Tenancy law reforms ‘will knock down barriers’ for farmers

The government is planning to introduce legal reforms to provide more flexibility for tenant farmers, say Network partner, Cartmell Shepherd.

The proposed Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) will give greater flexibility in tenancy law, bring legislation into the 21st century and make it fit for purpose for modern farming needs, says Jonathan Carroll Director and Head of Agriculture, at Cartmell Shepherd.

Amendments include repealing the minimum succession retirement age of 65 to provide tenants with the flexibility to decide when it is right for them to retire and hand over the farm to the next generation.

A new dispute mechanism will also be introduced to enable AHA tenants to ask to vary restrictions in their tenancy agreements and make it easier for them to apply for the future Environmental Land Management scheme.

Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “Agricultural tenancies account for a third of all farmland in this country, so tackling barriers to productivity for the tenanted sector is vital for unlocking the potential of the farming industry.

“We know that our tenant farmers are some of the most engaged and innovative in the sector and it is high time that we modernise outdated legislation so that it is fit for today’s farmers and their families.

“I am pleased that we have already been able to incorporate some of these proposals into our landmark Agriculture Bill and look forward to working closely with industry to continue supporting this vibrant sector.”

Jonathan Carroll states. “The government consulted the farming sector on these changes in 2019, when it launched a 12-week discussion on proposals that would remove current barriers to productivity. This built on the work of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG), who previously provided government with advice on key policy priorities for the tenanted sector in the design of the country’s future agricultural system. We shall keep clients informed of developments.”

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article please call Jonathan on 01228 514077.