ASTs and Farm Workers - Existing and New Requirements
Guidance for agricultural landowners on NEW rules effective from October 2015 and a reminder of the rules relating to agricultural workers.
The benefits of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
The main benefits of ASTs for landlords are that they allow for possession of the property to be recovered (provided that the correct notice has been served) and also allow landlords to set market rents.
Are ASTs in place by default?
No. This point is very important for Landlords to note.
Unless the procedure to create an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is followed very carefully, there is a risk that by default it will become an Assured Agricultural Occupancy with greater protection for the tenant and greater difficulty for the landlord when seeking vacant possession.
ASTs and Agricultural workers
Although with most ASTs there is no need to serve any prior notice on the tenant, in the case of an agricultural worker it is not possible to create an AST unless a prior notice is served on the worker in the prescribed form. If the prior notice is not served it is likely the worker will occupy under an Assured Agricultural Occupancy.
Other restrictions on granting an AST
A tenancy can not be an AST if:
- it began or was agreed before 15 January 1989
- the annual rent is more than £100,000 a year
- the annual rent is £250 or less. This rent must be paid in order for the tenancy to be a valid AST
- it is a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
- it is a holiday let
- it is granted to a company
- the landlord is a local council.
New 2015 Rules
New rules brought in on 1 October 2015 require that the Standard (Section 21) Notice providing the tenant with 2 months notice to terminate must now be in a prescribed form. This applies whether the tenant is a farm worker or not.
Also, such a Notice may not be validly served unless the tenant has been provided with:
- an Energy Performance Certificate
- a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate and
- a copy of a Government Factsheet entitled "How to Rent : The Checklist for renting in England". Copies of that factsheet are available here.
Further help and guidance
Please see our separate guidance note headed "Changes to procedures to end a Residential Tenancy" for further detail.
Wrigleys can assist with further advice on any of the above and supply the prescribed forms of Notice if needed.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Jonathan Attey or any member of the Wrigleys' Property team on 0113 244 6100.
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors