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Wed 14 October 2015
From the 1st October 2015 changes were introduced to the standard repairing liabilities for landlords and tenants in agricultural tenancies, particularly affecting AHA tenancies, but some FBTs may be affected too.
The Model Clauses had not been reviewed for nearly thirty years and as a result many familiar items such as chimney linings and carbon monoxide alarms were not included within the existing provisions, making it difficult for landlords and tenants to identify who should be responsible for these items.
The updated clauses are now set out in The Agriculture (Model Clauses for Fixed Equipment) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 950) but it should not be assumed that they will apply retrospectively to all agricultural tenancy agreements. They will apply save for if the agreement sets out specific wording for who is responsible for each item, or if it refers to a particular version of the Model Clauses, not ‘as amended’.
Whether the 2015 Model Clauses automatically apply or not, there are three options available:
a) Accept the amendments / your existing terms;
b) Agree to vary the terms of the tenancy;
c) If agreement cannot be met, either party may apply to an arbitrator to vary the terms of the tenancy.
Where the new regulations apply or you have subsequently agreed to follow the new terms, there is potential for a landlord or tenant to inherit a repairing liability to a dilapidated asset. One way to avoid this is to serve notice to ‘transfer the liability’ to ensure that the asset is only taken over when it has been restored to an acceptable condition. The window to serve the notice is very short and must be done by the end of October 2015.
Some (but not all) of the changes are detailed below;
Additional Items for the Landlord to repair or replace
Additional Items for the Tenant to repair or replace
As ever, the tenancy agreement is the first document to check when considering the impact of the new changes.