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    Farm Tenancies See Long Awaited Changes
12/10/06

The Tenant Farmers Association is delighted that after many years of lobbying significant changes are to be introduced to the legislation governing agricultural tenancies.



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Following a debate in the House of Lords on October 16, the statutory changes will be introduced by a Regulatory Reform Order (RRO).

TFA National Chairman Reg Haydon said “Since the introduction of the 1995 Agricultural Tenancies Act, which revolutionised the law in relation to farm tenancies, we have been concerned that the pendulum had swung too far in the favour of landlords.  Whilst traditional, secure tenancies taken out before 1995 were protected, we were greatly concerned that new tenants and those making changes to their tenancies, were at a disadvantage.  These changes, if applied properly, should help to ease those concerns”.

The Government established the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG) with representatives of landlords, tenants and professional bodies as a response to the TFA’s lobbying.  TRIG was charged with producing a consensus view on the way forward.

The changes it recommended and now to be introduced include:

  1. Greater flexibility on the nature and conduct of rent reviews.
  2. Removal of potential pitfalls in tenancy succession to the next generation.
  3. The ability to add land and buildings to traditional, secure tenancies - previously impossible.
  4. Reforms to the rules on compensation for tenant’s improvements.
  5. Removal of the maximum length of a notice to quit for some types of tenancy.

“Taken together, these changes are more about evolution than revolution.  They will provide extremely important, extra flexibility for both landlords and tenants but it will be important that the Government pays close attention to monitoring how they are used.” said Mr Haydon.

The TFA is however disappointed that the Government has made little or no progress on forwarding TRIG’s ideas for fiscal reform in relation to agricultural tenancies.

“TRIG’s recommendations were framed as a package of legislative and fiscal reforms.  The progress we have made on the legislative proposals is great but their impact will be diminished if we do not have the carefully thought through, taxation changes that TRIG also proposed.  We will be asking the Government to review urgently its progress on considering those changes too.  We have received, so far, a deafening silence from the Treasury.” said Mr Haydon.

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