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Gove speech: What farmers should consider when drafting legal documents

While Michael Gove’s speech gave farmers time to prepare before changes to payments come into force, legal contracts entered into now could last beyond 2024.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Gove speech: What to consider when drafting legal documents

Farmers and landowners therefore need to take the changes to payments into account when drafting new legal documents, contracts and tenancy agreements.

 

Gareth Williams, partner and head of the agriculture and rural property team at Hewitsons law offered his advice on what needed to be considered following Mr Gove’s speech.


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Farm Business Tenancies

  • Flexibility was key, with landlords and tenants urged to consider whether the tenancy should end before 2024 to allow for renegotiation or if there should be a reduction in rent, or extraordinary rent review, if the tenant’s income drops due to the changes.
  • Landlords also needed to consider if tenants should be obliged to apply for payments for public goods, if the landlord’s consent was needed and whether the rights should be transferred to the landlord or new tenant at the end of a tenancy

Wills

  • BPS entitlements were separate assets which needed to be specifically considered when drafting wills.
  • The payment for public goods could also be a separate asset and therefore wills should make it clear they will be transferred with the land.

Partnerships

  • For many, the land and BPS entitlements were partnership assets.
  • Many agreements allow retiring partners to withdraw land as part of their capital share and partners need to consider if payments should be transferred as part of the withdrawal.

Contract farming agreements

  • Parties which were entering long-term commitments needed to consider whether there was an obligation to apply for new payments and, if so, whether it should be treated as part of the divisible surplus of the business.
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