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Following earlier changes to the age at which a tenant can retire, further changes to the succession rules for AHA tenants will come into force on the 1st September 2024 under the Agriculture Act 2020.
Below, Amelia Dare, apprentice surveyor within Stags Professional Services, outlines the current rules and the changes to come.
At present, those who wish to succeed to an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy, either on death or retirement, must prove to be both eligible and suitable; in the case of the former, passing three key tests:
Currently, the Commercial Unit Test prohibits those found to be the occupier of another commercial unit from succeeding. This ‘commercial unit’ is deemed a unit of land, not contained within the tenancy, that is capable of generating a net annual income equivalent to the average earnings of two agricultural workers, calculated with reference to standard Ministry figures. However, as of the 1st September 2024, this test will be abolished, opening the door to individuals previously ineligible to succeed.
Changes will also be made to the suitability criteria, with age disregarded and a new emphasis on an applicant’s ability to farm the holding commercially, whilst considering efficient production and sustainability for the environment.
If you would like advice on how these changes may affect you and your family, contact our Professional Services team on 01884 235701
or, for more information on other services that we offer, head to our website https://www.stags.co.uk/pages/professional-services.