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As a law firm working with rural communities, we pride ourselves on being Agricultural Law experts. Agricultural Law is highly complex. However, The McKinstry Company has an expert team of Agricultural Lawyers ready to answer your queries and provide support.
Agricultural tenancies can present particular legal problems for farmers and farming businesses. Here we explain some of the key types of tenancy. It is important that you understand what kind of tenancy you have, so you know what your rights are. Please do get in touch if you need advice on any matter relating to agricultural tenancies – we would be delighted to assist you.
Short Limited Duration Tenancies (SLDTs)
The Agricultural Holdings Scotland Act 2003 created a type of agricultural tenancy called the short limited duration tenancy (SLDTs). These leases are leases for not more than five years. If you have an SLDT and are then permitted to rent the land for longer than five years, it will automatically convert to a limited duration tenancy (or a modern limited duration tenancy, as discussed below). LDTs and SLDTs have different rights associated with them, so it is important you understand what kind of lease you have. For example, a short limited duration tenant can only use the land for agricultural purposes, not other purposes such as tourism.
Limited Duration Tenancies (LDTs) and Modern Limited Duration Tenancies (MLDTs)
The 2003 Act introduced Limited Duration Tenancies and many tenants of more than five years will have LDTs. However, it is important to note that changes came into force in 2017 that created the Modern Limited Duration Tenancy (MLDT). LDTs that were in effect before 30 November 2017 continued to be LDTs and remain in force as such. However, now that these are in force, it is no longer possible to enter into a new LDT. These leases last for a minimum duration of 10 years and tenants have more extensive rights than under an SLDT, as noted above. An MLDT tenant can use the land for non-agricultural purposes so long as this ‘diversification’ is permitted by the landlord.
Grazing lets are far shorter than both SLDTs and LDTs. They are perhaps most appropriate where landowners are not using their land and want to let it out for a short period. Rather than entering into an SLDT, which carries additional requirements and responsibilities, a grazing let may be appropriate. These lets are seasonal, for a specific period, and are for a period not exceeding 364 days. The tenant can let the land again, but a clear day must lapse between the tenancies. If there is not a clear day gap, the lease will convert to an SLDT.
These leases are only to be used for grazing or mowing, so they may not be appropriate in your circumstances. If other types of activity occur, the lease can, again, convert to an SLDT. The landlord and tenant should be very clear on the purpose the land is being used for.
Contact our Agricultural Law Solicitors in Ayrshire, Scotland
As a landowner or as a tenant, it can be difficult to understand what type of tenancy is right for you. If you want to learn more about agricultural tenancies, get in touch today. You can contact us on 01292 281711 or via our online enquiry form. Our friendly and dedicated team are here to help you.
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