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 firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Gemma at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.