12:32pm Friday 8th March 2013
TENANT farmers have been told to watch for traps in new tenancy agreements and other documentation that they sign with their landlord which could mean they lose their rights to vital support payments.
George Dunn, chief executive oftheTenantFarmers’ Association (TFA), said they were increasingly seeingnew tenancy agreements containing clauses seeking to deprive tenants of existing and future entitlements to Single Farm Payments for little or no compensation.
He said: “Unsuspecting tenants who are glad to have the opportunity of farming additional land may fall unsuspectingly into these traps ifthey do not take advice.
“It is important that tenants read carefully through any document they are asked to sign and seek advice from the TFA or a professional adviser before completing any new agreement.”
He said a number of standardfarmtenancyagreements were now doing the rounds which contain such clauses.
“Such clauses are in direct contravention of guidance issued by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group in 2004, which made it clear that it would be considered ‘unfair if the individual to whom entitlement had been allocated were required by a clause in the agreement to give it up for little or no consideration in comparison to its value’”, he said.
“The TFA would urge all professionals advising landlords not to include clauses in agreements with tenant farmers which seek to harvest the benefit of support through the CAP for the landlord’s benefit.
“With all the uncertainty surrounding the current process of reform to the CAP it would be very easy for individuals to sign agreements which they later find particularly disadvantageous. This increases the need for tenants to ensure they are obtaining objective advice before signing agreements.”
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