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All change for landlord and tenant - but not yet

Readers will recall that a consultation paper was issued last April regarding the legislation governing agricultural tenancies.

In the light of poor productivity growth in UK agriculture, which has lagged behind that of our competitors for decades, the paper called for legislation to encourage older and less efficient farmers to make way for younger and more enthusiastic successors. Proposed changes have now been added on to the Agriculture Bill and referenced in the Budget. On 18th March a summary of the consultation responses and proposed legislative changes was also published.

One of the key proposals in the consultation was that 1986 Act tenancies were to become assignable, subject to a 25 year term and a pre-emption right for the landlord. There were considerable concerns on this issue, with some feeling that such a move would lead to a reduction in the area of land available to rent, with landlords preferring to buy out the tenant and take land back in hand rather than assenting to the assignment. On behalf of the ICAW the committee drafted a response to the consultation expressing reservations on that point. Other respondees contributed in similar vein, since that suggestion has not made it to the Agriculture Bill, although it will no doubt be the subject of continuing discussion within the Tenancy Reform Industry Group.