Tenancies governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 enjoy security of tenure and can be difficult to terminate. The AHA 1986 specifies the grounds upon which an AHA tenancy can be terminated, together with 8 Special Cases for Possession (Case A to G) which specify particular circumstances in which a landlord is permitted to bring the tenancy to an end.
Given the limited circumstances in which Landlords are permitted to bring an AHA tenancy to an end, the notices which must be sent to a tenant in order to validly end the tenancy need to be properly completed and served on the first attempt. Failure to do so may invalidate the notice and jeopardise the Landlord’s chance to recover possession. We are often asked to advise upon notices which have been rendered invalid – whether by reason of their form or the way in which they have been served.
What follows is a checklist intended to help you avoid identify and avoid the most common notice pitfalls.
- If a prescribed form exists, check the notice is compliant and includes any required notes.
- Make sure the description of the holding is correct and enclosed plans are accurate.
- Check term dates and compliance with the terms of any tenancy agreement (eg service requirements, break clauses).
Address for Service
- Service upon individuals and partnerships – the proper address will be the last known address of the tenant. This is likely to be the tenant's address detailed within the tenancy agreement. If no tenancy agreement exists or the landlord is aware that the address within the tenancy agreement is no longer valid, the proper address is likely to be:
- the known home address of the tenant or
- an alternative address to which the Tenant has requested service.
- Service upon companies – notices should be served upon the company's registered address.
- Service of Notices to Quit on death – consider who the tenant's executors or personal representatives are and who has control or management of the holding.
- Check the tenancy agreement for specific provisions on service of notices.
- In the absence of specific provisions, the safest option is likely to be to serve the notice by both First Class Post and Recorded Delivery to the address for service. Service on another address is not good service. Beware of sending notices by Recorded or Special Delivery alone; if a notice is refused by the tenant, service will not have been effected.
- In cases where there are difficulties or the landlord/tenant relationship is strained, personal service is often advisable.