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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25488
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have been renting a small piece of land since 2007 with a

Customer Question

I have been renting a small piece of land since 2007 with a verbal agreement that i could stay as long as i wanted. The rent has been paid on time by cheque since the start, the owner now wants to give me a tenancy agreement with lots of restrictions and a notice period . I use the land to stable my horse and also as storage. I have made some changes to the land [ such as a piece of hardstanding] but always with the owners permission. Do i have to sign this agreement and do i have any rights?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask if you use the land for keeping horses in connection with any trade or business of any kind or whether it is purely for personal use?

Joshua :

How often do you pay rent? e.g. monthly, yearly etc?

Customer:

The horse is for my personal use and i pay the rent every three months.

Joshua :

Thanks. You do not breed from your horse or sell produce from the land of any kind?

Joshua :

Can you prove the assurance that you could stay there as long as you wished?

Customer:

I have in the past sold a few eggs from my chickens, my daughter was present when i was told i could stay as long as i wanted , she is 21 in case that's relevant.

Joshua :

thanks. the reason I ask whether you have conducted business from the property is because if you have, then your letting may be a farm business tenancy.

Joshua :

if you can demonstrate that you occupy the land exclusively for the purpose at least in part for business purposes, then you potentially have a number of rights including the right to not less than 12 months notice to vacate and a right to be paid compensation for any improvements you have made to the land. These rights will only apply however if you can demonstrate that you are occupying the land at least in part of the business purposes which would include for example selling produce reading from your horse making hay for sale and so on

Joshua :

if you do not have a farm business tenancy because you occupy the land simply for personal purposes then you cannot have a farm business tenancy and in the absence of a written agreement, if you have exclusive occupation, you will likely have a common law tenancy. Common-law tenancy provides for a notice period been the longer of anything that is agreed between you or failing which the longer of the interval in which rent is paid for 28 days.

Joshua :

before the first question is whether you consider that you may have a farm business tenancy can demonstrate this on the balance of probability. If you do, you can contest that you have the above rights. if you do not consider that on balance of probability you have a farm business tenancy then your position is considerably weakened and you will be reliant upon proving on the balance of probability the minimum term you are assured by the landlord you could occupy the land for. Fortunately, your daughter would not be considered an independent witness because of her relationship to you and her evident therefore be of limited value ideally, you would have some other evidence to go alongside your daughter's evidence

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

So she can give me notice of three months and i dont have any rights to stay even though the stables are mine, other nieghbors know she promised i could stay but i doubt they want to be involved in a dispute.

Joshua :

The starting point is it depends whether you are going to assert that you have a farm business tenancy as above. If you are then as above you have considerable rights including the right to at least 12 months notice and compensation for improvements if you leave and so on.

Joshua :

If you are not going to asset this and accept that the tenancy i for personal use then the common law period of notice that would apply would be three months unless you can prove on the balance of probability that the landlord advised you could stay for as long as you wished for which you would likely need to persuade other witnesses to provide a statement.

Joshua :

there is of course notwithstanding the above, nothing's stopping you from negotiating on the terms of the proposed tenancy agreement the landlord proposes and particularly if there are any grounds for intentionally arguing you have a farm business tenancy, the landlord may be very open to such initiations as he would no doubt be very concerned to ensure that a farm business tenancy is not established so that do not aquire the above rights

Joshua :

is there anything else I can help you with or clarify?

Customer:

Not exactly the answer i w as hoping for but thank you for your help.

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