Farming talk: Repairing obligations

The Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 makes no provision with regards to repairs or dilapidations claims.

Kathryn Williams, director and RICS registered valuer at Davis Meade Property Consultants
Kathryn Williams, director and RICS registered valuer at Davis Meade Property Consultants

It is left to the parties to decide on the terms imposed within the agreement relating to these areas.

This is a contrasting position when comparing the situation to an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 agreement where the parties are free to reach an agreement, however in the absence of an agreement the act has the fall-back provision of the model clauses that ensure every item of repair is allocated to either the landlord or tenant.

It is often seen that the model clauses are incorporated into farm business tenancy agreements, however careful drafting should be considered to ensure the correct version of the model clauses are used and that any updates or amendments are also applicable.

An obligation to repair requires that the holding is maintained in a substantial but not a perfect state of repair. It should be noted that different interpretations may be applied when considering short or long term leases and also where regard is held to the age, character or locality of a holding.

Consideration will also be given to the general condition of the holding when the lease is taken on as it provides guidance as to the intentions of the parties and the standards expected. It is useful to have a record of condition at the start of a lease, however in the absence of such evidence the holding will be assumed to have been in tenantable repair.

The specific wording within an agreement should be carefully considered before signing any tenancy agreement such as 'repair', 'to keep in repair', 'to keep in proper working order', 'to leave in repair/to yield up in repair', 'to keep wind and water tight', 'fair wear and tear' etc.

For further advice on repairing obligations please feel free to call me on 07971583638 or email kathrynwilliams@dmpcuk.com

Kathryn Williams is director and RICS registered valuer at Davis Meade Property Consultants

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