The Agriculture Bill 2020 proposes changes to the two main pieces of legislation relating to Agricultural Tenancies.
The Agricultural Holdings Act 1986
- Notices relating to third party determination of rent:
Amendments to section 12 and Schedule 2 of the 1986 Act aim to replace a demand for arbitration in the rent review process with a notice of determination which may be followed by either arbitration or third-party determination if the rent review is not agreed by the parties. This then enables a third-party to be appointed to resolve a rent dispute at any time before the rent review date as an alternative to arbitration.
- Appointment of arbitrators:
Amendments to sections 12, 22 and 84 of the 1986 Act aim to provide that the RICS, CAAV and the ALA are listed as persons that tenants and landlords may apply to for the appointment of an arbitrator to resolve disputes arising under the 1986 Act. These amendments widen the list of persons able to make such appointments. The Secretary of State is enabled to make regulations to amend the list of persons.
- Requests for landlord’s consent or variation of terms:
Paragraph 7 amends the 1986 Act by adding a new section 19A providing powers for the Secretary of State to make provision through regulations to enable tenants to refer to arbitration or third party determination requests for landlord’s consent to activities that are restricted under the terms of their tenancy agreement, or requests for a variation of terms.
- Arbitration or third-party determination of rent: relevant factors
The part of the 1986 Act which sets out the process for arbitration or third party determination of rent review disputes has been amended to specify that if, by written agreement, the tenant has agreed to make payments to the landlord for improvements to the holding that are wholly or partly financed by the landlord, such payments are to be disregarded for rent review purposes; also, that any benefit from the improvement to the tenant is to be disregarded from rent review considerations whilst the tenant is still making payments for that improvement.
- Succession on retirement: minimum age of retiring tenant
Paragraphs 19 and 20 make amendments to the 1986 Act to repeal the minimum age of 65 before which applications to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for succession on retirement can be made, so that applications for succession on retirement may be made at any age in future.
Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995
- Appointment of arbitrators:
The 1995 Act is amended to extend the list of professionals that tenants and landlords may apply to for the appointment of an arbitrator to resolve disputes arising under the 1995 Act so that it is the same as those listed in the 1986 Act. This extends the list of arbitrators so that a wider pool of arbitrators is made available and tenants and landlords have more choice.
Frank Smith & Co Solicitors 01242 801748 www.franksmithandco.com