Agreement first step to long lease success

Solicitor Karen Walsh says leasing land long-term leasing can be rewarding.

I met James last week in the office. He is a retired farmer, and is thinking of letting his land. After some discussion about his circumstances and his personal and family’s goals for the future, I advised James that he could consider letting his lands for a short period, and if it goes well, he could consider leasing it for a longer term thereafter.

If you are retired from actively farming your lands, recently inherited farmland or invested in farmland, and do not intend to farm it yourself, you may wish to let your lands.

Good farmland is increasingly difficult for farmers to access, especially young farmers, and with the milk quota being abolished in 2015, farmers will be seeking to maximise milk production and gain access to more land to achieve necessary scale and efficiency.

Most farmers who need to enlarge their holdings cannot afford the enormous cost of purchasing land.

While legal advice is often sought in order to enforce the rights of a party after a dispute has arisen, it can be beneficial in terms of finances, goodwill, and the well being of the land, to seek advice prior to entering into an agreement.

It is important to think about the future and what use you may have for the land or part of it.

For example, a child may wish to construct a dwelling-house on part of the lands in a few years, and you will not be in a position to transfer the proposed site, if the land is let, unless the tenant consents.

For jointly owned land, all parties on title must be party to the lease.

The upkeep of the land should be covered in the lease. The manner and time in which notice of termination by either party must also be given is important.

The lease must specify that the tenant must carry his or her own insurance, and must indemnify the landowner from all claims or liability arising from the tenant’s use of the property.

The land to be leased should be identified specifically with reference to maps and folio numbers.

A tenant should not have a right to sub-let the land without the landlord’s prior written consent.

This is to ensure that the landlord retains control over who occupies their lands. Having entrusted possession of the lands to someone, the last thing a landowner wants is the tenant handing over the lands unilaterally to someone undesirable.


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