The general law of landlord and tenant as set out in Part 1 of this book applies as much to agricultural tenancies as it does to the tenancies discussed in the previous four chapters. However, the nature of agricultural activities means that there has had to be some response to the particular problems arising from animal husbandry and crop rotation. Crops planted by one tenant may not ripen until after he has moved on, and might not ripen at all if there has been bad weather. Either way, the incoming tenant will have no choice but to put up with the crops which are in the ground, since it will almost certainly be too late to change them. Again, the configuration and productivity of a particular piece of land will be the result of many years of work including planning, planting, draining and fertilising. For centuries a mass of customary practices which varied from county to county (and sometimes varied within counties) governed the relationship between landowners and tenants of agricultural land. Custom and common law had their limitations, however: they did not compensate the outgoing tenant for any improvements, nor did they allow for removal of any fixtures that might have been installed. Further, given that most agricultural tenancies were yearly tenancies, terminable at common law by six months’ notice to quit, the tenant’s occupation of the land was far from secure. From 1875, therefore, legislation intervened, initially to provide for the payment of compensation to the outgoing tenant, then to extend length of notice, and finally (in 1947) to confer security of tenure.
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- Chapter 20