Agricultural landlord and tenant code of practice for England: New guidelines for rural tenancies

Tue 21st May 2024

The Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Code of Practice for England (“the Code”) came into force on 8 April 2024. This initiative comes in response to the Rock Review, which was commissioned by the government a year ago. It examines the challenges and frictions within the tenanted farming sector.

The Rock Review, driven by insights from the Tenancy Working Group, highlighted significant issues in landlord and tenant relations in the agricultural sector. This prompted the formation of the Farm Tenancy Forum, which, after much deliberation and consultation, crafted the Code. Its primary aim is to mend and enhance these critical relationships through three foundational principles: clarity, communication, and collaboration.

What does the new Code entail and what will this mean for landlords and tenants in the agricultural community? Pam Johns, Head of Rural Services at Coodes, explains. 

What the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Code of Practice for England Entails

Although the Code is not legally binding, its influence is expected to grow. This is especially as it is likely to be incorporated into new tenancy agreements with the Code then becoming binding.

The Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Code of Practice addresses several key areas:

Grant of Tenancy: It outlines what information should be transparent when a tenancy is offered. This includes the expectations from the tenant regarding proposals for the farm, as well as their experience and qualifications.

Routine Engagement: The Code advises regular meetings throughout the tenancy term to discuss matters such as rent, repairs, and improvements, as well as participation in environmental schemes.

Termination and Renewal: It emphasises the importance of early discussions on tenancy renewal or termination to circumvent significant costs.

Dispute Resolution: There is guidance on managing disputes and recommended approaches to resolve them promptly.

Role of Professional Advisers and Agents: These professionals are encouraged to make their clients aware of the Code and to promote compliance with its guidelines.

The Impact on the Agricultural Community

The introduction of the Code has been met with approval from the agricultural community. This positive reception is understandable given the pivotal role of the tenanted sector in the rural economy. By fostering better communication and clearer agreements, the Code aims to create more sustainable and productive landlord-tenant relationships. These are essential for the prosperity and stability of rural enterprises.

For Landlords and Tenants

For landlords and tenants navigating the rural property market, understanding, and integrating the principles of the Code into their business operations and legal frameworks will be increasingly important. Both parties are encouraged to consult with their legal and professional advisers to ensure their contracts and practices align with the new guidelines.

Navigating Rural Tenancies

The Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Code of Practice for England represents a significant step forward in refining the structure of rural tenancies. It underscores the importance of transparency and mutual cooperation, which are crucial for the long-term health of the agricultural sector. As this Code starts to shape new tenancy agreements, it will undoubtedly influence the landscape of rural tenancies for the better.

For further insights and detailed guidance on how this might affect your tenancy agreements or negotiations, contact Pam Johns, Head of Rural Services at Coodes, via email or by calling 01409 255902. Alternatively, you can find other ways to contact us or fill in our online contact form here.

Tue 21st May 2024

Pam Johns

Head of Rural Services

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