We thought it might be useful to highlight a few issues that regularly pop up but really are no more than good housekeeping which can be done at any time.
Agricultural Tenancies in general are long term affairs. Many of our clients and readers have farmed their land for multiple generations, tenanted or otherwise. There has been enormous pressure in recent years to expand businesses in order to stay economically viable and that pressure is likely to increase.
Arrangements with existing Landlords or neighbours to take additional land can be in many forms but ultimately if you do not own the land there is some form of contract permitting occupation or use.
These agreements are always entered into with the best of intentions and usually on the basis of a friendly verbal arrangement, but the mists of time are murky indeed and on numerous occasions we are trying to piece together the detail of what happened many years ago. So this is a stark warning that for both parties it is essential proper records are kept and that you know where they are located. It is excellent housekeeping to carefully go through old papers and keep everything relevant to your occupation of land. You never know when you may need to rely on it.
Tenant farmers routinely carry out improvements to properties but should be warned that an improvement is only an improvement if it has written consent from the Landlord. There are often major advantages in having a written consent if nothing else, for the sake of clarity and sanity in the future, all sides would be best to carefully consider what formal records should be kept for any property occupation.
Another point of good house keeping falls under property sales. In fact, some items are worth addressing for peace of mind, because we are now a more litigious society, and, bits of paper and verbal agreements can fall away over time.
The simplest of matters can cause the biggest headaches e.g. if you have an arrangement with your neighbour on fencing, or access over a track, it works well whilst both parties are in a neighbourly relationship but not so if there is a fallout, one party dies, or the property is sold.
The same applies if you permit the general public, out walking, to temporarily access a footpath by cutting a corner of your field or similar. Without making this access a permission by you as landowner, over time it can become “as of right.”
A simple sign and an acknowledgement of the permissive route and service of the information on the Highways Authority would save an awful headache later. In fact, just registering what paths cross your land with Highways, formal and not so formal, will prevent claims at a later date.
If your property has any elements of unregistered title, it is worth having this regularised with the Land Registry. There is a cost to this but again it is a good form of protection and also speeds the process in the event of a sale, registered title being dealt with much more easily in conveyancing terms.
There are many more issues that can be considered, recorded or rectified, this is just a sample.