This proposed legislative change looks like a really empowering new opportunity for tenant farmers it tells us:

Plans have been put forward for a radical shake-up of agricultural tenancy legislation in England and Wales, with a key aim being to improve productivity growth by making it easier for people to enter and exit the industry.

Consultations have been launched concurrently in England and Wales and will run for the next 12 weeks. The deadline for responses is 2 July 2019.

The papers set out options that ministers hope will create opportunities for new entrants, who they say will bring new skills, ideas and innovation to the sector.

The proposals are broadly based on the work of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG), which made a series of recommendations to government back in 2017.

Key ideas include enabling tenants with Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) agreements, but without a successor, to assign their tenancy to a new third-party tenant farmer.

Industry experts estimate there may be 1,000 to 1,700 older AHA tenants currently “stuck” on their holdings without a successor, because they have limited means to retire and leave their farm.

The new tenant would be required to pay an open market rent and their tenancy would last for 25 years.

The idea is this option would allow an older tenant who wants or needs to retire to unlock the financial value of their tenancy, while at the same time unlocking land for new entrants.

Landlords would have the right to buy out the tenant’s interest to regain possession of the holding, but could not reasonably refuse consent to the tenancy being reassigned.

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