Farmland has its own lease/tenancy system. The Agriculture Holdings Act (AHA), 1986 gave tenants considerable security of tenure but changes brought about in the Agriculture Tenancies Act (ATA), 1995 made significant changes.
If a tenancy was granted before 1st September 1995, the AHA may of course still apply, but only ATA will apply to tenancies granted after that date.
AHA tenancies can be problematic for the owner of the farmland and can prompt a series of questions; Was the tenancy an oral one? Did it exclude assignment? Was a tenancy from year to year? Or was it a licence giving exclusive occupation? Was it originally a fixed term tenancy even if the original term has ended?
The tenant enjoys considerable protection under the AHA and he must make sure he takes advantage of it.
Under ATA tenancies, the position is essentially reversed. The tenant has no security of tenure and no right to renew, unless he falls within certain exemptions. A fixed term tenancy of more than 2 years has to be terminated in accordance with the ATA, but no notice is required for a tenancy for a lesser period.
Licences may be needed to occupy or tenancies for ground used for horses. A tenant may have security of tenure under the Landlord & Tenant Act, 1954 if the land is not used for agriculture, to which strict definitions apply.
We Can Help
At McMillan Williams, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including agricultural tenants and landowners. Our specialist commercial property solicitors are experts in the complexities of agricultural leases and tenancies and we can help to ensure that your matter is resolved to your satisfaction.
If you are engaged in a dispute with your landowner or tenant or are about to negotiate the terms of an agricultural tenancy agreement and would like to speak to our team of specialist lawyers, call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.