Tenants warned to take care when signing new agreements

Posted by LindaStenner on January 12, 2021

Tenants warned to take care when signing new agreements

January 12, 2021 at 11:02 AM

Tenant farmers are being urged to carefully scrutinise any new tenancy agreements they are asked to sign as changes to clauses could restrict them from accessing potential income earning schemes in the future.

The advice comes from Shropshire land agent Philip Meade of Davis Meade Property Consultants who is concerned about some of the clauses being used in the development of standard ‘template’ Farm Business Tenancies (FBT) which insist on the tenant obtaining and maintaining maximum rights and entitlements under any new Government schemes.

“If tenants sign these sorts of agreements they risk jeopardising their opportunity to get involved in private sector biodiversity, nitrate and carbon markets,” Philip Meade said.

“Davis Meade Property Consultants is part of a consortium that is working on some ground-breaking proposals for farming involving private sector funding which could be far more lucrative and flexible than some of the proposed Government schemes.

“It would be a lost opportunity, for both landlords and tenants, to see tenancies restricted to government schemes only, thus precluding prospects for working with the private sector,” he added.

Philip Meade has been liaising with the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) on this because up to half of the tenanted sector of agriculture in England and Wales operates under FBTs and many of these tenants are not allowed to enter Government schemes to improve the environment without their landlord’s consent. Some landlords are reserving the right to take the benefit of new schemes themselves and to profit from private arrangements for carbon and biodiversity offsetting.

George Dunn, TFA Chief Executive said: “The TFA recognises the opportunity to develop new schemes targeting the environment and new markets for positive carbon and biodiversity management, however, we cannot support a situation where the funding is removed from tenant farmers and is received instead by their landlords.

“Landlords are entitled to receive rent in return for granting exclusive occupation of their land to active farmers, they should not be able to capitalise directly through Government schemes and other arrangements.

“Despite the TFA’s strong lobbying, it is unfortunate that the Government decided not to include provisions within the Agriculture Act which would have protected access to new schemes for tenants occupying under FBTs.

“The Government must now address these issues through the way it designs schemes to protect access for tenant farmers,” Mr Dunn added.

For further details contact Philip Meade at the Oswestry office of Davis Meade Property Consultants on 01691 659658 or email philipmeade@dmpcuk.com

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