It’s the time of year when everyone should check their tenancies or other farming agreements as ‘Michaelmas’ (29th September) is fast approaching. Whilst agricultural tenancies can start on any day of the year, the most common is probably 29th September. This traditionally coincides well with the end of the harvest and growing season, before preparations begin for another year.

If you want to terminate your tenancy or start a rent review, it is critical that you serve the appropriate notice by this date. If you miss it by a couple of days, it would mean having to wait a further 12 months before any change can happen.

The right agreement?

It’s also worth checking if your current agreement is fit for purpose. Many agreements are put in place and left to roll on, year to year, without much thought about if they are doing what was intended. If you have the wrong agreement, it could have dramatic impacts on a wide range of issues such as your tax liabilities and security of tenure.

The Options

There are a wide range of different land occupation agreements and each one suits very different circumstances and attracts very different rent or payment levels. If you’re not sure what agreement you have in place or if it suits your objectives, please call us for a free consultation and we will happily review your situation.

Here is a whirlwind guide to the most common types of agreements and tenancies:

  • Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy – long term traditional tenancy, would have started over 20 years ago, very strict rules and procedures.
  • Farm Business Tenancy – modern farm tenancy, more flexible terms and short term agreements available
  • Grazing licence – short term, not a tenancy, just a licence to graze or mow grass crop
  • Share farming – typically a joint venture shared risk between landowner and contractor
  • Contract farming – similar to share farming but often less of a joint venture, contractor takes on more of the work

Whatever agreement you have in place it is important to remember that whilst the paper agreement is important, so is what is happening on the ground. It’s all well and good agreeing one thing on paper, but if you are acting differently then the agreement might not stand up to scrutiny. It is therefore critical to put in place an agreement that is practically achievable as well as meeting your other objectives.

If you would like further advice with regards to anything mentioned above, please contact Charles on 01684 325215 or 07814 033449.