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Can I grant a tenancy of my land without someone having the right to stay there for life?

The tenant must have exclusive occupation of land for a definite period of time in order for there to be an agricultural tenancy.  Whether occupation is for an “agricultural purpose” is also a question of fact.  For example, if the occupier appears to be growing crops or grazing stock on your land it is probably likely to be for agricultural purposes.   Horses fall outside the definition of agriculture for most purposes and therefore if the land is being used as part of a livery yard or riding school these are likely to be business tenancies which are governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, which tenancies may be protected and difficult to bring to an end.

If the tenancy commenced prior to 1 September 1995, an agricultural tenancy would be governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 which carries with it security of tenure provisions.  If the tenancy was created before 12 July 1984 then there are rights for two successions to take place and accordingly, the tenancy can be passed on to two future generations provided specific requirements are met.

If the tenancy commenced after 1 September 1995 it will be governed by the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 creating a farm business tenancy.  Such tenancies can be fixed for a length of time and if they are for a duration of two years or less they can carry with them short notice provisions.  If they exceed the period of two years then the tenancy can be terminated by the landlord giving not less than 12 months or more 24 months written notice ending on either the last day of the term if it is a fixed term or the anniversary of the commencement date if it is from year to year.

There are also other arrangements which can be entered into such as herbage or profit of pasturage agreements which is a right for a grazier to take the grass such as by livestock grazing the land, the landowner remains in occupation of the land and retains all rights over the land and such a grazing right is unlikely to be a tenancy.

If you wish to share occupation of the land and continue farming, then agreements such as a share farming agreements or contracting agreements can also be considered.

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