Lifetime residential tenancies

How to make lifetime residential tenancies work for both landlords and tenants.

We are well versed in the Moore Barlow Rural Services team at advising our landowner clients, or agricultural tenant clients, on negotiations and suitable bespoke tenancies for “lifetime” residential occupancies of properties.

Our landowning clients, particularly landed estates, house many retired agricultural workers from their estate.  Such workers often have secure Rent Agriculture Act tenancies.  This is a dying trend, but one that we will still need to navigate for the next couple of decades.  A review of dates of occupation of cottages is essential here to understand whether a tenant might fall under the protective legislation.  These occupations are often verbal in nature, but should be documented in writing to protect both parties – the landlord in terms of ownership rights and obtaining vacant possession when a tenant passes on or moves out of the property, and for a tenant to protect and acknowledge their “lifetime” status, as well as that of a spouse / partner living with them.

We are also seeing agricultural holdings act tenants (AHA tenants), agreeing to surrender their existing holdings in return for rent free lifetime occupations of the farmhouse or a cottage on the holding.  These are separate negotiations in themselves but do require careful drafting to ensure a landlord’s ownership interests are protected, rights to reclaim the property at the end of occupation, and to secure full details of the agreed occupants, so other third parties cannot claim rights later on.  For example, a child of a relationship returning to live full time at the property.  For the tenant, it’s peace of mind, security for life and safety.

Many law firms are worried about drafting bespoke residential occupancies, as they are only used to industry standard precedent forms of housing act tenancies.  We are, as above, well versed in assessing what occupation rights may be and assisting landlords and tenants in their mutual desire to honour what is often linked to historical employment, family or farming connections between both parties.  We are doing this to ensure tenants are well looked after for life and to ensure the residential property is protected and properly documented in terms of occupation for its owner.

How Moore Barlow can help

Moore Barlow has a team of leading legal experts who are country people themselves and can genuinely empathise with you, your business and your opportunities and challenges. Please do contact the rural law team for more information on lifetime residential tenancies, we would be happy to help.