Greenslade Taylor Hunt has recently successfully acted for a tenant initially served with a Statutory Notice to do work of repair, maintenance or replacement on a tenanted dairy farm in Somerset let on a 1986 Act protected tenancy.

Jeremy Bell, Partner with Greenslade Taylor Hunt and Head of the firm’s Agricultural Professional Department, reports having gone to arbitration first to reduce the items on the Repair Notice. Unfortunately the tenant failed to carry out all of the work in time or to a sufficient standard or so argued by the landlord, which resulted in a Notice to Quit being served under Case D of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. This is one of the cases often referred to as one of the seven deadly sins in valuers’ circles.

At the second arbitration, the Notice to Quit was upheld, however the tenant invoked procedures under the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Agricultural Land & Drainage). Jeremy Bell, who was acting in the dual role of advocate and Expert Witness, argued the case at a  two-day hearing. He argued that a fair and reasonable landlord would not insist on possession bearing in mind the relative minor nature of the repairs, which were not completed. The tribunal upheld his view.

The case highlights the need for necessary proportionality of outstanding repairs which relate to the character and situation of the holding together with the system of farming practised for a tenant to be actually evicted from a farm. In this case the tribunal felt the outstanding repairs were not serious enough to effectively deprive the farmer of his main business despite farming other land as well.

Jeremy heads a team of more than 20 agricultural valuers within a network of 16 offices across the South West. Jeremy can be contacted at  the Burnham-on-Sea office on 01278 765588 or 07860 319379. Email: jeremy.bell@gth.net