A tenant farmer from Somerset has won the right to stay on her farm after appealing an arbitration decision that upheld her landlords’ right to serve a notice to quit.
The farmer had been served notice by her brothers, the executors of her late father’s will, for failure to comply fully with a landlord’s notice to remedy certain works on the small dairy farm.
At a previous arbitration hearing it had been determined the tenant was in breach of the notice to remedy and therefore the landlord was entitled to re-gain position on the farm.
However, the tenant appealed to the First Tier Property Chamber Tribunal on the grounds that any defaults in complying with the notice were not so serious to warrant eviction and that the landlord was expecting a standard of work far beyond what could be expected for a holding of its size.
The tribunal decision acknowledged that there were still some repairs that needed to be addressed but it found the works which had been carried out were to a “proper and workmanlike standard” and therefore adequate.
It found in favour of the tenant that a fair and reasonable landlord would not insist upon possession.
George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said the decision was good news for farm tenants because it made it clear that landlords could not set unreasonable requirements when serving notices for repair on tenants renting under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.
“This is important because landlords sometimes use repair notices as precursors to notices to quit if tenants fail to comply fully with the repairs they have stipulated.
“Landlords can only require necessary, reasonable and practical repairs.”