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Grazing Rights

Question: I am buying a property where part of the garden is being used by a neighbouring landowner for grazing animals. Is it possible to easily terminate any agreement that may be in place?

It depends on the terms of the agreement, but consideration must be given to whether the provisions of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 apply.

The act will apply notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary if the relevant conditions are met. If the land is used for agricultural purposes – which include grazing, and this is not necessarily limited to farm livestock and can include horses – and all or part of the land in the tenancy is farmed for the purposes of a trade or business, the act will apply, subject to certain exceptions.

The act can also apply if either party to the tenancy gives notice to the other that the particular arrangement is to constitute an agricultural tenancy.

There is case law to suggest that the grazing of horses can constitute an agricultural holding – for example, where the trade or business is that of a riding school.

If the animals are owned and used for domestic purposes, the act is unlikely to apply and the agreement will be terminable in accordance with its terms.

In circumstances where the act applies, any tenancy for two or more years will not terminate on the term date – in some ways similar to a business tenancy caught by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 – and will continue as a tenancy from year to year.

This is the case unless notice is served to terminate the tenancy, being at least 12 months but less than 24 months, to come to an end either on the term date or at the end of any year of continuation of the tenancy. The tenant may also be eligible for compensation for improvements.

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