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Farms: Tenants

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1136, tabled on 15 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to agricultural productivity, sustainability and environmental improvement of (1) the average length of term on farm business tenancies being 3.21 years, and (2) almost 90 per cent of all new farm business tenancies being let for five years or less.

Answered on

29 June 2021

The Government recognises that longer-term tenancies can provide tenants with the security they need to invest in productivity and environmental improvements. However, feedback from industry stakeholders indicates that regulating for longer terms is not the right way forward as this could lead to landowners withdrawing from the let sector completely. A thriving let sector depends on landowners seeing the opportunity to let their land as a positive option. Also, some farm business models such as seasonal horticulture require shorter term lets.

Instead of regulation the Government is looking at ways in which we can encourage more landlords to consider offering longer-term tenancies while retaining the flexibility that the farm business tenancy framework currently provides. This includes continuing to work with the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, which includes representatives of tenants, landlords and professional advisors, on encouraging a culture change within the sector to look at the opportunities that longer-term agreements offer in delivering productivity and environmental improvements which both landlords and tenants can benefit from.