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Stackyard News Aug 06

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Almost There With Farm Tenancy Law Changes

The Tenant Farmers Association is looking forward to long awaited changes to agricultural tenancy legislation being implemented this October. It is however disappointed that the changes will miss the traditional start date for autumn tenancies known as Michaelmas which falls on 29 September each year.


TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said “The process of agreeing the necessary legislative changes amongst the farming and landowning organisations was completed by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group in May 2003. We have now been waiting over 3 years for those changes to become law. The initial DEFRA timetable was to have the legislative changes in place by Michaelmas 2005 but the timetable slipped badly due to technical legal problems between DEFRA and Parliamentary draftsmen. We had hoped that the Order would be in place for this Michaelmas but recently we have been told by Ministers that it will not be in place until October at the earliest”.

The changes to be introduced include allowing greater flexibility on rent reviews and calculating compensation for tenants’ improvements within farm business tenancies, the ability to add land to existing traditional tenancies without losing the benefits of those agreements and providing more straight forward provisions for tenancy succession particularly where tenants diversify into non-agricultural activities.

“These changes will bring much needed flexibility into the landlord/tenant system and we are grateful for the Government’s support in bringing them in” said Mr Dunn.

“As the changes will not be in place in time for Michaelmas lettings this year, landlords and tenants might need to consider using holdover measures pending the introduction of the new legislation coming into force. We would advise all involved in such matters to seek professional advice before proceeding” said Mr Dunn.

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