Length of time given to move off a yard

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    Length of time given to move off a yard

    I renting a 5 acre field under license to graze my horses. I was also given permission to build stables on the yard near the field. They are my stables we paid to build them on a hardcore plot we put down. I have been there 7 years. The landlord had been selling off bits of the farm over the last 7 years and now he is down to the last 20 acres he had even sold the farmhouse. I have just heard he is trying planning for a house and I think he plans to sell up. Can he give me a mo thx notice to leave. That won’t be long enough as I will have to take the stables down. What are my rights

    #2
    What does your license say about notice?
    How frequently do you pay the fee?

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      #3
      It first comes down to whether you have a grazing licence or a tenancy and then, if you have a tenancy, what sort of tenancy it is.

      If you have effective exclusive possession then you have a tenancy. Being allowed to put up stables is not really compatible with a grazing licence. The devil can be in the detail, but from the information supplied the arrangement looks more like a tenancy than a licence.

      If it is a tenancy, what sort of a tenancy is it?

      If the horses you keep on the land are used in agriculture then the tenancy will be an agricultural tenancy to which special rules apply for giving notices to quit.

      If you are running a riding school, training racehorses, operating a livery service or otherwise engaged in some business involving horses, the tenancy will be a business tenancy which can only be ended as provided by statute.

      If the horses are only for private use, then there is no regime which covers ending the tenancy and the common law applies. What does the document you signed say about notice? If it says nothing, how often do you pay rent?

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        #4
        The agreement which is renewed once a year. The agreement written by an estate agent has always been written as a license. However when the agreement started I was allowed to have horses in for training and I also did some teaching. Then 3 years ago without warning the new license arrived and said I could no longer take in horses for training or teach. For the first time the new license says they only have to give me one months notice to leave. I am very worried about this as to remove the stables and find another place to rent is going to take me more than a month. I have not signed the agreement yet

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          #5
          Have you in fact been teaching or training for the last three years?

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            #6
            If the landlord is selling up then have you looked at buying the field yourself?

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              #7
              I think the field will be too expensive for me to buy he wants about £50000 for the field

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                #8
                I have not been teaching g for 2 years due to Covid. I did breed a foal 3 years ago and the last horse I had in for training left just over 2 years ago

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                  #9
                  In my opinion and on the basis of information supplied, when you started this was a business tenancy.

                  There is no hard and fast line between a tenancy and a grazing licence. A typical grazing licence will be for a season with the owner retaining possession and management. Adding, say, a water trough is probably not going to make it a tenancy, but once you start adding buildings and carrying on activities such as teaching and training I think the line is crossed. What made it a business tenancy is that you were carrying on activities such as teaching and training.

                  The question is whether it is still a business tenancy. There is a provision requiring you not to carry on teaching and training, but that is not on its own conclusive. If the landlord acquiesces in the breach of such a covenant then the tenancy will be business tenancy. Unfortunately, it seems that you have not conducted any business for two years. However, the definition of "business" in the legislation is quite wide: What sort of activity have you been conducting on the land?

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                    #10
                    I have been going off teaching at different places. So no real business a part from training my own horses had happened at the yard. The agreements have changed with no consultation over the years. I would say this has happened as the land lord became aware because I was teaching and training other people’s horses I had a tenancy and not a license. This last agreement which I haven’t signed yet is the first one to mention that I would have leave with only a months notice

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                      #11
                      My impression here is that you have a tenancy, but not a business tenancy, which means you have no statutory security of tenure. However, only a lawyer with all the relevant documents and a complete history can advise fully. If you do not wish to consult a lawyer, then I think the best you can do is to try and negotiate a longer period of notice.

                      For the future if you have to set up elsewhere, be wary of signing anything called a licence or which gives you only a short term if you intend to put up stables - and obviously get consent in writing to put up the stables before signing on the dotted line.

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                        #12
                        If you have the opportunity of buying the 5 acres at £10,000 an acre you should go for it, OK a lot depends on location but it will be very hard to find another 5 acres again at a location that suits you. And if you have a planning history of teaching riding you could put a planning application in for an indoor riding arena, put up another 10 stables and start a business properly.
                        Valuations are very difficult for land, we had a field with some stables on it, barn etc which was rented out and we wanted to sell, the tenant had it valued and the valuation was very low, too low. The valuer did not take into account that although there were hundreds of houses for sale locally there was not another 5 acre field anywhere for sale.

                        Although you are on a Yearly Licence where when it runs out they dont have to renew you may be able to argue that you have a lease which has the protection of the 1954 Landlord & Tenant Act, which may allow the Landlord to serve you with a 6 months notice to quit.
                        Whatever happens you should start looking for somewhere else.
                        You could join the Tenant Farmers Association, its not just for Farmers, I am also a Tenant of horse grazing land and when I had a problem they were very useful in giving advice.

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                          #13
                          The BHS are also very helpful re advice if you are a member.

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