By Andrew Shirley

BELEAGUERED sub-tenants facing eviction could be thrown a lifeline by the Lord Chancellor, says the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA).

This is the latest twist in the long running Barret v Morgan court case.

The case revolves around a sub-tenants right to security of tenure if the head-tenant is given notice to quit.

The County Court and the Court of Appeal took the view that, in such circumstances, the sub-tenant should become the head-tenant.

However, this position was later unanimously overturned by the House of Lords.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, says the association is now relying on the Lord Chancellor to use powers under the 1986 agricultural holdings act to protect the rights of sub-tenants, with the enactment of secondary legislation.

Mr Dunn believes the likelihood of this happening is now a step closer, with the recent release of a MAFF consultation document.

The document contains proposals that could protect sub-tenants.

However, Bruce Monnington of the Country Landowners Association, is not sure that secondary legislation will help.

“All new tenancy agreements are of the farm business tenancy type. These do not provide security of tenure anyway.

“Even if the legislation was retrospective it could be in breach of article one of the recently introduced Charter of Human Rights,” he adds.

“This safeguards the right of owners to occupy their land or property.”

He also believes that sub-tenants should have been aware they had no security of tenure when entering in to any agreement.

Despite the CLAs legal stance, Mr Dunn feels the TFA still holds the moral high ground, and is banking on the Lord Chancellor agreeing.