Under Agricultural Holding Act (AHA) tenancies, landlords normally reserve general rights of entry for themselves or agents acting on their instruction. 

However, the recent Earl of Plymouth v Rees case highlighted that they cannot rely on this unreservedly, and may now need to consider an alternative approach.

In this case, the landlord wanted entry to the land to dig an exploratory borehole as part of potential future development, to which the tenant objected and was successful.

Planning any development now requires a vast number of surveys and can incur considerable time and cost, which is why avoiding conflict during the process is so important. 

Dialogue 

Early dialogue between the parties is vital and often underpins successful planning applications. 

In many cases, landlords do not have a straightforward relationship with their AHA tenants and while they may think they know what each other’s long term plans are, these are rarely discussed and properly understood.

A land agent can bring the parties together in the right way. A pragmatic, sensible and diplomatic approach is required. Aligning the interests of both parties can be done far more easily than many landlords believe, if  tackled appropriately.

“The cost of these conflicts is often utterly disproportionate to the result and therefore it is not a route that either landlord or tenant  should consider going down,” points out Alastair Paul, a partner in Knight Frank’s Rural Asset Management team.

“Even if a project does not go ahead, the constructive dialogue will have been a vital exercise, it is often much more profitable for both parties to know what the other wants to achieve and to build a long-term relationship.”

_Alastair Paul, Partner, Rural Asset Management

If you need advice on this or any other rural property-related issues please contact Alastair for more advice.