Farm tenants have been warned to have a careful look at all clauses within new agreements ‘to avoid being tied to unreasonable or costly commitments’.
It came in the form of collaborative advice from the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) and Davis Meade Property Consultants, urging tenants to seek advice about the terms of agreements before they signed.
TFA chief executive George Dunn said it had become usual practice for landlords’ agents to use standardised agreements when drawing up new farm business tenancies (FBTs), rather than putting together agreements which best fit the circumstances of the relationship envisaged between landlord and tenant.
Mr Dunn said: “The use of standard agreements by landlords’ agents is both lazy and dangerous.
“Any additional cost incurred at the beginning of an agreement to ensure that it is drafted on a bespoke basis for the circumstances of each case would be dwarfed by the potential expenses incurred in trying to unpick matters at a later stage when it was found that the agreement was not fit for purpose.”
He said it followed cases where tenants were surprised by the impact of certain clauses within their tenancy agreements after they had signed them.
“At that point it is too late to do much about it,” Mr Dunn added.
The duo said there had also been a rise in the number of FBT agreements containing clauses which either provided the landlord with unreasonable rights or the tenant with significant liabilities.
Philip Meade of Davis Meade Property Consultants added: “One such clause which we have seen recently is the ability for a landlord to recover legal costs from a tenant for merely contemplating bringing an action against the tenant.
“It is essential that tenants seeking to take on additional land go through their agreements with a fine-toothed comb in order to weed out clauses which might cause a problem in the future.”