Tenancies and Farm Business Tenancies

20th July 2017
Tenancies and Farm Business Tenancies image

Agricultural Holdings Act/Tenancies

Agricultural Tenancies entered into before January 1996 are governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1986. They are known as Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) Tenancies and offer the tenant security of tenure. They also have beneficial terms for the tenant relating to reviewing the rent

AHA Tenancies ordinarily run for an agreed length of contractual term but then continue from year to year after that contractual term until brought to an end by the correct notice. The tenant then has an opportunity to challenge that notice and could bring proceedings in the Agricultural Land Tribunal. The Agricultural Land Tribunal (except in very limited circumstances) is obliged to let the tenant remain in occupation.

An AHA Tenancy also gives a right for someone who has worked closely with the tenant to claim succession of the tenancy upon the death of he tenant. There can be two applications for succession of any AHA Tenancy; it is easy to see therefore that an AHA tenancy can be in existence for many years and at least two generations. If the tenant is a company the tenancy could go on indefinitely

Worryingly, many farmers/ land owners did not even know that they were entering into AHA’s at the time of so doing as the legislation did mean that many agricultural licences were converted into AHA’s.

Compare AHA Tenancies with the Farm Business Tenancy (FBT) however. An FBT is an agricultural tenancy that was created after January 1996 when the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 came into force. This made the agricultural tenancy more akin to the tenancies that the rest of the commercial world was using. The FBT allowed the parties freedom to contract. The FBT is far more flexible in that the parties can readily agree what they want in relation to rent, rent reviews and term etc.

How can the above affect me?

If you are a tenant and have one of the above tenancies it is vital to understand which one so that you know your rights. If you have an AHA, you are probably in a very secure position and may be able to challenge any notice that is served. If you enter into an FBT it is important that you understand the terms that are being agreed and the ways in which the tenancy can be brought to an end.

If you are purchasing Freehold land that is subject to a tenancy it is vital that you know what type of tenancy affects the land. If it is an AHA Tenancy, chances are that you will have the current tenants on the land for some years to come without being able to increase the rent, which may affect the value of the land .An AHA Tenancy also has significant tax implications, it is important therefore to speak to someone who is suitably qualified to deal with such matters

If you want any advice in relation to AHA’s or FBT’s then please contact Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261 or email gemma.mayer@maplessolicitors.com or write to Gemma at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.


Section 8 Notice or Section 21 Notice? image

Section 8 Notice or Section 21 Notice?

There is one question a lot of landlords have asked us over the years and that is “What is the Difference Between a Section 8 and Section 21 Notice?”.

The most basic difference between a section 8 and section 21 is that a section 8 notice is served when a tenant is in breach of contract (eg rent arrears), and a section 21 is served to end a tenancy agreement, simply so that the landlord can regain possession.

A section 8 notice, or notice to quit as it is also commonly known as, is so called because it operates under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. A section 8 notice is served on the tenant by a landlord wishing to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) when the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy. You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms the tenant has broken.

Once the period of notice has lapsed and the tenants have not vacated then you can apply to the court for an Order for Possession.

If you need help in completing a Section 8 Notice with the correct notice periods and/or assistance with the grounds for possession then please contact laura.day@maplessolicitors.com or daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com and we will be happy to assist you with this.

With respect to a Section 21 notice, you can use this notice to evict your tenants either after a fixed term tenancy ends - if there’s a written contract, or during a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.

Section 21 Notices are only for use when the prescribed documents have been served on the tenant at the start of the tenancy. You cannot use a Section 21 notice if you have not given the tenants copies of:
• the property’s Energy Performance Certificate
• a current gas safety certificate for the property - You must have given the tenants a copy of the current gas safety certificate before they moved in.
• the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide
You are also required to secure the tenant’s deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This government-backed scheme ensures that the tenants get their deposit back at the end of their tenancy, so long as they have not damaged the property, have met the terms of the tenancy agreement and have paid all their rent/bills. You must ensure that such a deposit is put in a scheme within 30 days of its receipt and provided the information of where it is secured to the tenant. Failure to secure a tenant’s deposit will invalidate a Section 21 Notice.

You are also unable to use a Section 21 Notice if it is less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this.

If the tenants do not leave by the specified date then you can apply to the court for a Possession Order. You may wish to use the accelerated possession procedure if you are not claiming rent arrears as generally this route is quicker than applying for a standard possession order and there is usually no hearing involved.

If you want to claim rent arrears then you may either use the standard possession route or use the accelerated possession procedure but then make a separate claim for recovery of the outstanding rent.

The decision as to whether or not to use the section 8 or section 21 route is complex and we would recommend a landlord seeks early advice as to which mechanism to use.

If you require more advice and assistance on Section 21 Notices or which possession proceedings route would suit you then please contact laura.day@maplessolicitors.com or daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com and we will be happy to help.

Read More

Testimonials

Jamie Dobbs SCILEx

"I should like to take this opportunity to express my very sincere and grateful thanks for Jamie's unfailing helpfulness and efficiency in all aspects of the handling of my late stepmother's estate. Jamie have always replied to my (many!) queries promptly and comprehensively which has been a enormous help throughout what I know can be a fraught and stressful process. Sadly, it is increasingly rare these days to experience the highs standards of service that Jamie has provided."

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

James Turner BA

James Turner was extremely helpful with our buying process. Everything went smoothly. We are very happy with the level of professionalism demonstrated by the office. Highly recommended solicitors. Will definitely do business with them again.

Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs GCILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Donna Sandison FCILEx

Donna has been helpful and professional every step of the way during the process. Always on hand to answer any queries and totally professional and friendly at all times.