Renting out a field

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  • Renting out a field

    What agreement should i use to rent out a horsebox and use of a field for pasture?What rights do they have?

  • #2
    Is the use to be:
    a. recreational only; or
    b. appurtenant to agricultural?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
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    • #3
      Originally posted by andyc View Post
      What agreement should i use to rent out a horsebox and use of a field for pasture?What rights do they have?
      The expression "Kid Gloves" springs to mind. In my area fields like this are like gold dust to get hold of. And once you rent it out you will never get rid of the tenant. As regards the agreement a few years ago a local authority had a few fields available and what they did was to offer a 364 day grazing licence and at the end of the 354 days the tenent (licensee) had to vacate.
      The advantage of a licence is that you dont have to renew it. But you mention "rent out a horsebox" what do you mean by this, is it to place a horsebox on the land as parking and will the horsebox have a living area in it, so you end up with someone living there.
      However fields like this can be worth 5 times in rent for horse people compared to what a farmer would pay if it was just agricultural land.
      You should also limit the amount of horses you allow on the field to 2 per acre, and as it is well known that horses ruin a field if you rent it out now April 2010 - April 2011 if you want the tenant (licensee) to vacate next April you wont get another tenent to take the field as the grass needs over the winter to re-grow.
      As you mention "Pasture", pasture is for cows, Grazing is for horses. In order that the person does accrue any "rights" I would consider granting a 7 month "Grazing Licence" with the stipulation of not more than 2 horses per acre, and that the "horsebox" should not be on the land for more than 1 week at any one time. Sorry to seem a bit negative but my mother has been renting fields out for over 35 years.


      • #4

        A couple of other issues have got to be to do with the fabric of the field, horses don't respect fences that much, whose responsibility will they be, and as animals go horses have the habit of destroying pasture and often it then becomes a breeding ground for weeds, which by their nature get spread by the wind (we know we have spent the last 10 yrs trying to eradicate weeds that come from a piece of land formerly grazed by horses next to us and is now like a weed factory), so you need to understand and work out the tenants responsibilities on maintenance and upkeep.

        Same with looseboxes (horsebox to you - a trailer is what you move horses around in and themselves are a magnet for thieves) whose responsibility is the upkeep, because a simple field shelter would set you back over £2k to replace if destroyed, a loose box (stable) more.


        • #5
          I suggest that you get your solicitor to do the agreement at the tenant's cost. You could also ask a rural surveyor.

          Better safe than sorry as i believe that they will have "rights" unless you do it properly.

          It may be possible that you can charge delapidations when they hand back the field (prepared by a rural surveyor) as regards weeds and fencing/hedging.

          Horses tend to scratch their arses on fence posts/gates, and try to graze on the other side of the fence, creating sags in wire fencing, or breaking fencing poles sometimes. You could insist that tenant protects fencing with electric fencing wire or pays any damage. Think about a deposit.
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          • #6
            BEL is right in that you should get a Solicitor to do the lease/licence. The problem is that many Solicitors are unaware of what can go wrong with leasing premises out to horse people so that clauses which should be included to protect the landlord are not.
            It seems to me that a lease (or licence) will be signed by the person who wants the field knowing that the terms of the lease which they are signing are "unacceptable" or unsuitable in order to get the lease and get on the place, then either hope to change the lease to what they want or hope that the landlord will not notice. As mentioned 1. Fencing: Sometimes landlords of fields stipulate that the tenant should erect a post and rail fence, which costs a fortune, and when the fence is erected the horses start to chew their way through it.
            OK sometimes if its Post and Wire it can be improved by electric fencing, which then gets stolen.
            And how do you decide how much rent to charge, a 2 acre field near me has been rented out for horses at £50 a week just for summer grazing.
            You also need to be aware of a court case a few years ago where a horse owner had left a field with horses in it with the gate securely tied, Persons Unknown undid the rope and the horse escaped and damaged a car. The cars Insurance Company successfully sued the horse owner. His/her defence that they had securely tied the gate was rejected in the High Court, If this happened to your field and your tenant was "un-insured" they could come to you as owner. So it is essential that your lease/licence has the provision to charge the tenent for Public Liability Insurance and the NFU, do it.
            Also I would ban the parking of Horseboxes, (not horse trailers) as what may happen is that a horsebox will arrive, run out of Mot, and its there forever.


            • #7
              It is not so much how you do it, though that may come into it, but whether the arrangement is caught by any statutory provisions that give tenants rights beyond what the common law affords. How statute intervenes depends on whether you have a residential, agricultural or a business tenancy.

              The tenancy will only be an assured tenancy if the field is two acres or less and is let with a dwelling.

              The tenancy may be a farm business tenancy if the tenant grazes horses he uses for ploughing or otherwise in connection with agriculture.

              The tenancy may be a business tenancy if the tenant grazes racehorses, horses he is stabling for others, or horses belonging to a riding school. It may also be a business tenancy if the field is used for training horses or as part of a riding school or for "any activity carried on by a body of persons".

              If you are letting to a townie who just wants somewhere to keep his daughter's pony there should be no problem.

              Whether it applies to grazing horses as opposed to stock I do not know, but there are tax implications when granting grazing licences.

              To avoid getting it wrong you need to consult an expert on agricultural law. To find one go here: and click on your region. When your region comes up click on "Private Client" and then on "Agriculture and Estates" to find the firms nearest to you. You may even find a firm mentioned that has expertise in equine matters.


              • #8
                Grazing licence and horses off end Sept to avoid poaching the land - that's what we do!
                Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


                • #9
                  Island Girl is right. Of course when you rent fields to someone with just a few horses when they leave all the hoof prints they have inflected on the field surface remain, whereas should you rent the field to someone with a tractor and field roller any damage can be rolled flat at the end of September and by the following spring (ready for a new grazing licence period) the ground has fully recovered.
                  And if you really need to rent the field out, why does it have to be for horses. If the field is flat a local sports team would pay more rent.


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