AGRICULTURE

Acting for the executors of a deceased farmer who had farmed under an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy in partnership with his grandson.

The Landlord served a Case G Notice to Quit and then a claim for possession against the grandson (who had failed to make a succession application to the ALT) and a claim for damages against the Executors for failing to yield up the property with vacant possession at the expiry of the Notice to Quit. The grandson sought to argue that he was the tenant of the holding by Estoppel and defended the claim.

The Executor issued a Part 20 Claim against the grandson and defended on the basis that the claim was ill-conceived as the grandson did not assert his right of occupation by virtue of the original tenant rather by virtue of a new tenancy by estoppel. The grandson was supported by the NFU Legal Assistance Panel due to its likely impact on the grandson’s livelihood and issues of importance raised.

Foot Anstey successfully settled the case on behalf of the Executors on the basis that the claim by the landlord was dropped. The Executors costs were paid.

From a legal perspective, the case raised complicated issues arising out of the succession of an agricultural holding and farming partnerships. For the Executors, as the Estate had already been distributed to 13 beneficiaries, it may have meant significant personal liability and consequential claims to reclaim the distribution if an order for damages and costs had been made. The outcome was therefore extremely satisfactory.