Get it signed and sealed


A long time ago, 'Gentleman's Agreements' were all that were needed for two parties to settle the terms when transacting property arrangements. Thank goodness, gentlemen still exist but, with the complexity of the law nowadays, putting the terms of the agreement into writing is both wise and helpful. It clarifies exactly what they did agree, so risk of dispute (an expensive business) is greatly reduced.  But what form of Agreement do you need?

Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancies Unlikely to be new ones, although some instances relating to succession can arise, but the terms and details relating to occupation of land before 1995 may still be affected by the legislation applicable under the old legislation.

Farm Business Tenancies Applicable since 1995 for an agricultural holding used as a business. The specific term of years is usually identified as fixed but may 'roll over' on an annual basis.

Licences A more informal arrangement than a tenancy and a Licence may not give exclusive occupation of the land to the user. These are often short term (often seasonal or less than a year) and may apply to 'non agricultural' or other business uses, eg equestrian, sporting rights or 'hobby' farming.

Common Law Tenancies This may be where the proposed occupation is not obviously covered by a recognised statutory use - agricultural, commercial or residential. It could apply to recreational use or allotments, for example . I have even known it to be applied to an area where the tenant wished to exercise his pet dog!

Commercial Tenancies As the name suggests, this applies to commercial property. The important detail is that a strict procedure is required to avoid security of tenure under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, although in some instances (eg shops) security of tenure is what is expected. Then the provisions for assignment or early termination also need to be considered.

Residential Tenancies Houses and flats for residential use. Nowadays the agreements are commonly Assured Shorthold Tenancies, but historic agreements may be under the Rent Acts and service tenants may have extra security of tenure and provisions that affect the rent payable.

**  Please note: Leases, leaseholds and sub-tenancies are not referred to here but may be relevant in certain situations. For all of these circumstances referred to on these pages, your solicitor is best qualified to advise.