Amendment to the Agricultural Holdings Act 1969

Closes 17 Sep 2018

Opened 6 Aug 2018

Results expected 7 Dec 2018

Overview

The Agricultural Holdings Act 1969 which replaced the Agricultural Holdings Act 1936 was introduced to give additional security to farm tenants. Legislation similar to the 1969 Act also exists in England, however it had two subtle differences:

  • Manx legislation allowed the Tenancy to be passed on limitless times, whereas in England the right to succeed was limited to three generations (existing tenant plus two successions)
  • Manx legislation allowed the Tenancy to be passed on to spouse, children and grandchildren in England succession was limited to direct descendants (spouse or children).

An unintended consequence of the 1969 Act was that the availability of new land to let for more than one year effectively dried up and Landlords reluctant to lose control of their asset started taking land back ‘in hand’.  To address this perceived shortcoming in the Agricultural Holdings Act 1969, the Agricultural Tenancies Act 2008 was introduced. This allowed the creation of short term tenancies and whilst it mirrored changes in other jurisdictions was seen as quite radical by some sections of the farming community. Time has proved that the Act was an appropriate change and land previously managed on behalf of land owners has become available to new Tenants. However the 2008 Tenancies Act had no effect on agreements made under the 1969 legislation; therefore the rights of tenancy succession for perpetuity still exists for tenancies made the 1969 Act and will continue to do so without changes being made to that legislation.

Why We Are Consulting

A DEFA policy objective for the agriculture industry is:

‘to achieve a reliable, sustainable and self-reliant Manx food chain that profitably produces a diverse range of products and staple foods to feed the Manx nation’.

As a result of ongoing discussions with DEFA around the future of agricultural support,  a declared policy objective from the MNFU is that Government should support those who are actively farming their land.

The Department believes that in certain circumstances the 1969 Act prevents the delivery of both the DEFA and MNFU policy objectives and considers that the success of the 2008 Tenancy Act means that now would be an appropriate time to introduce a sunset clause into the 1969 legislation giving an end point to the tenancy succession. This consultation is therefore to seek broad approval for this change and to ascertain the preferred method of bringing the right to automatic succession to an end.

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  • Agriculture