Shropshire Farming Talk: Agricultural tenancy repair obligations
There can be many differences between repairing obligations included within agricultural tenancy agreements.
But what happens if you are dealing with oral agreements and repairing obligations have never been discussed?
Firstly, you must consider whether your agreement is governed by the Agricultural Tenancies Act (ATA) 1995 or the Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) 1986.
The ATA makes no automatic provision with regards to repairs or dilapidations claims.
The decision on this matter is left entirely for the parties to decide upon.
This is a contrasting situation compared with the AHA in which the parties are free to make an agreement, however there is a fall back provision in the absence of an agreement, the Act ensures that the responsibility for every item of repair is the responsibility of one of the parties through the ‘model clauses.’
The model clauses are deemed to be included into every tenancy agreement, save where a specific agreement to the contrary has been made.
Due to the widely used nature of the model clauses, there are situations whereby the parties under an ATA agreement will agree to their inclusion within the tenancy, however this must be specifically agreed if they are to apply and the parties should ensure that any amendments or updates to the Statutory Instrument are included.
It is always prudent to check the terms of your tenancy agreement and to familiarise yourself on a regular basis with them.
Essentially, if you have an agreement that is governed by the ATA 1995, for example an oral Farm Business Tenancy agreement and repairing obligations have never been discussed between the parties, then this could become an area of contention and a more formal agreement should be reached.
It may then be prudent to look at the conduct of the parties in relation to items of repair, in order to reach an agreement on the subject.
For further information and advice on repairing obligations contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Williams, Davis Meade Property Consultants Ltd