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A consultation on the draft Code, which aims to "foster improved working practices in the interests of a thriving agricultural tenanted sector", closes on 29 February 2024.   

The rural economy is diverse, and it is reported by DEFRA that a third of all farmland in England is let to tenant farmers. 

In 2022, an independent review of the sector was carried out, led by Baroness Rock. Her report, "the Rock Report", identified a number of challenges and issues faced by tenant farmers. 

The Rock Report 

Those challenges included:

  • Landlord and Tenant relationships;
  • Loss of land;
  • The viability of tenant farming businesses;
  • The availability (and complexity) of the Government's financial support schemes;

The Rock Report included over 70 recommendations, aimed at creating a more resilient sector which would be able to deliver sustainable food production, whilst meeting the challenges of climate change and delivering improvements to biodiversity. 

Central to that was the recommendation that a Code of Practice be introduced, to lead the behaviours of landlords, tenants and their advisors. 

A Tenancy Working Group was therefore set up to draft that document, which included key stakeholders in the sector such as individuals from The Tenant Farmers Association, the Country Land and Business Association, The Central Association for Agricultural Valuers, RICS, NFU and the Agricultural Law Association. 

The Code of Practice

Download the draft Agricultural Landlords & Tenants Code of Practice for England.

The 5 page document includes a number of statements summarising the expectations of parties in certain common situations. Those include on the grant of a tenancy, engagement during the tenancy and termination and/or renewal. Throughout, the draft Code champions three key principles:

  1. Clarity;
  2. Communication; and
  3. Collaboration 

Although voluntary and parties remain bound by the terms of their tenancy agreements and/or the relevant statutory framework, the draft Code intends to facilitate better relationships and increased openness between parties for the benefit of the tenanted Agricultural sector.  

Consultation on the Code of Practice

The Agricultural Landlord & Tenant Code of Practice for England consultation is available and remains open for comments until 23.59 on 29 February 2024.

We encourage interested parties within the sector to provide comments on the consultation, so as to ensure that the Code, when published, is as fit for purpose as it can be.

Our team would be happy to discuss any agricultural landlord and/or tenant queries in the meantime.