on the tenancy with their landlord. Defra’s consultation is also suggesting amending the minimum age of 65 for a succession on retirement under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and removing succession rights when the tenant reaches five years past the state pension age.

Also included in the consultation is a provision to vary or even over ride some restrictive covenants within Agricultural tenancies which are problematic or are likely to become so, especially with the major changes revolving around environmentally-based income that we are likely to see in the next few years.

Philip Meade said they have also looked at Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 restrictions on landowners issuing tenancies on their land without permission from a lender, who might have a charge over that land.

“They are also considering a call for evidence on the repossession of agricultural land requiring banks to get a possession order from the courts before seizing land,” said Mr Meade.

“There is currently significant pressure from the tenanted sector to see longer tenancies to allow tenant farmers to plan and invest in the farm businesses for the long term. At the same time, many landlords are trying to get land back in hand so they can benefit from lucrative tax relief. Whether or not a middle ground to satisfy all parties can be achieved remains to be seen”

For further details contact Philip Meade at Davis Meade Property Consultants, Oswestry on 01691 659658 or email philipmeade@dmpcuk.com

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