An Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (AHA) Tenancy granted before 12th July 1984 may still allow two subsequent successions which means the tenancy could continue into subsequent generations on either the death or retirement of the original tenant.
In order for an applicant to be successful in an application to succeed an AHA Tenancy, there are criteria which they must meet to show that they are both suitable and eligible. Part of the criteria which the Tribunal must assess when deciding whether or not an applicant should be successful is that they are eligible. For example, the applicant must be a close relative (such as a spouse or child) and they must have been deriving their principle source of livelihood from the holding for at least 5 of the past 7 years leading to the succession application. The final eligibility criteria states that an applicant is not entitled to succeed if he has a commercial unit elsewhere.
The Agricultural Holdings (Units of Production) (England) (No. 2) Order 2019 (the Order) was made on 4 November 2019 and will come into force on 6 January 2020. The Order sets out provisions for how to assess the productive capacity of agricultural land in England and sets out the amounts to be regarded as net annual income from each such unit from 6th January 2020 to 5th January 2021. Essentially, if a unit of agricultural land is capable, when farmed competently, of producing a net annual income of an amount not less than the aggregate of the average annual earnings of two full-time, male agricultural workers aged twenty or over it may be deemed a “commercial unit of agricultural land”.
This will be of relevance when considering whether an applicant under an AHA succession tenancy is likely to succeed based on the final eligibility criteria as the applicant is not entitled to succeed if he has a commercial unit elsewhere as set out above.
It is important to take specialist advice if you are considering making an application to succeed an AHA tenancy or if you receive a request for succession. There are stringent timescales which must be adhered to, especially on the death of the tenant.