Agricultural lease: private grazing or non-agricultural business use

This lease has been drawn primarily for the purpose of allowing private individuals to use fields (perhaps with buildings on them) for grazing or keeping animals. It is flexible so that it can be used to let rural land for other purposes, such as recreational riding, a camp site business, or a sports field. The document contains specific provisions to ensure that the land is well maintained by the tenant.

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About this document

This is a lease agreement for agricultural land (one or more fields, perhaps with buildings or shelters) to be used for personal use or non-agricultural business use for up to 7 years.

We presume that the most common use of this document will be for medium term private grazing such as by a neighbour who requires more space for a livery business). However, it is just as suitable for any other non-agricultural business use, such as for a camp site, a sports field, a clay pigeon shooting centre or a safari park.

The law relating to this document

This agreement creates a lease under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 with account also taken of:

  • The Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995
  • The Regulatory Reform Regulations 2003

In balancing the codes with the law and the interest of the landlord, we have followed the codes where reasonable, but favoured the landlord where there may be a difference.

Land law is complicated, having been designed to protect tenants dependent on living from the land from land owners who otherwise would have power to dictate terms of occupation.

Using the wrong type of document has implications for a landlord on what a tenant may do on the land and the ease with which a contract can be ended. In disputes, the law is more likely to be applied to the circumstances of occupation rather than the title of the legal document.

This document is likely to be suitable if:

  • the term of the tenancy is between 6 months and 7 years
  • the landlord is happy to give the tenant advance notice before accessing the property or ending the tenancy
  • responsibility for maintenance and upkeep lies with the tenant
  • the tenant is not a farmer or anyone who will grow crops or breed animals with a view to sale

This agreement should not be used if the tenant will live on the land (say in a caravan) or in a building on the land.

If the arrangement is simply that the ‘tenant’ will use the land for grazing (and not for any other purpose such as recreational riding), a shorter term grazing agreement may be preferable to a lease because it would give the occupier fewer rights.

If the land is used for a specific purpose for a very short period of time, such as to hold a show or or hold a car boot sale, then a licence agreement is more appropriate.

If the tenant is a farmer, or otherwise in an agricultural business, a farm business tenancy agreement is required.

Features and contents

Within the document, the tenant is limited to using the land as set out in the document. This gives the landlord control of what the tenant does, and thus how the property will be looked after.

Additionally, there are extensive positive obligations on the tenant on how the property should be maintained. We presume that if used for grazing, the field being let is of high quality. The obligations we include should help it remain so.

This document is comprehensive and provides alternatives for important choices. It contains 22 provisions and 1 schedule, including:

  • The lease
  • Rent: amount and frequency, other payments, interest, review
  • Condition and repair
  • Tenant’s positive obligations
  • Restrictions on Tenant
  • Agricultural provisions
  • Default notice by Landlord
  • Assignment of the lease
  • Subletting not allowed
  • Tenant indemnifies landlord
  • Security deposit
  • Access for Landlord
  • Provision for premature termination
  • Forfeiture
  • Security of tenure excluded
  • Schedule 1: rights reserved
Draftsman

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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