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Government Publishes Consultation On Agricultural Tenancy Legislation Reform

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The government has published a consultation on proposals to reform agricultural tenancy in law in England.

The consultation sets out proposals which aim to remove existing barriers to productivity improvements and help bring about structural change, improving the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the tenant farming sector. The proposed changes will affect both agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (AHA 1986) and farm business tenancies (FBTs) under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (ATA 1995).

Some of the options for reform being considered include:

  • Altering the succession provisions under the AHA 1986 to allow older tenants, with no successors to assign AHA agreements to new tenant farmers on their retirement. A landlord would have the right of pre-emption to buy the retiring AHA tenant out.
  • Incentivising more landlords to let new FBTs of ten years or more by allowing a short notice provision on death, non-payment of rent or where planning permission was obtained for development.
  • Removing barriers which may currently disincentivise landlords and tenants from investing and making improvements to their AHA rented holdings.

There is also a call for evidence relating to two other matters:

  • Whether current restrictions on agricultural mortgages are a barrier to landowners wishing to let land.
  • Whether there is a need to provide additional protections against the repossession of agricultural land for farm business borrowers who are unable to meet finance repayments under secured loans.

The consultation comes in the context of the Agricultural Bill and the Food and Farming Policy Statement and seeks to ensure that current tenancy law does not prevent either a landlord or tenant’s ability to adapt to the proposed changes resulting from the proposed exiting from the Common Agricultural Policy.

The consultation will close on 2 July 2019 and runs concurrently with the Welsh Consultation, which is similar although not identical.

Source and Source

Tom Warrender

Posted:

Tom Warrender

Partner

Tom is a Solicitor and Partner with 13 years + experience advising clients in relation to commercial property matters. A Legal 500 recognised lawyer, Tom is a member of SHLA and CRELA and Heads our Commercial Property & Social Housing Teams.