The Devil Is In The Detail

On 29 December 2014, DEFRA produced a summary of responses to their consultation on modernising the repair and maintenance of fixed equipment and end of tenancy compensation for Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancies. This has been an ongoing challenge under the DEFRA Independent Farming Regulation Task Force review.

Currently, the maintenance, repair and insurance of fixed equipment on a holding under an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy is governed by the Agriculture (Maintenance Repair and Insurance of Fixed Equipment) Regulations 1973, otherwise known as the "model clauses". The regulations need updating as technologies need catering for within the former, that were not even thought of in 1988 (the last revamp). Also, the costs mechanisms are woefully out of date.

The consultation looked at (amongst others) responsibilities for: reed bed filtration systems; slurry, silage and effluent systems; heating and power generation systems; fuel tanks; insulation; livestock handling systems; flood banks and even fitted kitchens.

There are a huge range of farmhouses and holdings, with different sizes, types, age and classifications of farmhouses, buildings and equipment. The regulations need to cater for all of those.

DEFRA's aim is to revoke the 1973 regulations and introduce new regulations. The new regulations will be precise in terms of defining liabilities, contain modern wording and be more user friendly.

The 1973 regulations are comprised of a long list of responsibilities. The new regulations may even be presented in a user friendly table form, similar to the presentation of responsibilities in an a repair and insurance schedule in a farm business tenancy.


Where there has been a shift of repair responsibility to the landlord under a tenancy, the landlord has one month to commence arbitration provisions to determine compensation payable by the tenant for the period that the latter had repair responsibility. This provision would also be consolidated in the new regulations. There may be a transitional period for time limits with the new regulations.

In relation to compensation at the end of the term of a tenancy, DEFRA wants tenants...

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